DAVAO CITY—The head of the Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC) here urged residents to avail of the free testing and treatment of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) before the onset of symptoms to improve their chance of fighting the disease.
Dr. Jordana P. Ramiterre said the city government “continues to offer free testing and treatment for persons potentially living and currently living with HIV.”
“They should be tested early so that they can start to take the drugs before the symptoms appear,” Ramiterre said. The RHWC manages patients through outpatient arrangement, primarily those who do not show symptoms yet, she added. The antiretroviral drugs are also for those who are not manifesting symptoms yet.
“It is for those who do not have symptoms, for as long as we start early, and they practice a healthy lifestyle and they are doing what they can do, so this facility is really for outpatient cases,” Ramiterre said.
She said the RHWC is the sole and primary treatment facility in the Davao Region. It’s a facility for prevention, treatment care and support. It also promotes testing.
“It is all in place from prevention, treatment and care services, the patients go back to our facility every now and then, we also have laboratories because we have to test their response to the treatment so this is really for lifetime,” Ramiterre said.
She added that the RHWC services “are outpatient and we encourage those who suspect that they have HIV to go to the center and ask for a free test.”
Ramiterre explained that the testing is free because the kits are from Department of Health and that the treatment is also free because it is under the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) since the RHWC is also PhilHealth-accredited.
She said that hospitals in the city, such as the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), also have an allocation for antiretroviral drugs used for treatment as it also has Philhealth accreditation.