Manila beefs up drive against HIV/AIDS

September 30, 2018

THE Manila City government inaugurated the opening of Klinika Rosario Sundown Clinic as part of the city’s intensified campaign aimed to reduce the number of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) cases not only in the city but the whole country as well.

Mayor Joseph Estrada said the new clinic will encourage people with HIV/AIDS to continue their treatment.

The opening of the health facility is the city’s response to the rapidly increasing number of HIV cases, which is reported to have the fastest growing HIV incidence in the Asia Pacific region.

Klinika Rosario Sundown Clinic is located in Rosario Reyes Health Center, San Andres, Malate, under Manila Health Department’s Manila Social Hygiene Clinic (MSHC).

It will be open from 2 to 10 p.m. to cater to “most at risk population” in Manila, particularly the entertainment workers.

“We are encouraging the public to take advantage of our medical facilities which offer free consultation, testing and treatment to contain and arrest the spread of this alarming health threat,” Estrada said during the simple opening ceremony.

The Manila Chief Executive said the HIV cases continue to rise and many of the individuals who infected with the virus are afraid to get themselves tested.

The Department of Health (DoH) noted the rising cases of HIV infection which has grown by 174 percent. Data showed that for this year alone, around 31 individuals, ages 15 to 34, are infected by the HIV every day.

Mayor Estrada said the city government will also intensify its information campaign to prevent the spread of the deadly disease. “There is hope, and there is a very big chance to live a normal life even if you are HIV positive. We have solutions to affected people with the disease,” Estrada said.

The facility will be manned by a nurse counselor, an HIV proficient medical technologist, two case managers, five outreach workers for Male having Sex with Males (MSM), two transgender women, and three Young Key Affected Population (YKAP) Workers, who shall demonstrate stigma-free, non-discriminatory and safe environment approach for all clients.

The year when the first HIV case was detected in the MSHC in 2007, the city government has been conducting information drives, counselling and testing, training peer educators, providing diagnosis and treatment, and collaborating with other civic organizations for similar activities.

Last year, the Sta. Ana Hospital was converted into a “HIV treatment hub” equipped with HIV-infected blood analysis laboratory and specially-trained medical professionals and nurses for handling, counselling and treating HIV-infected patients.

According to the DoH, there had been 56,275 HIV cases since 1984, more than 3,700 (6.7%) are from the City of Manila.

“We are fully committed to win the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic and to provide access to treatment whoever needs it. We will not stop until this epidemic is fully eradicated,” Mayor Estrada said..