HIV Testing in the Philippines – What you need to know and what you must know.

HIV Testing in the Philippines – How to get tested.

The Department of Health now ranks Philippines as one of the countries that has the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the world with a prevalence rate of 5% nationwide. There is a 20-25% prevalence rate in Metro Manila and 15-20% prevalence rate in Cebu. This rate dwarfed the prevalence rate in South Africa, which has the largest population of HIV positive individuals in the world, with a mere 4.7%. Prevalence rate refers to the percentage of individual affected by the disease at specific time. With that in mind, we can say that right now, in a population of 110 Million Filipinos, there are 5.5 Million individuals currently living with HIV.

Mere 5 years ago when I started making this blog, The Philippines is a low prevalence country with less than 1% of the population affected by HIV. This rapidly growing epidemic if left uncontrolled will eventually make The Philippines at par with South Africa with 1 out 10 individuals affected with HIV. So what went wrong? As a nurse with 15 years experience handling HIV cases and working actively with HIV positive individuals, here are my personal conclusions, do take note that this conclusions are not even close with the official conclusion of the Department of Health on why HIV became a rapidly growing epidemic in The Philippines. I personally think that their conclusion is too traditional and not in touch with the modern activities of our youth.

  1. DOH says that the resistance of the Church to some forms of birth control is a contributing factor on the HIV epidemic right now. I say that HIV is most commonly seen in the young population. A population that makes their own decision and is rebellious to the church teachings. Though the Church could have cause some sort of contribution, I do believe that the lack of sex education in our school particularly to our youth is a more blameable culprit than the Church. Did you know that people ages 14 to 30 makes up the 95% of newly diagnosed HIV cases each month and the median age of affected individual for the last 5 years is just 28 years old?
  2. DOH says prostitution or sex for money is a contributing factor of the epidemic and should be eradicated. I say that, prostitution cannot be eradicated. Since the dawn of human civilization, there is prostitution and it is something that is very hard to control much less eradicated from our society. What DOH can do is to provide an ID system and free monthly checkup to our sex workers to protect them as well as the people that they serve. This will also encourage the client to only have sex with a “clean” sex worker. This will also further educate our sex workers on proper ways of protecting themselves from different sexually transmitted infection as well as unwanted pregnancy.
  3. DOH says that persons under 18 who wants to test for HIV should require parental consent. I say that, I have clients with HIV at age 13, 14, 15… and that is because of failure in health promotion. The accessibility of casual sex thru apps like Grindr and other dating apps makes it very easy for 2 complete strangers to have sex consensually and thus, spreading the virus like wildfire to our young and techie population. These individuals would never dare to ask their parents permission to go with them and get tested, our culture against premarital sex and our bigotry against the LGBT makes it impossible to do so. HIV testing should be accessible to ANYONE at ANY AGE on their own volition.

THE CURRENT STATISTICS (2017)

It is estimated that there 1,000 reported HIV cases per month since the 6 months of 2016. At that rate, we can assume that there are 30 to 50 reported HIV cases daily. This does not include unreported cases. Unreported cases are HIV positive individuals who do not know they are infected. The epidemic growth rate is about 200% per year. This means that if not controlled, we could see a tenfold growth of HIV cases (300-500 cases per day) within the next 10 years.

– DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

HOW TO GET TESTED: HIV TESTING IN THE PHILIPPINES

One of the most important thing to do to prevent transmission is knowing your status. HIV is a very controllable disease as long as it is detected early and has not yet done major damage to your organs most specially the Liver, Kidneys and the Brain. There are many ways of getting tested for HIV in the Philippines. We will discuss each of them, one by one including their advantages and disadvantages.

I. Hospitals

Testing by going to hospitals is one of the most common means of getting tested. There are 5 hospitals in our country that specializes with HIV counseling and testing as well as referrals in case you tested positive and needing further treatment. In no particular order: RITM, San Lazaro Hospital, St. Lukes Medical Center both in Quezon City and Global, Makati Medical Center and Medical City in Ortigas. Do take note that the cost for HIV testing is around 1,100 to 3,800 in the private hospitals I mentioned.

PROS: If done correctly, results are very accurate. This is also the only results acknowledged in various employment and immigration requirements.

CONS: There is always an issue with regards to privacy and confidentiality getting tested  in any hospital. Though privacy is protected by our health care professionals, there are many incidents of information leakage caused by poor protocol with regards to transfer of information such as students getting free access to medical records without permission or a slip of tongue during a conversation of one of the member of the health care team handling the HIV case. Hacking is another risk when it comes to electronically stored medical information and records of medication being dispensed from the Pharmacy and to whom.

When it comes to public hospitals, though uncommon, there are recorded cases of results being switched between patients. It is not unheard of that a certain person tested positive though in reality, he is negative simply because a specimen sample was incorrectly labeled with his name. Lapse in judgment and concentration of our overworked and underpaid medical professionals is the main culprit in most cases.

II. Free tests done by Volunteer groups

HIV Test Philippines
We have friendly, volunteer groups that do testing for free. You can call them and schedule a visit and let them know that you are interested in getting tested.

LOVE YOURSELF MALATE HUB
#1850 Leon Guinto Street, Malate, Manila.
Contact: 353-8922

LOVE YOURSELF ANGLO HUB
Unit 5, 3/F, Anglo Building, #715-A Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City.
Contact: 0915-366-5683

PROS: Free and they offer counselling as well. Staff are very friendly, professional and trained.

CONS: Privacy and result confidentiality are concerns when it comes to free and public testing. Though trained, innocent conversations could lead to information leakage both consciously and unconsciously. There are cases wherein a Volunteer saw a recently positive patient in the mall and told his friend that “That guys just tested positive yesterday.”

III. HIV testing kits

HIV Testing in The Philippines Home Kit

Advanced home test kits like Fujibio HIV kit has 99.9% accuracy similar to that of Hospital based testing.

Testing kits are widely used as the main method in HIV detection in some hospitals and hygiene clinic. All free testing done by volunteer groups uses HIV test kits. HIV testing hubs also uses HIV kits. Medical missions and workplace testing will usually use HIV testing kits. They are easy to use with result at 99.9% accuracy seen in mere 10 minutes. The common brands in The Philippines are Fujibio and SD Bio. Fujibio is Japanese made while SD Bio is Korean made. Both should give an accurate result with 99.9% certainty similar to that of hospital based testing. Only Fujibio HIV test kits are the only one you can buy online.

PROS: Very easy to use and results are very accurate. I would personally recommend testing using test kits first as to give you an accurate idea of your status before going to the hospital. That way, you will know that you will test negative or positive in advance privately. It is also very convenient and you are assure that only you will know the result. Fujibio hiv test kits being sold online also offers free counseling.

CONS: Since the person that bought the kit will usually test himself or herself, Anxiety could lead to testing delay. Some people will contemplate for weeks before using the test kits and then eventually forgets that he bought one.

 


A positive HIV test using an HIV Home Test Kit

I TESTED POSITIVE. WHAT SHOULD I DO NEXT?

If you used any of my recommendations above in getting tested and you tested positive, DO NOT DESPAIR. HIV is a very controllable disease and achievement of undetectable viral load is the treatment goal. Living a normal life is very possible with HIV as long as treatment is started and adherence to the treatment regimen is established. We have 2 options in getting treated.

Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM)

RITM is the premiere and the leading facility in The Philippines when it comes to antiretroviral drug distribution as well as treatment for HIV patients. This should be your first choice in obtaining confirmatory results and further treatment if the initial testing result was positive. RITM is more specialized than San Lazaro and could deal with serious HIV related complications such as Mycobacterium Bovis infection as well as cryptococcal infection of the brain.

For commuters:

  1. Take a bus or van going to Alabang.
  2. Look for the Muntinlupa Fire Station.
  3. Ride a UV express/van or a multicab with a Filinvest Ikot route in front of the Orange Building and Festival Mall just besides the fire station.
  4. Tell the driver to drop you off at RITM.

Total estimated fare cost: 60 -120 Pesos.
For private vehicles:

  1. Proceed to SLEX.
  2. Exit at Filinvest.
  3. Turn left after the toll gate.
  4. RITM is just at the right side.

Process:

  1. Ensure that you arrive before 7:00 A.M for baseline testing. You will not be entertained if you arrive late.
  2. Once inside, simply proceed to the ARG clinic.
  3. Register.
  4. Proceed to the cashier and pay 150 pesos for the orange patient sheet.
  5. Proceed to ARG and await for your name to be called.
  6. CD4 testing for positive patients are available after 1:00 P.M except during Wednesdays and weekends.
  7. Distribution of antiretroviral drugs are given monthly. Maximum supply for 1 month is dispensed at the given schedule.
  8. Drugs should be free and is subsidized by Philhealth.

The Thai Red Cross Research Center

If you have the budget of about 25,000 pesos every 6 months, a possible alternative is getting tested and treated in Thailand. The Thai Red Cross Aids Research Center is one of the most advanced HIV treatment facility in the world eclipsing RITM. They use the most advanced drugs that you need to only take once a day as compared to a cocktail of 2-3 medications that the Philippines still uses. Blood works such as CD4 testing is around 500 pesos and results are ready in 3 days. The medications used in TRCARC are the best medications available and is very cheap, it will only cost you about 10,000 pesos for your 6 months supply. This same medication costs about 80,000 per 1 month supply in the United States. It is cheaper in Thailand because it is subsidized by the Thai Government. You can only purchase 6 month supply of the drug as they will require you to come back every 6 months for monitoring your health status. This advanced medication is only taken once a day and has very little side effects. They look like Centrum tablets.

HIV Thailand Treatment

The Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre
Address: 104 Ratchadamri Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
(5 minutes’ walk from the Rajdamri BTS station and Silom MRT station)

Tel. (+66) 2-256-4107-9
Fax: (+66) 2-254-7577
Website: www.trcarc.org

DISCLAIMER: We here at HIV Test Philippines testify that opinions we expressed above are based on what we believe are facts. We are not paid by nor endorsing RITM, TRCARC and other hospitals or products mentoined above. Information above are based on what we think are best with regards to getting tested in the Philippines. Contributors here at HIV Test Philippines are HIV Counselors and are working actively for more than 5-15 years in HIV clinics in the Philippines.

Comments

  1. jin says:

    hi ask ko lang po ngpa hiv test aq sa medical city and NR nman po
    ang exposure q nung feb 21 2019 ang ngpatest aq nung APRIL 5 2019
    sabi ng doktor mkkta naman na if meron nadaw kasi 6weeks na ang nakraan last sex exposure q ask ko lang po accurate na poba ang 6weeks window period nagiisip padin kasi aq na sstress padin ako

    • jin says:

      pa answer po please

      • Marx says:

        Hi.. backread ka po dito… yes tama, 6 weeks pwede ng madetect. Pero 3mos after exposure is the most conclusive. Pero if NR at 6wks most likely ka NR kana nyan. Happy Easter!

        • jin says:

          sge po nppranoid padin kasi ako bali magpapa test aq sa may 21 kasi 3mos nayun
          sana NR padin ako na sstress padin kasi aq now haisttt nttkot na tuloy akp

        • jin says:

          sge po sa ngayun wla naman Aqng mga syntoms maliban nlang s mga lumabas n rashes s skin q pero 3days nawala naman and after that ngka kulani aq sa sa leeg at likod ng tenga ngpa chck up nmn q sabi ng doctor na inflame po ang lalamunan q now naman nawala na po mga ibang kulani q and ung ntitira isa maliit na sya and pawala nadin nmn….

    • Anne says:

      Ang ginamit na pang test natin ngayon ay mostpy 4rth gen na..so 6th weeks palang ay makikita na kung may virus kaba o wla.

      • jin says:

        @anne so it mean accurate nmn yun so no worried nmn ako bali sa may 21 3mos q npo kya mag follow up na po aq sa san lazaro

      • jin says:

        sge po sa ngayun wla naman Aqng mga syntoms maliban nlang s mga lumabas n rashes s skin q pero 3days nawala naman and after that ngka kulani aq sa sa leeg at likod ng tenga ngpa chck up nmn q sabi ng doctor na inflame po ang lalamunan q now naman nawala na po mga ibang kulani q and ung ntitira isa maliit na sya and pawala nadin nmn….

  2. Jek says:

    Hello po! Sorry paranoid po kasi ako, bale po may bf po ako na american, and last sex po namen is march 16,2019 prior po niyan nagpatest kaming dalawa bale nagpatest din siya sa 🇺🇸, ito po ang results, pero doubt po ako sa results niya kaya natatakot po ako. Pero wala nman akong any symptoms na nabaggit sa hiv. Sana po matulungan nyu ako.

  3. Bea says:

    Hello po. Meron po ba kayong idea bout sa aids-like disease? Ung puro negative ang test pero symptoms are like HIV ARS and AIDS.

  4. praning says:

    Napapraning na po ako. Please help. Honest po na ang last sex ko is 2015. No sex since then. No possible risks like sharing needles, kissing, blood exposure.

    No symptoms in the past 4 years been healthy po.

    Nag-patest na po ako sa isang sikat na ospital, NR ang result.

    Any possibilities po na meron talaga ako?

    • praning says:

      elisa 4th gen daw po yung test na ginawa nila. pero napapraning lng talaga ako pls help

    • Marx says:

      ‘wag po ipilit maging REACTIVE kahit NON-REACTIVE ka na… sasaya ka ba kung reactive ka na? Nwei, go see an Infection Disease doctor and have him/her assure you na NR kana talaga. If hindi ka pa kumbinsido after consultation with the doctor, balakanajan..!

  5. help says:

    nr po aq sa hiv test.. pero yung mouth mdalas sumasakit tounge q.. anu po kyag test ang pde ko patest

  6. NR1 says:

    Hello, ask ko lng po if sure ng Negative result ako gamit ang fujibo 1/2 test kit? After that unprotected sex wla naman na ako nakasex na iba. Sure po bang nakakadetect ng HIV un fujibo? Nasunod ko naman po un procedures on how to use it. Thanks po

  7. Khalil says:

    Almost 6 mos na NR naman nung na test ako as of 3 mos pero bat di parin nawawala maliit na lump sa batok ko? Ano kaya ibig sabihin if NR naman ako?

    Papatest ako sa ika 6 mos ko

  8. Menard says:

    Good evening po..ask ko lng po kung may clinic po kayo sa cagayan de oro

  9. Bea says:

    Ms anne pa aadd po. Bea villaluz, walang picture po. Thanks

  10. John paul angat solis says:

    Pahelp naman poh natatakot na poh kac talaga aq

  11. John paul angat solis says:

    Saan poh pwdng mag latest about HIV

  12. Rio Llanto says:

    Hello goodmorning i’m Rio 5 years na kami ng partner ko and now my anak na din kami minsan lang kami gumamit ng condoms almost everytine withraw lang. Then last last year nagkakadingaw ako nawawala then bumabalik so akala ko wala lang nung nanganak naman kasi ako last year negative naman sa hiv but this month lang ive got itchy and burning feeling sa vagina ko. May uti ako pero ilang years na din simula nun di na bumalik kaso ngayon yung nararamdaman ko sa vagina ko is di na nawawala san ba maganda magpakunsulta or anong dapat gawin sana may makatulong na dedepressed na ko.thank u

  13. Curious says:

    Hello, is it possible for HIV virus to live inside the syringe even under the sea?

  14. Nhel says:

    Pde po b magpatest khit wla pang 1 week after possible exposure ? Need ko po tlga professional advice …

    • Lloyd says:

      8 weeks to 3 months kapag 3rd gen test ginamit at karamihan libre sa mga testing hubs pero ung 4tu gen test at meron sa mga hospitals like st lukes..medical city and makati medical center pero mahal nasa 2 fo 3kand 28 days after exposire pwede na madetect antigen/antiboby kase sya.

      • Nhel says:

        Sir lhoyd ask ko lng .. 1 week na after possible exposure .. ang symptoms pp na nranasan ko is almoat ay ito..
        • almost 3 days musclea pain sa binti
        •almost 5days na pra akong may lagnat pero ndi mtaaa temp ko
        •3days minor headache( hindi sya sobrang sakit eh)
        •ngaun po almost 2days na very soft to liquid ang dumi ko
        Need ko pa po ba tlga mag hintay ng 1month bago magpatest ?? And libre po ba sa inyo ??

        • Nhel says:

          Additional ko lng po pla sa symptoms ay prang nagka UTI ako kc hirap mejo msakit kpg umiihi ako .. sir Lhoyd same ba ng test kit ang sa HIV at Syphilis ?? At same symptoms din ba sila ???

  15. Lira Suangco says:

    Wala kasi ako time busy kami ngayon sa Public Attorney’s Office.

  16. Hakhak says:

    Meron po ba kayong free testing kits dito sa cebu? And where to get them? I badly need ur help, urinated with blood pero not so thick. Just blood along the with the pee. Please I badly need ur help.

  17. Bea says:

    Ms. Anne, pwede kta machat sa fb? May tanong lng po sana ako about sa symptoms nyo dati pls. Thanks

  18. marc erwin zambrano says:

    magkano po bayad pa test sir

  19. marc erwin zambrano says:

    hiv po ako sir eehh .. please red my comment

  20. marc erwin zambrano says:

    sir matutulongan nyo po ba ako sir ..

  21. Mik says:

    Hello Good Evening Guys… Got this kind of feeling. Nakatapos na po ako ng 3 months and it saya non reactive pero bakit di parin mawala yung white patches ko sa dila. Nandito na sya three days after exposure last oct and and meron pa rin ako up until now.

  22. Jennifer Garcia says:

    weekdays lang po ba pede magpatest??

  23. Jaaam says:

    Usually mga ilang days po ba makikita ang symptoms?

  24. Lira Suangco says:

    Hello, I am Lira Hosea Herrera Suangco aka Lira Suangco for short. I don’t normally post but very curious about this topic. I had UTI before and have unprotected sex. How fast transmission of HIV?

  25. Dioni bakit jumamoy says:

    Please i want to be tested 😭

  26. Dioni bakit jumamoy says:

    PLEASE READ AKO PO AY MAY HIV NA BAGO PALANG PWEDI MO BA KAMING TULONGAN? 😭 PLEASE

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