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. King says:

    Hello po, last july po ung contact ko sa isang girl. Alam ko pong malaking kasalan nagawa sa gf ko. Inamin ko na po sa kanya at natanggap nya po ako ulit. Decber na po ngayon almost 5mnths na at panay po yung fatigue ko, weak, may rashes ako pero nagpa check up ako at ni resetahan ng gamot ay nawala po yung rashes ko. Mga 2mnths na po akong di makatulog ng mabuti. Help po ols. Respct and salamt po sa sasagot.

  2. Amy says:

    Ask ko lang. Tingin niyo po meron dito sa pilipinas na hispital or mga diagnoticts testing laboratory na nagrereused ng onjection or syringe. Nagpatest kasi ako few months ago CBC. Sa takot ko napapikit na lang ako at di ko na check kung bago yung injection😢

  3. Harot says:

    Sa mga nagtatanong at nagre-rely sa so-called symptoms ng HIV, good luck sa mga buhay nyo. Mapraning kayo ng bonggang-bongga. Flu, fatigue, mouth sores, swollen lymph nodes are not exclusive to HIV infection. If unprotected vaginal or anal penetration happened, that is exposure and it puts you at risk. Get tested after the window period.

  4. Kristoff says:

    Kung hawakan PO Ng kamay Ang genitals may risk?
    At Kung nagkiskisan pero naka shorts at nagkayakapan

  5. lj says:

    san po yung pinaka malapit na free hospital na nag tetest ng hiv po ??

  6. Domz papredes says:

    Hello im Domz saan ba pwde bumili ng pang test ng hiv di ko alam baka one of the day possitive ako gusto ko lang isure if safe ba sila o ako

  7. Anonymous says:

    4 beses na po ko may na sex sa 2 walker na babae pero may condom ako na dala, meaning din po ba may HIV na rin ba ako nag-aalala na po kci ako.

    • Qwerty says:

      Kung sa tingin mo safe sila okay lng yan.. Dapat humihingi ka ng hiv test para mas sure… Taker din ako pero ngayon hindi na magjowa ka nalng brad

      • King says:

        Hello po, last july po ung contact ko sa isang girl. Alam ko pong malaking kasalan nagawa sa gf ko. Inamin ko na po sa kanya at natanggap nya po ako ulit. Decber na po ngayon almost 5mnths na at panay po yung fatigue ko, weak, may rashes ako pero nagpa check up ako at ni resetahan ng gamot ay nawala po yung rashes ko. Mga 2mnths na po akong di makatulog ng mabuti. Help po ols. Respct and salamt po sa sasagot.

    • HB says:

      Kung nagcondom ka at maayos naman ang pagkakagamit mo, meaning hindi nasira o nabutas yung condom, i’d say you’re safe.. Pero kung may doubt ka, wala naman mawawala kung magpapatest ka.. Good luck!

      • isabelleyu says:

        Hi question what if nilagnat 2 weeks after ng sex pero may na diagnose ako na may spasm lang? Negative naba yon?

        • HB says:

          If you had an unprotected sex and tingin mo na expose ka sa virus, magpatest ka 3 months after possible exposure.. Wala naman masama doon.. HIV doesn’t have specific symptoms.. Get tested to know your status..

  8. Arrow says:

    Hi if magpapatest ako after ilang araw lang makipag sex makikita kaya kung positive or negative on HIV??

  9. jazzordonez says:

    sharing my result, i read it at 5 minutes palang… positive na agad. After 20 minutes still positive. does this mean positive ako? Fujibio po gamit ko.

  10. Dude says:

    Maari po bang magkaroon ka ng hv kapag sti ka??

  11. dada says:

    pwede naba magpa test kahit 4 weeks palang after inter course ?

    • Anxiety says:

      May mga symptoms po ba after 4 to 5 months ang Hiv? At kung meron ano po ang iba na mga symptoms?

      • Qwerty says:

        Fever and fatigue for 1 to 2 weeks.. Swollen lymph nodes.. Kung sa ari may tulo or cold sores sa oral neck lymp nodes sore thoat mouth ulcers… Minsan pwede ding walang symptoms

        • Anxiety says:

          QWERTY. May rashes paba na lumalabas after 3 months?

          • HB says:

            Dont rely on symptoms.. Get yourself tested. Tanong kayo ng tanong ng symptoms..pinapraning niyo lang sarili niyo. HIV DOESN’T HAVE SPECIFIC SYMPTOMS. GO GET TESTED.

        • Harot says:

          I agree. All these so called symptoms are not reliable and misleading. Fever, mouth sores etc are not exclusive to HIV infection. If exposed to unprotected vaginal or anal sex, the ONLY way to determine infection is through testing.

      • Harot says:

        All these so called symptoms are not reliable and misleading. Fever, mouth sores etc are not exclusive to HIV infection. If exposed to unprotected vaginal or anal sex, the ONLY way to determine infection is through testing.

  12. Ikaw says:

    Maaring po bng magkaroon ng HIV khit saglit nya lang ipinasok sa anal prang sinubukan lng ipasok tpos first timer

  13. Worry says:

    Closed ba talaga yung loveyourself anglo ng monday and tues? And 12pm talaga sila nag start ?
    Thanks sa mga sasagot na nakapag test na dun

  14. Kira says:

    Hi, balak ko mgpacheck sa saturday (mandaluyong, loveyourself) dahil pang 3 months ko na ngayong araw.
    Anyone na gusto sumabay? ..
    Pa email ako lester0000000@gmail.com

    Sa tagal ko dito, sinasama ko na kayo sa dasal ko 😅.
    And im glad to hear na may mga nag negative na..

  15. lawrence icaranom says:

    kapag nagka STI ba pwedeng magkaroon ng hiv ?

  16. Robert says:

    Pag hinawakan mo pa Ng kamay Yung Ari mo may risk na po ba Yun???
    Or nagkiskisan kayo Ng genitals?

  17. Ask ko lng may clinic po vah dto around nivaliches na pwede magtest ng HIV

  18. worriedmom says:

    2months after giving birth to my 2nd child nakaramdm ako ng sore throat, fever, diarrhea, nuesea, joint pain naisip ko baka nahawahan nako ng hiv dhil nasalinan ako ng dugo. sobrang worried ko paano na ang baby ko. possible ba magkaron ng hiv paag nasalinan ng dugo? sobra po akong natatakot para sa anak ko. ano po bang mangyyre sknya? sa ngayon wala pa naman akong nakikitang sakit sknya. pero natatakot talaga ko baka kasi wala pa saa ngayon.

    • Snow says:

      Isa ang blood transfusion sa mga way para mahawa ka ng HIV. Pero ang alam ko lahat ng blood na ginagamit sa hospital ay na iiscreening bago nila gamitin. DOH na mismo nagsabi nian.

    • Snow says:

      Isa ang blood transfussion na pwede ka mahawa ng HIV. Pero lahat po ng ginagamit sa hospital para sa blood transfussion ay dinadaan muna sa lahat ng screening. Ayon yan sa DOH.

  19. Lesbian says:

    Im lesbian at may GF ako. Nagsex kami. May gamit kami at iisang dildo lang gamit namin habang nagsesex. Kung positive 1 sa amin. May chance ba na makahawa ng HIV sa ganitong way??? Salamat

  20. DEPANX says:

    Hi. Kapag may symptoms ka po ba na napapansin, mga 5 weeks pagtapos ng risk,pwede na po ba magpatest na libre po?
    Thank you

    • Jiho says:

      Kpag po sa RITM ng pa test tapos reactive issend pa po ba un sa san lazaro?

    • Rose says:

      Hi Depanx:

      Usually 12weeks (3 months) to be assured that the test is effective OR the result of the test is credible. But you can get yourself tested as early as now if getting tested would make calm. Then go back after 2 weeks, 3-4 weeks, etc and until you reach the 12-13th week after the suspected hiv exposure/contact.

      Tests are free and no limit.

  21. k says:

    sobrang stress n ako. 8days n nung last sex ko. wla nmn ako lagnat pero sobrang init ng pakiramdam ko yung feeling n parang mag kakalagnat k. pwede n po b mag p test kht 8 days plang from possible exposure?

  22. Rio says:

    Hi you have any HIV testing around Tagaytay area or Silang? Thanks

  23. Michelle marcelo says:

    Saan po my libre test at anong araw po..

  24. Paul says:

    6week after po nung my naka sex ako na sexworker with out condom negative po result ko using fujibio test kit ano pong posibilidad na mag positive siya after 3months ? Wala naman po ako naramdaman na sintomas di naman po ako nilagnat

  25. Mark says:

    What if na affected ng gonorrhea sir the.n hndi nabigyan ng antibiotec almost year and half napo pero nawala yung sign na lumalabas sa ari anong dapat gawin?

    • Mark says:

      What if na affected ng gonorrhea sir the.n hndi nabigyan ng antibiotec almost year and half napo pero nawala yung sign na lumalabas sa ari anong dapat gawin?

      Dapat ba ako magpa hiv test.
      Advixe naman po.

  26. Raye says:

    Nag donate ako ng blood and weeks after i received a text na yung blood ko is not okay for donating. Is this a sign of HIV po?

    • Qwerty says:

      Baka may substance lng sila na kita kaya ni reject… Then para sure na malaman mo na meron o wala kang hiv mag pa test ka po

  27. Decerie martinez says:

    Nababahala ako pasa pamangkin ko. Sana matulungan nyo po kami

  28. Tricia says:

    nagkaron po ako ng mga singaw sa bibig at dila,sign po ba un ng hiv?Salamat

  29. Ron says:

    Hi alam ko paranoid lang ako, ang hirap kasi iwasan lalo na sa kakaisip ng symptoms o kaya kakahantay na lumabas, lumalabas nga sila. Nag pa hiv test na ko 6weeks after ng possible exposure ko and in a couple of weeks nlng nman mag more than 3 mos na. I just need some reassurance or i mean makakausap na nakaranas ng almost lahat ng symptoms and turns out to be NR padin after 3 mos. What are chances of getting a positive result from 6 weeks to 3 mos for hiv test? Is it high?

    • Qwerty says:

      Common symptoms po ay fever na 1 to 2 weeks and fatigue pagod ka kahit wala ka namang ginagawa.. Wag kang ma stress na meron kng hiv.. Be positvie lng po pag nr nr.. 97% ata accuracy ng test kit tiwala lng iwasan nalang makipag intercourse sa hindi kilala para safe

    • Nins7 says:

      wag na pong stressin ang sarili kung negative result namn after more than 3 months using test kits wala namn dapat ikabahala conclusive na po un meaning negative ka even nlng kung makipagsex ka ulit ng hindi moalam kung negative sya or possitive
      olegarionino3@gmail.com
      email me im willing to help

  30. reply pls says:

    yong pamamantal pwed3 ba isang sanhi ng HIV?

  31. Norben Enriquez says:

    Pag nakipag sex ba na naka condom din nilabasan ka sa condom sa loob ng pwerta ng babae Tpos matagal mo tinangal sa pwerta ng babae if positive sya ng HIV mahahawa ba?

    Then sa laway ba nakakahawa din ang HIV?

  32. Dex says:

    Pinakamalapit po na testing center dito sa Quezon Province?any comments and advise? thank you

    • Anxiety says:

      Meron sa bayan ng sariaya quezon napadaan ako dun pero di ko na tanda yung street basta malapit yun sa petron tapat ng bayan ng sariaya.

  33. Worry says:

    Im from pampanga pede po malaman san pinaka malapit na love yourself na pede ko mapuntahan ?
    Willing to travel to manila po ako . Please give me instruction pano ung pagpunta and anong bus sasakyan ko from pampanga thank you

    And anyone from pampanga na gusto sumabay pa hiv test?

  34. jose edsel sierra says:

    What is confirmatory test for hiv ??

  35. Hatch says:

    Magkano po test ng hiv sa hi precision ?

    • Hays says:

      may tanong lang ako, kapag ba yung pwet nyo para may gas2 may sugat dahil sa malaking tae or tobol in bisaya magka HIV na po bayun?

  36. Qwerty says:

    May herpes po ako sa lips.. Magiging hiv po ba ito how long it takes po?

  37. Mei says:

    Nag pa test po ako last week ng oct.. Last sex ko po is july NR po ako sa hiv test.. Sure na bo pa yun nega ako for the time?

    • Qwerty says:

      Parehas tayo nr din ako last contact july din.. Don’t stress yourself na meron kang hiv.. Baba ang pag produce ng antibodies ng immune system mo pag nag pa stress ka kakaisip dyan like me dati

  38. Sendhelp says:

    Same day po ba results pag nagpa test sa San Lazaro?

    • Qwerty says:

      Anong test po ba? Kung hiv saglit lng yan almost 20-30mins kung sa blood di ko alam.. Sa heng kang 1hr may result na hsv 1 etc

  39. LettingGo1993 says:

    Hi my partner and I got intercourse last friday and saturday and around sunday sabi nya biglag namaga yung private part nya (boy) i dont know kung nasobrahan or what. Pero way way back nag ka infection na din sya sabi possible thru oral daw. So nag pacheck ako wala naman nakita sa lab ko. Tingin ko mas okay na sa testing center na. Any advice po. Bother na din ako. Kasi ako sinisisi nya. Wala kasi akong na encounter na gnitong prob sa previous partner ko

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