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 and Japan FDA approved while SD Bio is Korean made and Korean FDA approved. 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.Fujibio FDA Japan Approval CertificateFujibio’s Japan FDA Registration. Click photo to enlarge.

PROS: Very easy to use and results are very accurate. FDA Japan Approved. Do note that here in The Philippines, FDA does not approve any home test kits to encourage hospital only testing. 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. Zoe says:

    I created a yahoo accoung na sir guy,zoecruz947@yahoo.com i need all the support i can get para lumakas na loob ko at magpatest na.

    • Negative says:

      Ito ang masasabi ko. Mag pa test hanggat maaga kesa mabaliw at humina ang katawan kakaisip at walang tulog kagaya ko. Naka dalawang test na ako negative pero until now praning parin ako almost 3 months na. Baka ito ikamatay ko. Kakaisip at pili na iniisip na baka positive ako. 3 months pa kakaisip malamang nasa mental na ako.

  2. Guy says:

    Ahehehe yes worst experience ko pero cguro kc natural n pag titinginan pero binalewala ko nalang un ang importante mag patest oo nga maam we need each other para sa comfort ng may mga anxiety

  3. Zoe says:

    Yahoo account tapos email exchange na lang ganun?

  4. Zoe says:

    Hay sana sa st.lukes hindi katulad ng experience mo sa san lazaro na pinagtitinginan,o baka may makita pa kong kakilala

  5. Guy says:

    Or yahoo account nln

  6. Guy says:

    Kaya nga maam wala kc pm dito ahehe ako kc dko alam if anxiety pinipilit ko maging ok parang d pdn ok body ko tapos bumili pa ako ng dalawang thermometer para macheck if may fever ako noon buti now wala n unti unti pero pag naiisip ko ulit para akong nanghihina

  7. Zoe says:

    Alam ko na sir guy gawa tayo fake na fb account tapos post naten dito yung name para makapag add tayo tapos at least anonymous pa din identity naten.

  8. Zoe says:

    Yun nga,Tapos update update,or matetext mo pag may kapraningan ka na naman na naiisip,ako kasi talaga hindi makatulog eh,o maipikit ko man mata ko bigla akong aatakihin ng anxiety!

  9. Guy says:

    Kaya nga maam mas ok sana if may private message para ma share mga contacts at makapag share pa ng mga narrmdmn

  10. Zoe says:

    Pero nakakatulong tong gantong paguusap noh? Kasi wla naman tayo ibang makakausap about this kasi baka kumalat,kaya thank you sir guy for talking to me medyo gumagaan po loob ko,I’m just trying to prepare myself para makapagpatest na ko. Kelangan naten maging strong.pag need mo ng kausap sir guy i’m here,need ng bawat isa saten ng suporta kahit hindi tayo magkakakilala.

  11. Guy says:

    Exactly maam lahat nga ng nabasa ko sa net n symptoms ng hiv lumabas na skn within 1-4 weeks nag karoon pa ako ng stiff neck 3 doctors n pina council ko tungkol sa hiv pero snsbi nila paranoid lang akl anxiety ganun pero sbi nila to make sure mag pa test parin ako eh mxdo maaga un pag test skn d daw sapat kaya hanggang ngyn paranoid ako

  12. Zoe says:

    Ay sir guy feeling ko preho nangyayari saten,sobrang kapraningan naten parang yun yung nagkocause ng mga nararamdaman naten,for example ako nabasa ko magkakarashes sa hand and feet,ayun feeling ko ngayong araw makati na palad ko,tapos feeling ko may rash na,wala naman ata,minsan sinasabi ko sa sarili ko sa sobrang paranoid ako like yesterday nasa mall kami instead na mag enjoy ako natutulala ako kasi hinahaunt ako ng mga thoughts ko na what if ganto ganyan,sabi ko na lang sa sarili ko magpatest na ko kasi kung di ako magpapatest eh tumigil na rin ako sa kapraningan ko dahil wla naman mangyayari.parang sa utak ko kasi feeling ko confirmed na eh.hay bad

  13. Guy says:

    Oo nga maam ako sobrang paranoid ko ok naman pag tulog ko pero nagigising nln ako ng 4am in the morning kung anu anu na niisip ko nag kaka night sweat pa ako tapos ang init init ng skin ko sabi ni maam grace lahat daw yan is years pa bago mararamdaman, sakin nmn once lang dhl sa sobrang kalasingan

  14. Zoe says:

    Ako etong rashes lang napapansin ko sensitive masyado balat ko,no other symptoms pero sabi nga ng iba sa nabasa ko minsan wala talaga yung ibang nararamdaman pero pag tinest positive pala,sobrang nakakaparanoid noh sir guy? Parang naiisp ko anu na lang magiging buhay ko/namen if infected nga,siguro 2x ako naexpose sir guy,medyo lost kasi ako non late ko na narealize yung consequence.

  15. Guy says:

    Nun 1-4 weeks nag karoon ako ng hot flushes without fever chills ganyan pero never nag karoon ng fever sabi ng doctor anxiety/paranoid lang daw

  16. Zoe says:

    Sir guy may mga symptoms ka na po ba?

  17. Guy says:

    Maam zoe ilan beses po kayo nag karoon ng exposure last year?

  18. Zoe says:

    Mahirap kasi magrely lang sa internet sir guy kasi po minsan mas nakakatakot pa yung mga nababasa naten mas lalo tayo mapapraning unlike pag sa hospital maeexplain ng maayos ng doctor kung anu na mangyayari if ever we tested positive db?

  19. Guy says:

    Maam ako binbasa ko sa internet lang kc dko pa alam if infected ako kasi last january un possible exposure ko

  20. Zoe says:

    Guy sana hindi ganun sa st.lukes pag nagpatest ako o kami ng baby ko,nakakatakot naman kasi magtest kit kasi baka lalo ako mapraning if makita kong positive tapos wala akong answers on what to do next or what’s going to happen to me.

  21. Zoe says:

    Anu kayang side effect ng gamot? Yung baby ko maliit pa mag start pa lang magschool,makakapag aral kaya sya ng maayos? Sa mga infected na po at nabubuhay na may hiv,kaya po bang panatilihing sikreto yun? Please kelangan ko po ng guidance kung anu na mangyayari saken or samen pag nagpositive kami,please share your experiences para po medyo mapanatag ako kung kaya naman mamuhay ng maayos kahit na infected,or magkakaron ba ng signs tlga sa panlabas na anyo na may hiv ang tao? Thanks po.

  22. Guy says:

    Sd hiv 1/2 3.0 un ginawang test sakin dko alam if accurate un

  23. Guy says:

    Maam grace more than 6 weeks n po un exposure kk pwede na po ba ako mag test kit?

  24. Guy says:

    Knock on wood if positive man tayo need ntn ng medication sabi nga ni maam grace hindi naman mahirap un nga lang magastos, ako bibili muna ng kit bago mag pa test ulit un nga nun nasa san lazaro ako kinapalan ko n tlga mukha ko as in pag titinginan ka tlga

  25. Zoe says:

    Bukas papatest na ko kasi yung exposure ko around sept last year,iniisp ko yung baby ko muna patest ko once na positive kasi sya,wala na,positive din ako syempre. Sa st.lukes ko plan,kaso natatakot ako bka pagtinginan kami pagpumunta dun? And gano kaya katagal bago lumabas yung result,Mr.guy ano gagawin naten pag positive tayo?nababaliw na ko kakaisip as in anxiety attack talaga,natutulog ako pero nagigising ako ng mga horror thoughts ko

  26. Guy says:

    Maam zoe sabi ni maam grace mag pa test ka agad thru pag bili ng kit or st lukes or medical city ako din nag ka roon ng exposure sinubukan ko mag pa test sa san lazaro after 3 weeks post exposure negative pero sabi ng doctor dun hindi pa sapat un need ng 3months so balak ko mag pa test ulit ng 3months cguro st lukes nln or medical city kc un un recomend ni maam grace sana maging negative kasi sobrang paranoid ndn ako

  27. Zoe says:

    Hello?? Anyone???

  28. Zoe says:

    Anyone? Please?

  29. Zoe says:

    Right now may mga rashes ako,pityriasis rosea daw when i went to the derma last week,tapos yung son ko may rash din sa mouth prang wind burn so sa isip ko definitely positive na nga kaming dalawa,Sobrang nakakatakot db? Please I need some enlightenment,words of encouragement na magpatest na at konting comforting para mabawasan yung pagka praning ko. Sorry.

  30. Zoe says:

    Friends,I really need someone to talk to,I have been exposed and haven’t been tested sobrang paranoid na ko,gusto ko patest pero natatakot ako,at the time na naexpose ako sa unprotected sex eh binibreastfeed ko pa yung baby ko,so if i’m positive malaki chance na pati anak ko nahawaan ko na! Kaya takot na takot ako sa katotohanan at takot na takot din ako sa mga naiisip ko dahil hindi pa nga ako nakakapagpatest,alam ko need ko na magpatest pero hindi ko kasi alam gagawin ko if i tested positive baka mabaliw ako. Please I really need some help.

  31. Guy says:

    Hindi n active si maam grace sayang naman

  32. yscent says:

    Okay lang po ba lumapit ako sa mga private doctors???

  33. yscent says:

    Mababaliw na po yata ako.. Kc po dito sa amin pag nalaman na may HIV ka talagang mapapahiya.. Natatakot po ako.

  34. Negative says:

    Better sa mgq private hospital 1200 lang ang bayad. Dun sa mga paranoid na kagaya ko mag pa test na kayo ng mawala ang takot nyo. Ako 3 months na akung paranoid lahat ng test ko negative. Na trauma kasi ako kaya until now paranoid pa din. Dun sa mga gusto mag tanung call kayo medical city 9881000 local 6765. Look for aira or chona. Makati med 8888999 pa transfer kayo cttm look for adrian or daisy. Mababait yang mga yan.

  35. yscent says:

    Yang San Lazaro po ba yan po ung rtmi? Hindi po ba tayo mapapahiya doon? Magkano po kaya lahat magagastos doon? Pwede po ba ako lumapit same mga private doctors dito like ob gyn? Need help po talaga..

    • grace koh says:

      kuya.. wag ka muna pumunta kung saan saan mag pa test ka muna. and bakit ka pupunta sa private doctors? walang alam ang mga yun sa HIV. get tested first, if negative…. you have nothing to worry about if positive, thats the time na pupunta ka ng RITM. san lazaro is not RITM.

  36. yscent says:

    i need help po. sana matulungan nyo po ako.

  37. yscent says:

    hi po. I badly need your help. i think po nagka hiv po ako way back 2006. i had most of the symptoms like flu, skin rashes, fatigue. hair fall. ano po ba gagawin ko? i cant afford to go to thailand im sure of that. can anybody please help me.

  38. jenny omiktin says:

    Hello Ma’am Grace! How can I buy the product po? My fiancees result is reactive for 2 test, I’m so depressed because ikakasal na kami. The clinic says na ipapadala nila ang last blood for the final testing sa DOH. I dont know what to do. I ask him y does it happens? Because he just came from Saudi and then we had sex a month pa. Before he goes abroad 4years ago we do anal sex for once. Naguguluhan talaga ako, that’s why I should have to buy the said kit po. Can I buy through bank to bank transactions? The result came our last week, please do help me ma’am grace,,, thank you so much for the support,

  39. jenny omiktin says:

    Hello, I had a boyfriend from Saudie, then we will be getting married this year, my problem is, he is reactive with HIV, we had sex a month ago. Is it possible po ba to undergo ng test po? Since he do it in 2 clinic and the last test will be undergo with DOH confirmation, may I ask how can I buy the test? Since I was leaving here in Mindanao? Please help me, thank you so much,

  40. Negative says:

    3 months

  41. Ana says:

    Hi ask ko lang po sana kung after 7 months ng last sexual inter course accurate na po ba yun ka pag nagpa HIV test ako? Or ilang months po ba ang pinaka accurate po para mag HIV test?

  42. Ana says:

    Hi negative, ako rin napaparanoid na. 🙁 7 guys na na experience ko at very young age. Ngayin natatakot na ko. 🙁 di ko alam kung saan magpapatest.

  43. Negative says:

    Ag/ab architech sa medical city. Ako rin paranoid laki na ng pinayat ko

  44. Negative says:

    Eto pa isang sagot. Diana
    Your result at 7 months is conclusive. 99.9% accurate

    • Guy says:

      Anung test un gnawa sayo at para malaman un absorbance? Un sakin kc sd hiv 1/2 3.0 kasing accurate ba nun un kit dito paranoid ndn akk eh

  45. Negative says:

    Lintek pati US Health care nag chat na ako. Eto sagot… Diana
    Hello?
    I sent the following message:
    The window Period for accurate testing results, post exposure: HIV RNA: 9-11 days, HIV Antibody: 1 to 3 months (According to the CDC in 97% of persons will develop detectable antibodies within the first 3 months)

  46. Negative says:

    Sagot ko na ang drinks basta may makausap lang lalo na si mam grace. Baka mamatay ako nito kakaisip i need you guys

  47. Negative says:

    Up hirap ng ganito guys kung sino paranoid kita tyo kahit sa place ko daanin natin sa inom. Makati area sharing lang para malaman natin kung ano ba ang hiv

  48. Negative says:

    Lintek na mga doctor to pag ako nag pa test ulet after 3 months na walang contact for 9 months wag na silang mag doctor. Sayang ang test at panahon kung hindi totoo ang 3 months period. Im not sexualy active 2013 female ang july 25, 2014 lang ang sex ko sa babae. Lagpas na ako sa window period kung tutuusin and yan ang sabi ng mga doctor. Ever checkup may bayad sana naman hindi masayang ang panahon at pera ko. Mam grace ano suggestion mo? Im still awake and paranoid

  49. Negative says:

    Maaaaaammmmmm grace good morning po

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