Manila hospital soon to be HIV treatment hub

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THE Santa Ana Hospital in Manila will soon be turned into a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) treatment center.

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Mayor Joseph Estrada said the hospital will not only serve Manila residents but also HIV patients from other cities or municipalities.

“This will be a modest contribution of the city government to measures implemented by national government as well as international agencies and organizations to curb the spread of HIV, which, if left untreated, can lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome or AIDS,” the mayor said.

The 500-bed, 10-storey hospital, one of the six public hospitals in the city that underwent a P500-million renovation, is classified as a “level II” medical facility.

Dr. Jesus Sison, Jr., the hospital director, said the medical personnel have completed their training on how to handle HIV cases in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH).

He added that they have complied with the basic requirements of the DOH such as a laboratory for treatment and analysis of HIV-infected blood, trained personnel for counseling of patients, obstetricians and surgeons, highly-trained nurses and the upgrade and procurement of facilities.

“We expect DOH to approve our accreditation as an HIV treatment center by January. We just have to submit some other documentary requirements,” Sison said, adding that Health officials inspected the hospital early this month.

“This facility will cater to Manilans as well as non-Manilans,” he stressed.

Based on the HIV/AIDS Registry of the DOH, 841 new HIV cases were reported in June 2016 and 103 of these cases developed into full-blown AIDS. This number was the highest ever recorded in a single month since 1984, when HIV was first detected in the country.

Of the 841 cases, 92 percent were acquired through sexual transmissions, mainly through MSM (men having sex with men).

Last month, Estrada offered free HIV testing and treatment to bona fide manila residents. The free HIV tests and treatment are being conducted at the Manila Social Hygiene Clinic in Sta. Cruz.

As chairperson of the City Peace and Order Council (CPOC), the mayor earlier directed the inter-department body to intensify its HIV/AIDS information and awareness drive in the city’s 896 barangays.

While the rate of HIV infections in Manila remained “manageable,” the increasing number of people infected by the deadly virus is a cause of alarm and has become a major public health issue among the local government units, Estrada said.

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