Medical City launches HIV/AIDS hub in Iloilo

THE Medical City (TMC) Iloilo launched the I-REACT (I am Responsible for the Early Assessment, Consultation and Treatment) HIV Hub March 10 to provide premium HIV/AIDS health care services to patients, without stigma or discrimination.

Dr. Eugenio Jose Ramos, TMC CEO; Dr. Juan Ismael Sumagaysay, HIV/AIDS Core Team (HACT) chairman; and Patrick Joseph Jalandoni, I-REACT project leader, led the launching of I-REACT HIV hub, in the presence of its partners from the Department of Health-6, PLHIV group United Western Visayas, Inc., Iloilo Pride Team and Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP) representatives, health care providers, among others.

Dr. Sumagaysay said the goal of the hub is to provide optimum HIV/AIDS healthcare to patients. The treatment is not only through medication but also through providing social support by educating and counselling patients and their family members about the disease.

“We share the global goal of achieving the 2020 vision of zero deaths due to HIV/AIDS,” Dr. Sumagaysay said.

The HIV Hub in Iloilo is a duplicate of TMC HIV Hub in Metro Manila, which attends to approximately 700 patients on active anti-retroviral therapy.

“I-REACT’s main thrust is consistent with the institution’s vision of leadership in health through education and partnership with patients, with emphasis on personal accountability over one’s health,” Jalandoni said.

He explained that HIV/AIDS is covered by PhilHealth through the Out-patient HIV/AIDS Fund (OHAF) amounting to P30,000 per patient per annum. The anti-retroviral drug is from the DOH, thus, free.

“The initial cash-out of the patient is only for the screening amounting to P410 only,” Jalandoni said.

The Hub is comprised of well-trained and close-knit team composed of a doctor, nurse, med tech, pharmacist and social workers. It provides professional clinical consultation, risk reduction counselling, early diagnosis, support system referral, immune system monitoring and medical treatment, and ensures 100 percent confidentiality.

As part of its public awareness campaign on HIV/AIDS, TMC Iloilo is set to conduct a free HIV/AIDS screening, with pre- and post-counselling sessions on March 15-19 at Robinsons Place Iloilo.

The Hub’s support system includes teams from the LGBT community, PLHIV, and an open religious organization. Aside from the HIV Hub in Western Visayas Medical Center, the opening of TMC HIV Hub provides Iloilo City and its neighboring provinces alternative access to premium HIV/AIDS healthcare where stigma and discrimination do not thrive.

TMC hopes that with the opening of the Hub, the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS patients will end. “With the end to stigma, healing begins,” the TMC executives stressed.

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