To commemorate World AIDS Day on December 1, the city government in Iloilo, through its Social Hygiene Clinic, will offer free HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) testing.
Dr. Odeta Villareal, Medical Officer IV, said that free HIV testing will be conducted at SM City Northpoint, starting at 10 am, but will stop at 1:30 pm to give way to the World AIDS Day commemoration program, and testing will resume at 4:30 pm.
“You can get the results after 40 minutes for those who are willing to take the test,” she said.
Jenny Lyn A. Ruaya, Western Visayas Medical Center HIV and AIDS Core Team Staff Nurse, emphasized the confidentiality of HIV test results.
“Before testing, the client will undergo free test counseling,” she said.
She said that clients are subjected to counseling because HIV testing is not like any ordinary routine laboratory test and due to negative implications.
Richard Chin Jr., HIV/STI surveillance assistant of the Department of Health DOH)-6 Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit, said that free HIV/AIDS testing are also available at the Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC), Iloilo City Social Hygiene Clinic, Family Planning Organization of the Philippines, and all district health centers in Iloilo City.
He said that the department is continuously conducting information and education advocacy campaign that aims at preventing HIV and AIDS.
“Since HIV screening in the country is still voluntary, we cannot force individuals to have themselves tested,” he said.
He added that what is important is to make the public understand the risks and consequences if they engage in risky behaviors.
World AIDS Day is observed each year on December 1 and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV, and remember those who have died.
Started in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day. (JCM/LTP/PIA-Iloilo)