Anti-HIV drugs free at DMC: health official

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AIDS newsPHILIPPINES - A Departement of Health official said anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs for adults, or medications for the treatment of infection by retroviruses, primarily HIV, are available for free at the Davao Medical Center.

Department of Health Undersecretary Ethelyn Nieto, during the ongoing 8th Philippine National Convention on Aids at the Royal Mandaya Hotel, said ARV drugs will be released to any person depending on the patient's viral load or the concentration of a virus, such as HIV, in the blood.

ARV drugs for children, however, are available only in three Philippine hospitals, namely: San Lorenzo Hospital, Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), all in Metro Manila.

This is due to the fact that there is no reported case of HIV among children in Mindanao but DOH is working to have ARV drugs for children in all regions with the aid of United Childrens Fund (Unicef) and other health partners, Dr. Nieto said.

Providing ARV Drugs, especially those for children, in the regions as well as access to testing and counseling is part of DOH's goal. DOH also encourages Local Government Units (LGUs) to help them in their campaign and information drives to promote awareness and erase the misconceptions of the general public towards HIV/AIDS. This is in order to encourage infected patients to seek help without fear of discrimination.

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