Laoag City offers free HIV test

LAOAG CITY – The Laoag City Health Office (CHO) and the Department of Health (DOH) is offering free human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) test to the public who wish to have themselves check for a possible HIV infection.

Rowena Nicolas, disease surveillance coordinator, has urged the public particularly the bisexuals to submit themselves in the free testing for an early detection and prevention.

“This is open to all who wants to take the test and the CHO will treat it confidentially,” Nicolas said.

At present, the DOH has a recorded total of 18 HIV cases in Laoag City which is considered alarming according to Nicolas.

“The trend of the increase of this infection in the city is considered fast and furious. It is increasing very fast that is why we have to be very careful,” Nicolas said.

The identity of the infected individuals cannot be disclosed, but Nicolas hinted that these individuals are now at the treatment hub.

The CHO has intensified campaign on prevention and calls for awareness on how to protect them from the highly-infectious disease.

“Prevention is very important. We have to practice safe sex. Use condoms (especially to those who engage in various sexual activities),” said Nicolas.

“Having one and constant sexual partner is also advisable,” she added.

In the 2015 record of the DOH, Laoag City appeared to the in the top ten cities to have the most numbers of HIV positive cases nationwide.

However, Mayor Chevylle Farinas claimed that these individuals, though recorded to be Laoag City residents are not presently residing in the city but in another place.

According to Nicolas, HIV infection has no symptoms and cannot be detected physically but it can lead to death.

“Once a person is infected with the virus, it will begin to kill the healthy system of the body and if remain untreated it will lead to death,” she said.

Nicolas also advised the bisexuals who are the most victims of the HIV to maintain a healthy lifestyle and practice safe sex.

The CHO also joined in the simultaneous International AIDS Candlelight Memorial at the Laoag City Hall on Monday morning. PNA/