Photo courtesy of CDC

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The local government here is urging young residents to undergo HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) testing as health officials here continue to see a rise in infection of the said virus.

Mayor Sara Duterte said that from January to June this year, about 524 people have been diagnosed with HIV but only 259 or 49% are undergoing treatment.

The rise of HIV infection can be combatted by early testing, the mayor said during her recent State of the City Address on September 12. It’s a recommendation also supported by Jordana Ramiterre of the Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC).

“Early detection, especially for those with high-risk lifestyle, is encouraged,” Ramiterre said.

Davao City has consistently been in top five of the list of areas in the country having the most number of reported cases since January 1984 to February 2016.

However, Mayor Duterte assured that health and well-being of the Dabawenyos will be one of the top priorities of the local government.

In her speech, Duterte mentioned the different health programs established by the local government including the Lingap sa Mahirap project, family planning, nutrition programs, dengue and malaria prevention, control program and services, and HIV-AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) program.

In 2016, the RHWC was equipped to be one of the HIV treatment facilities in the city. The facility, along with the City Health Office serves as the city’s response to reproductive health concerns including sexually transmitted infections (STI).

The Mayor also stressed that RHWC was also chosen as “the pilot testing site of rapid HIV diagnostic algorithm” (rHIVda), said to be the ‘answer to the problem of long waiting period for the release of HIV confirmatory result.

The rHIVda cuts the long process of determining the result from more than three weeks to a lesser period.

Currently, various agencies of the government continue to conduct programs such as information and education campaign to the public including universities and schools to lessen cases of HIV and address other reproductive health concerns. (

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