The Process

Posted by Pozziepinoy on 11:35 AM

The process of identifying our disease, undergoing the laboratory tests, the consultations, the ARV prescription and monitoring is really tedious. But what really is the process?
Here I am giving a detailed account of the process from start to finish:

1. Have an HIV test. You can go to any HIV/AIDS hub, Social Hygiene Clinics and private hospitals. 

2. When you are HIV positive, go to the nearest HIV/AIDS hub and have a consultation with an Infectious Disease doctor there.

    a. You will be asked to do laboratory tests
    b. You will be asked to get your initial CD4 count and Viral Load Count     
    c. You will be asked about your PhilHealth membership

3. Basing on your CD4 count:

    a. If CD4 count is above 350, you will be asked to return after 3 or 6 months and to get another CD count test thereafter. You will be asked to stay healthy, avoid getting sick, exercise, take vitamins and to have a healthy lifestyle.

    b. If CD4 count is below 350, you will be prescribed with ARV’s. The ARV’s that will be prescribed will be based on the results of your laboratory tests. Some hubs will give a trial first. Some would give a month supply. Some will give 3 months supply fast even during the initial prescription.

4. Once you start with the ARV’s, you will be asked to observe for side effects for the first 2 weeks.

a. Some hubs will ask you to get another set of laboratory tests after a week of taking the ARV’s
b. Some would ask you just to monitor for side effects to be reported on the 1st week consultation.
c. Some hubs would ask you to return after 2 weeks.

5. After the 1st consultation post ARV prescription, you will be asked to come back after 1 month. You have to report all the effects of the ARV’s to your doctor.

6. After a month of taking ARV’s, you will be asked to come back every 3 months for another consultation or for your refill of your ARV’s. Complete monitoring of side effects should be done.

7. The second CD4 test will be done after 6 months to know if your immune system is already recovering from the ARV’s. 

8. After a year, your doctor would ask you to have another CD4 and Viral Load test again.

8. So the process continues. Every 3 months, you have to go back to your hub for a refill of your ARV’s and consultation; after 6 and 12th months, your CD4 test; and every year, your Viral Load count. This continues until a cure has been found for our virus.