Baseline Test in the Philippines

Posted by Pozziepinoy on 12:27 PM
Hallo,

I am a US Citizen. As I have recently obtained the Philippines non-immigrant visa I will soon be seconded by my current employer to the Philippines to work in Manila for about 3 years.

I am HIV+ but my condition does not require (yet) any medication as my level of CD4 cells remains relatively high while my viral load relatively low. However, I need to undergo on a regular basis the baseline tests (CD4 cells, viral load etc.).

My question is simple: are the HIV treatment hubs listed on your website (http://pozziepinoy.blogspot.cz/p/hiv-treatment-hubs.html) available also for foreigners legally living and working in the Philippines? And if yes, do I need the PhilHealth Membership Documents or any other documentation to qualify for their care and services and last but not least would I have to pay (...and how much) for the baseline HIV infection tests?

Thanks in advance.
Jan

POZZIEPINOY’S RESPONSE

Hi Jan.

Thank you for your email. Thank you for reading the blog.

Since you still have a high CD4 and low VL, you may not need to be enrolled in any hub in the country. You may just go and get a consultation with an HIV doctor and get a prescription for your regular lab tests (CD4, VL, etc) every 3 or 6 months if you want.

Enrolling in the HIV/AIDS Treatment Hub provides cheaper lab tests or even free tests. However, you need to comply with the requirements, such as an ACR or certificate of residency here in the country. You will also be required to file a PhilHealth membership. This is just an option unless, your CD4 falls low, when your HIV doctor here prescribes you to take ARVs. Since ARV's are only dispensed in the hubs and not in the pharmacies, you have no choice but to be enrolled in the hub. ARV's are free here even for foreigners as long as they comply with the requirements of the hubs.

Like what I said, for the mean time that your CD4 is still high, you may just consult with an HIV doctor and get your regular tests in a private hospital. Below is an estimated breakdown  of the expenses:

1. Private HIV Doctor (will refer one when you get here in Manila) : P500-P1000
2. CD4 Test & VL: P6000 - P13,000 (depending on which hospital you take it)
3. Other Tests: Prepare around P5,000 to P10,000 (depending on hospital)

If the fees above are quite expensive for you every 3 or 6 months, you can still be enrolled in a government hub. Of course expect longer lines and slower service because of the number of people getting tests and treatment there.

I hope I was able to answer your concerns. Feel free to email me again if you have other questions.


Stay healthy,
Pozziepinoy






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