Coming Home from the U.S.

Posted by Pozziepinoy on 8:51 AM
Hi Pozzie Pinoy, 

I am XXX, 32 years old and I was diagnosed last August 2015 here in the US. Since I am not yet an immigrant, I may need to go home. I am currently on meds now. I am taking Triumeq and antibiotics and I get everything for free including dental and all consultation. Will I get the same treatment and free meds in the Philippines? There's no way that I can stop medication because that would make the meds resistant. Can you give me some guidance on this? I badly need help from somebody who is going through the same situation. 

Thank you in advance for your help. 

XXX



POZZIEPINOY’S RESPONSE

Hi XXX.

Thank you for your email. Thank you searching for the Project Red Ribbon website.

I am glad that you are on antiretrovirals now and currently on antibiotics treating an infection. I do hope that others would understand the importance of taking ARV to stop the HIV from progressing and create havoc to one's health. A person with HIV, who is taking ARV's will weaken the HIV to a point that the person can't transmit it anymore to an unborn child or to a sexual partner.

Regarding your current medicine Triumeq, which we don't have in the Philippines, I sought the advice of Dr. Rossana A. Ditangco, the Head of the AIDS Research Group of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and a partner of the Foundation. She said that when you come back, bring all your documents so that the HIV doctors here can evaluate you based on your treatment history. The doctors here may have to switch you to another cocktail equivalent to what you have in the U.S. to continue your medication.

XXX, the ARV's here are free courtesy of the Department of Health. The treatment hub doctor's consultation is also free in government hubs. Some of baseline tests here are paid for by the Outpatient HIV and AIDS Treatment (OHAT) package of PhilHealth, so you will have to enrol in the insurance system when you come back. However, laboratory tests and treatment of opportunistic infections, other health service (dental, vaccinations, etc.) are not covered by PhilHealth, thus you will pay for those out of your own pocket.

Coverage of free laboratory tests depends on which treatment hub you go to. Some treatment hubs provide free baseline tests, including CD4 as long as you have PhilHealth. Some offer CD4 test for cheap (roughly less than $50). Some hubs cover all baseline tests, including complete blood test, chest x-ray, TB test, etc. Some hubs don't. In private treatment hubs, these tests and the doctor's consultation are not free, though discounted by the OHAT package of PhilHealth.

When you come back, the Foundation will guide you through the entire process here. It will start with a repeat of the HIV test as you have been tested in the US and the DOH will need to document your result here. If not retested, you won't be able to enrol in any of the HIV and AIDS treatment hubs here. Our counselors from the hotline numbers listed below, will give you direction on the next steps that you need to take after your HIV test.

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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