Hike in HIV cases leads QC to open sexual health clinic for men
Quezon City now has a comprehensive sexual healthcare clinic specifically for the treatment and referral of men infected with a sexually transmissible disease (STD) and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
“Klinika Bernardo” was converted into a diagnostic, treatment and referral facility for male patients suffering from the two ailments after the ordinance for this purpose was signed into law on Jan. 9.
According to the ordinance, the male-focused Klinika Bernardo was initially established by the city health department in response to the alarming increase in the number of persons infected with HIV.
It was observed that in May last year, there were 415 new cases of HIV, most of them reported in the National Capital Region. The number was “an alarming all-time high in the history of HIV and AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) in the Philippines.”
According to the Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry, 96 percent of the 415 cases were males who were infected with HIV mostly through sexual contact.
From 1984 to 2013, there were 1,892 AIDS cases registered. Of the total, 95 percent were male and the most common mode of HIV transmission was through sexual contact, specifically men having sex with men.
“It has been reported that every month, Quezon City is registering a high number of new cases of HIV infections with the national AIDS registry through the National Epidemiology Center of the Department of Health,” the ordinance noted.
This prompted the local health department to put up the Klinika Bernardo at the back of the Ramon Magsaysay High School on Edsa in Cubao, which operates beyond regular office hours to accommodate men, particularly those working the graveyard shift, in need of diagnosis, treatment or referral for sexually transmissible diseases.
In recognition of the success of the clinic, Klinika Bernardo’s establishment as a comprehensive sexual health-care clinic will involve the inclusion of its operational and maintenance funds in the local health department’s next annual budget.
Based on the ordinance, the clinic will operate from Monday to Friday at 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. It may also open its doors on weekends should there be a need.
At the same time, medical and clinical personnel of the Quezon City health department will continue running the clinic.
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