Manila’s Sta. Ana Hospital to become HIV treatment hub

The Sta. Ana Hospital will become Manila's "HIV Treatment Hub" to help government efforts to arrest the alarming increase in the number of HIV infections in the country.

This will be the city government's modest contribution to measures implemented by the national government and international agencies and organizations to curb the spread of HIV, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said Thursday.

The 500-bed, 10-storey Sta. Ana Hospital in New Panaderos St. in Manila's District 6 is classified as a "Level ll" medical facility and is one of the six public hospitals in the city that have undergone a PHP500 million renovation.

Sta. Ana Hospital director, Dr. Jesus Sison Jr., said they have completed the training of medical personnel to handle HIV cases, in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH).

He pointed out that they have complied with the basic requirements of the DOH, such as a laboratory for treatment and analysis of HIV-infected blood, trained personnel for counseling of patients, and obstetricians and surgeons to operate on patients with HIV, as well as highly trained nurses, and the upgrading and procurement of facilities.

"We expect DOH to approve our accreditation as an HIV treatment center by January. We just have to submit some other documentary requirements," Sison pointed out, adding that the DOH has already inspected the hospital early this month.

"This facility will cater to Manilans, as well as non-Manilans," he added.

Based on the health department's HIV/AIDS Registry, there have been 841 new HIV cases in the country for the month of June alone, 103 of which have developed into full-blown AIDS. This number was the highest ever recorded in a single month since 1984, when HIV was first detected in the country.

Of the 841 cases, 92 percent were acquired through sexual transmissions, mainly by MSM (men having sex with men).

Last month, Estrada announced that the city government is also offering HIV testing and treatment to bona fide residents for free, at the Manila Social Hygiene Clinic in Sta. Cruz.

As chairperson of the City Peace and Order Council (CPOC), Estrada earlier directed the inter-department body to hasten and intensify its HIV/AIDS information and awareness drive in the 896 barangays of Manila, as well as its continuing outreach and counseling program.

While the rate of HIV infections in Manila remains "manageable", the ever increasing number of individuals getting infected by the virus in the country is a cause for alarm on the part of the city government and is now a major public health issue among local government units, Estrada said.

Source: Philippines News Agency