PSA: App for HIV testing, health care services can now be accessed amid COVID-19 pandemic

February 16, 2022 - 7:35 PM
Image by Anna Shvets via Pexels

A US-funded project to end HIV launched a digital platform that offers easier access to HIV testing and other health care services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project called “Meeting Targets and Maintaining Epidemic Control (EpiC) Project” or EpiC introduced the platform for service booking and case management.

EpiC is a global initiative implemented by FHI 360 supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

It aims to end HIV (human immunodeficiency viruses) epidemic in the world by 2030.

During the media conference on Wednesday, its representatives launched their HIV awareness campaign called the FREE TO BE U Campaign in the Philippines.

One of the services or programs of this campaign is the online application.

Teresita Marie Bagasao, project director of EpiC Philippines, said that this digital platform is developed for HIV-vulnerable populations to easily gain access to public and community-led facilities in the country.

“Through this platform, vulnerable populations have easier access to HIV testing services in public and community-led facilities, and in particular, those who will be newly diagnosed can immediately be enrolled to life-saving antiretroviral therapy that allows them to achieve an undetectable viral load,” Bagasao said.

“Achieving an undetectable viral load is now the goal of people living with HIV, and can be easily achieved within six months of continued adherence to taking their antiretroviral drugs,” she added.

The booking service can be accessed through this link.

Photo of the Quick Res application to access HIV services in the country

Based on the website, here are the following services that patients can avail when they book an appointment:

  • Online risk assessment
  • HIV testing
  • STI testing
  • PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis)
  • PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis)
  • HIV treatment
  • Counseling services

Its privacy and data use policy also guarantees the confidentiality of the client’s personal information.

“Trained management, outreach, and counseling staff in Botswnaa carefully support clients and handle their information securely. Our clinical partners are nationally accredited and follow health information guidelines set by the Ministry of Health,” part of its policy reads.

Ending HIV in the world

To achieve their global goal, EpiC employs the ‘95-95-95’ strategy for people living with HIV or PLIV for short.

This strategy means 95% should know of their status, 95% should already be on treatment and 95% PLHIV should have suppressed viral loads.

In the Philippines, EpiC noted that there are an estimated 133,800 adults and children who are living with HIV.

Of these, only about 94,000 have been diagnosed.

Moreover, only around 56,000 of them are undergoing life-saving antiretroviral therapy.