Indigent people with HIV and AIDS are a further marginalized community in the Philippines. The country provides for Antiretroviral Drugs through the Philippine Health Insurance (Philhealth) however, a minimum of PhP2,400/year per patient is required to avail of these ARV benefits. Indigents are unable to pay for the insurance cost at 2,400PhP per year, and in most AIDS Cases, are unable to sustain post-hospital treatment needs. We have mother-to-child modes of transmission whose parents have passed away or are not able to sustain medical needs of the children. We have indigents who have had successful hospital treatment of AIDS-related conditions but were not able to sustain post-confinement medical needs, such cases are those affected with cryptomeningitis, cytomegalovirus and other fungal/bacterial infections.
Current HIV AIDS Registry of the Philippines (HARP) report showed that around 10-15% of the new HIV cases are in the AIDS Stage (https://advocatehiv.wordpress.com), these cases are mostly confined at the San Lazaro Hospital and the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) which are the major treatment hubs in the country.
Usual needs of those with cell differential count of less than 200 (and <100) include Fluconazole, Azithromycin and Cotrimixazole. The first two being the more expensive type with costs not going lower than a hundred per piece, with dosage running for upto (and/or more) than six (6) months.
HIV & AIDS Support House Inc. (HASH) is closely working with a partylist called Akbayan. The partnership is able to provide 5,000PhP per quarter per patient worth of medical and laboratory expenses in the form of a guarantee letter coming from the Department of Health. While this offers a promising assistance program to the indigent community with HIV & AIDS, the covered hospital are limited and procedures like Magnetic Resonance Imaging and CT-scan (which are costly procedures) may not be available in the covered hospitals. For November and December, 2015, the support given out from this medical assistance program (MAP) reach more than a hundred thousand per month. And yet, the support is not enough since most services and medicines are not available in the pre-selected hospitals.