On January 18, 2018, LoveYourself joins the ranks of 21 DOH-designated Primary HIV Care Facilities with the release of the Department of Health (DOH) Memorandum No. 2018-0031. With the assistance of 59 Treatment Hubs and 22 Primary HIV Care Facilities, DOH aims to venture into a larger and decentralized provision of HIV care and support services throughout the country.

The DOH Administrative Order No. 2017-0019, also known as the Policies and Guidelines in the Conduct of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Testing Services (HTST) in Health Facilities, outlines an HIV Treatment Hub as a hospital with an organized HIV and AIDS Core Team (HACT) catering to both in-patient and out-patient HIV care whereas a Primary HIV Care Facility is a private or public health facility catering to out-patient clients.

In essence, Primary Care Facilities and HIV Treatment Hubs both foster prevention, treatment, care, and support services to Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV). Care and support services include, but are not limited to, antiretroviral therapy, HIV testing services, clinical management, patient monitoring, and other care and support services.

Executive Director and co-founder Ronivin G. Pagtakhan said, “The accreditation is the first step toward our goal to be a self-sustaining institution. As envisioned from the onset of the organization’s operations, LoveYourself targets to provide not only biomedical interventions, but a holistic approach in promoting self-worth to clients.” According to Pagtakhan, “The goal is to empower our stakeholders so that they may create their own ripples of positive change in their respective communities.”

With this accreditation, LoveYourself positions itself as the first DOH-designated facility that is community-led and volunteer-driven. With a mounting reputation from its establishment in 2012, LoveYourself remains grounded with a drive to provide its clients a home, where once visited, one can only leave with a happy heart, or at least, a hopeful one.

For reference, these are the DOH-designated HIV Treatment Hubs and Primary HIV Care Facilities per region:

Text by Mark Angello C. Ganon