Leading advocacy group on HIV Testing and Treatment, LoveYourself, Inc., started on Labor Day in Boracay its series of activation and HIV testing activities this month of May through its TestMNL(testMNL.org) and Philippine Business Sector Response (PBSR) programs.
A TestMNL ambassador, together with LoveYourself volunteers in the booths, engages the youth passing by in the alleys of Boracay to provide HIV 101 education during the Labor Day weekend.
“We prepared a series of activities this May to instill in the consciousness of the key target populations the importance of taking care of one’s self, especially in terms of their sexual health,” said LoveYourself Executive Director Ronivin G. Pagtakhan.
Pagtakhan informed “LastMarch, there are 968 new cases of HIV infection according to the latest Department of Health data, which inspires us to stand firm on our advocacy to resolve this still evolving problem.”
On 28 April to 1 May, the TestMNL team, , supported by BLISS, initially went to the majestic island of Boracay during the #LaBoracay2017 weekend to raise awareness on HIV and AIDS among the tourists who flocked in the island.
Creating a major buzz on its straight forward campaign tagline: Suck F*#k Test Repeat, Pagtakhan clarified “The tagline is blu because we want to emphasize to the people the importance of repeating the test and protecting themselves more than anything else. Many people are still stigmatized, so we needed an aggressive campaign to rally against this disease.”
Last Monday (8 May), the TestMNL and PBSR in partnership with the University of the Philippines-Manila College of Nursing Student Council have conducted an HIV101 and testing in the said institution with more than 70 students got themselves tested.
“We envision to make HIV testing in the country to be treated as a regular medical routine erasing the stigma attached to it, especially for the vulnerable populations to further protect themselves and their loved ones,” said Pagtakhan.
He added, “We are specifically targeting the youth sector due to the rising vulnerability of this population to HIV infection, in which 830 individuals aged 15 to 24 are diagnosed with HIV in the first quarter of the year alone.”
This coming 21 May, the TestMNL will have an HIV 101 activity during the Art Rally MNL at the Commune cafe in Makati City.
Moreover, on 28 May, TestMNL will offer its biggest HIV testing day from 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. at Victoria Court, Malate dubbed as Let’s TestMNL. Interested individuals may register at this link: go.loveyourself.ph/testmnl to avail of the free, fast and anonymous HIV test.
The TestMNL campaign is an adaptation of the TestBKK in Bangkok, Thailand funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation through the APCOM, a regional organization that promotes HIV issues that affect the lives of men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people, including rights, health, and well-being.
The PBSR is an Anvil awarded program in partnership with Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. dedicated to businesses or enterprises which entail HIV awareness, testing and facilitating the creation and implementation of an HIV Policy in the Workplace.
LoveYourself, Inc. is a non-government advocacy group offering free and confidential HIV testing and treatment, counseling and peer education, and initiating programs and projects towards HIV/AIDS awareness. The organization, in cooperation with the Department of Health- Research Institute for Tropical Medicines (RITM), has two operational testing facilities- the LoveYourself Anglo along Shaw Boulevard, and the LoveYourselfUni in Taft Ave.-Gil Puyat.
For more details on other LoveYourself’s services, individuals may visit the group’s official website at www.loveyourself.ph or follow and like its social media channels: Facebook- @loveyourself.ph, Twitter- @loveyourselfph, and Instagram- @loveyourself.ph.