In a move eyed to give a human face to those infected and affected by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in the Philippines, Outrage Magazine has launched “More than a Number”, an attempt to tell the stories of those whose lives have been touched by HIV and AIDS.
In narratives reaching the only publication for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the Philippines, HIV-positive Filipinos (in particular) feel “somewhat disempowered because of the loss of their identity, of their individuality as soon as they test positive, and then included in the treatment, care and support responses to them,” noted Michael David dela Cruz Tan, Outrage Magazine’s publishing editor. “This is largely because – as mentioned by some HIV-positive Filipinos – people simply become the codes, the numbers allocated them.” In a society “insisting that everyone is supposedly special, unique, et cetera, this is not exactly empowering – to be dubbed as ‘just one of the over 11,000 cases in the Philippines’, considering that every one of these Filipinos who tested HIV positive has (personal) story/ies to tell.”
With “More than a Number”, Outrage Magazine is looking at telling the stories of Filipinos living with HIV (those with, as well as those affected), to highlight that “yes, every individual story counts, and we want to hear and share these stories,” Tan said. “Because while the numbers tell us the extent of the effect of HIV in the country, the same numbers do not tell the full story.”
The stories from “More than a Number” will be published in Outrage Magazine’s POZ section. Cognizant of the mandate of the law (RA 8504) to uphold the privacy of those who are HIV-positive, these stories may be told openly (with people living with HIV coming out as such) or anonymously.
More information about (or – for that matter – to be included in) “More than a Number”, email email@example.com, or call (+63) 9287854244 and (+63) 9157972229.