In line with the celebration of World AIDS Day on December 1, the advocacy group LoveYourself, Inc. will be holding back-to-back events as part of an awareness campaign to help curb the rising cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections in the country.
There will be a free and confidential HIV screening on November 29 in an event dubbed “Ito ang Tamang Panahon”, in reference to the popular celebrity couple Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza. The group’s second HIV Screening Day for this year will be held at Victoria Court, North EDSA in Caloocan City.
“There’s no better time to know your HIV status than now,” said Ronivin Pagtakhan, founder and executive director of LoveYourself, adding that regular testing goes a long way in combating the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, Architect Omar Palero, assistant director for sales and marketing of Victoria Court – which started spearheading the “StpHIV” campaign nine years ago, involving celebrities who help spread awareness about HIV – said that “it is sad that very little has improved through the years and its alarming that the reported cases, including HIV-related deaths, are still on the rise.”
Palero added: “With modern medicine, the progression can be controlled through early detection, and that’s the reason why we’re making our properties venues for mass testing events. It all starts with knowing your status.”
In September of this year alone, the Department of Health reported 692 cases of new HIV infections in the country. An average of 22 Filipinos now get infected with the virus every day. HIV, when left untreated, weakens the immune system and leads to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), a condition where the body is no longer able to fight off various diseases and infections.
LoveYourself will also be holding the first Mr. and Ms. Fratpad, a pageant for “ambassadors of self-worth” aimed at spreading HIV awareness in the country through clans/groups of young MSMs. Winners of Mr. and Ms. Fratpad will be crowned in a culmination night on November 28 at the Kaban ng Hiyas Hall, 3/F Mandaluyong City Hall.