This is an announcement from LoveYourself.
MANILA, Philippines – “Syempre, tuwang-tuwa ako.” (I was elated.)
This was how 2016 Mister Gay World Philippines (MGWP) John Raspado described how he felt when he got the result of his first HIV screening years back.
Since then, the gentleman from Baguio City has encouraged people in his circle to take the HIV test to rule out all their doubts and misconceptions about the disease.
Taking a bolder step as a modern gay guy, Raspado has become the lead ambassador of LoveYourself Incognito 2.0, the country’s most trusted community-based HIV screening that is free, anonymous, and fast.
Raspado urged individuals to undergo HIV testing on November 27 at Victoria Court Malate in Manila by signing up at go.loveyourself.ph/incognito. The event is made possible through the cooperation of LoveYourself and its partners – the Department of Health-Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, and MGWP Organization.
“It is not the virus that kills them. It is the pride and stigma,” stressed MGWPO Board of Director Ryan Soto. Highlighting the importance of early detection of HIV, Soto added that “everyone must be responsible to his/her health and welfare.”
Bringing HIV testing nearer
LoveYourself Executive Director Ronivin G. Pagtakhan said Incognito aims to bring HIV testing and discussion to a greater scale to reach and help more people.
“I also take pride with my co-volunteers because they really exert extra effort for our clients to have a smooth-sailing testing experience, especially to first-timers. They devote their time with passion to care for people who need our services,” Pagtakhan relayed.
Being the 2016 MGWP winner, Raspado said he wanted to create awareness and encourage more research on the treatment of HIV in the Philippines by capitalizing on the use of social media to enlighten more people who are frequently inquiring about the medical interventions for the disease.
Moreover, Raspado advised everyone to remain keen about their HIV status especially those who have been previously tested and had a non-reactive (HIV negative) result. “It doesn’t stop with just one HIV test. You would always have to be careful and be safe,” Raspado said.
“It would also be better if you’d stay loyal to your partner,” he added, which is one of the many ways for people to have safe and satisfying sex and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Making HIV sexier
Following his landslide win in the 2016 MGWP, Raspado continues to promote his platform of modernizing the image of gay men in the Philippines. This entails becoming bolder, wiser, and sexier by being competent, creative, and confident about one’s self.
“I would like to use my voice and be a role model for members of the LGBT community who are still in the process of acceptance,” he said.
Raspado added: “Once you’ve become more confident of yourself, we can eradicate the stigma.”
LoveYourself aims to empower everyone in embracing and nurturing their self-worth, which is pivotal in creating ripples of positive change in the community. In this line, Pagtakhan said: “We anchor our advocacy in boosting one’s self-worth to propagate ideas, attitudes, and practices and integrate these factors to help fight against the spread and stigma on HIV.”
Recently, LoveYourself sought a partnership with MGWPO to eradicate the social stigma on the disease and its relevant interventions. MGWP 1st runner-up John Bench Ortiz promoted the significance of fitness and sexual health to elevate the HIV prevention advocacy.
MGWPO is a non-profit organization supporting the fight against sexual prejudice, injustice and equality for the LGBT community across the world. The organization aims to modernize the image of gays and break all stereotypes from the general public’s perception. – Rappler.com
LoveYourself can be reached through its official website at www.loveyourself.ph, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Instagram at @loveyourself.ph.
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