#WorldAIDSDay campaign: Get tested!

Fritzie Rodriguez
#WorldAIDSDay campaign: Get tested!
There are more cases of HIV/AIDS in the Philippines than what has been recorded because people don't get tested for fear of the stigma. 'Snap out of it!' says a campaign.

MANILA, Philippines – For the first 7 months of 2014, the number of people reported to have the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) in the Philippines has risen by 30% compared to last year.

In fact, the number of reported HIV cases reported in the Philippines has steadily increased in the past years – from only two in 1984 to over 19,000 cases at presentOn average, HIV claims 14 lives in the Philippines every year.

Not all HIV cases are reported, however, for various reasons: lack of information, lack of access to health services such as testing centers, and fear and social stigma.

Some may be unaware of testing centers offering free services, while others may fear how others might judge them for getting tested.

“Snap out of it and get tested,” said Niccolo Cosme, an AIDS awareness advocate.

Cosme, who is also the creative director of Project Headshot Clinic, partnered with Red Whistle, a group of HIV advocates which came up with a campaign against indifference to HIV/AIDS.

“Using pop culture as a way to reach people and change mindsets, we hope to start discussions among the youth so that they will sound the alarm and spread the word that HIV is here – and that it must be stopped,” the Red Whistle group said.

The group also raises funds to assist partner organizations providing free HIV testing, counseling, and financial support.

For World AIDS Day, December 1, the group produced a short video for the campaign.

“The initial idea is to have subjects guess the words ‘HIV Status’. We thought nobody can actually guess those words and planned to use the tagline. We really made it difficult to guess because HIV status can’t really be guessed, you need to get tested for it. But two people were able to guess it,” Cosme explained.

“So we changed the tagline to ‘You could have actually guessed the words, but you can never guess your HIV status, you need to get tested for it,’” added Cosme.

Watch the video below:

Advocates are calling on Filipinos to “blow the whistle” harder, not only to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, but also to educate those that do nothing but discriminate. – Rappler.com

For a list of HIV testing centers and facilities across different parts of the country, check this directory.

For more information on the Red Whistle campaign, you may contact them here

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