MANILA: May 7, 2015 — HIV organization The Red Whistle put a different spin to this year’s Labor Day weekend in Boracay, as they mobilized their team of volunteers who competed against each other to achieve one goal: educating the youth on HIV and AIDS.
From April 29 to May 1, the group assembled three teams, composed of six members each, as part of their first annual #SaveSexy Lifeguards Laboracay Race.
The teams, named Aware, Courage, and Protect, were deployed at Stations 1, 2, and 3 — approaching beachgoers and raising awareness on how one can prevent HIV, and the importance of knowing one’s status through regular HIV testing.
“Our #SaveSexy campaign is all about teaching the youth to be conscious of their sexual health and HIV status, be confident about their bodies enough to protect it, and be comfortable discussing about sexual health,” says Evan Tan, Administrative Head of The Red Whistle. “With this campaign in mind, we developed the #SaveSexy Lifeguards Laboracay Race. We know that Boracay during Labor Day weekend is a great time to talk to young people about our campaign, since our message is very celebratory and positive — something which we know won’t scare them off.”
The teams encouraged the young people who were educated to post about the campaign on social media through their Instagram accounts, using the hashtag #SaveSexy, plus the team’s assigned hashtags #SaveSexyAware, #SaveSexyProtect, and #SaveSexyCourage.
The team #SaveSexyAware, which got the most people to post their assigned hashtags on Instagram, won the race.
As the culminating activity of the race, about 300 people — all of whom were tourists educated by the volunteers — joined the march from Bombom Bar at Station 2 to Sur at Station 1, wearing their #SaveSexy t-shirts.
The event has also been promoted by celebrities such as Solenn Heussaff, Tom Rodriguez, Dominic Roque, Kaye Abad, and Derek Ramsay. As of this writing, the event has received 2.6 million impressions online, as reported by social media analytics platform Keyhole.co.
The race, supported by the UNAIDS and HIV advocacy group SHIP Foundation, was powered by location-based casual adventure mobile game application Cyburban. It was sponsored by Bench/ Body, 2GO Travel, Premiere Condoms, LG, Vita Coco, Neutrogena, BLKSMTH, and KKK Coffee. Epic Boracay hosted the group’s after-party which flew in top international DJ Sander Van Doorn.
The #SaveSexy Lifeguards Laboracay Race precedes this year’s National HIV Testing Week, happening on May 11-15, and the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, on May 17.
About The Red Whistle (www.theredwhistle.com)
Pioneering HIV advocacy group The Red Whistle was established in 2011 as a response to the alarming rise of HIV cases in the Philippines. Since then, it has become a collaborative platform for artists, individuals, and groups to come together and raise HIV and AIDS awareness in the country. We are also a crucial agent and partner for brands to support the HIV and AIDS advocacy here in the Philippines.
The Red Whistle is a partner of the UNAIDS and the SHIP Foundation, which does grassroots level HIV advocacy through HIV testing and counseling. The organization is also a member of the Network to Stop AIDS Philippines.