Advocacy Group Encourages the Youth for their First HIV Test
With 30 Filipinos being diagnosed with HIV every day, LoveYourself, Inc. will hold a free, fast and confidential HIV screening day for the Youth on 28 May 2017 (10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.) at Victoria Court, Malate dubbed as “Let’s TestMNL.” Let’s TestMNL specifically targets the Youth sector following the rate of HIV infection in this population, but nonetheless, all are invited, to register at this link: go.loveyourself.ph/testmnl to join the event.
“We are aggressive in bringing this free, fast and confidential HIV testing to the Youth because of their apparent vulnerability to the causes of the disease, and most importantly, only through testing that we can detect if one has the virus,” LoveYourself Executive Director Ronivin G. Pagtakhan underscored.
According to the latest Department of Health (DOH) data, there are 2,160 individuals aged 15-34 who have contracted the virus for the first January to March of this year alone. Pagtakhan clarified, “Let’s TestMNL testing day is for all ages, but LoveYourself highly encourages college students and those in their early 20s to support the movement in knowing their HIV status for the first time, especially in a safe and welcoming space.”
Across all regions of the country, the March 2017 DOH data showed 968 new HIV diagnoses with the National Capital Region scoring the highest infection rate with 302 individuals or 32%, followed by CALABARZON with 135 (14%), Central Luzon with 107 (11%), Central Visayas with 76 (8%) and Davao Region with 52 (5%), while the rest recorded 289 cases (30%).
At present, the people helping spread the HIV awareness and stigma eradication are newly crowned Mr. Gay World 2017 and LoveYourself Ambassador John F. Raspado and Let’s TestMNL ambassadors Rian Eli, Jed Garcia, Gibran KarlAlonzo, Gab Carreon, Raymund Mejorada and John Cruz.
The TestMNL campaign is a spinoff of the TestBKK in Bangkok, Thailand funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation through the APCOM, a regional organization that promotes HIV issues that affect the lives of men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people, including rights, health and well-being.
LoveYourself, Inc. is a non-government advocacy group offering free and confidential HIV testing and treatment, counselling and peer education, and initiating programs and projects towards HIV-AIDS awareness. The organization, in cooperation with the Department of Health- Research Institute for Tropical Medicines (RITM), has two operational testing facilities- the LoveYourself Anglo along Shaw Boulevard, and the LoveYourself Uni in Taft Ave.-Gil Puyat.
For more details on other LoveYourself’s services, individuals may visit the group’s official website at www.loveyourself.ph or follow and like its social media channels: Facebook- @loveyourself.ph, Twitter- @loveyourselfph, and Instagram- @loveyourself.ph.