Feb 9, 2013

[Advocacy] Project Indulge by Love Yourself

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to the fight against the spread of HIV and AIDS is the social stigma that is often attached to it. Many individuals fear getting tested because of the potential "shame" that they believe will come with being diagnosed. Thus instead of getting treatment right away, they choose to live in ignorance.

As I tell many friends who ask me about HIV testing, we shouldn't treat this disease as something that is distinct or separate from all other conditions. Being diagnosed with HIV is not an immediate death sentence in itself - no more than being diagnosed with conditions like diabetes, heart disease or asthma. All require certain precautions, changes in your lifestyle and on-going medication. So why does HIV and AIDS need to be different?

LoveYourself is one of the many HIV/AIDS advocacy groups active in the country right now and they continually try to find new ways to spread their message by effectively utilizing various social media channels. And their latest campaign, Project Indulge, is certainly something to be excited about.

Project Indulge is an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign that tries to make HIV testing a regular part of any check-up. Instead of the usual messages of fear that we often see when it comes to HIV/AIDS awareness, the goal of the project is to look at things from a more positive perspective. They've partnered with the advertising agency Campaigns and Grey and photographer Jeanne Young to put together a series of rather witty ads utilizing some interesting talent.

The campaign has tapped three notable figures to help promote the cause - these being Kit Guerra, Carlito Rosadino, Jr., and Jeremy Favia. Here are their write-ups from the official press release:

Kit Guerra has been with the local rugby team, the Volcanoes, as a flanker for around 6 years now. He has modelled for Bench underwear in the controversial calendar and billboard shoot that featured the rugby team’s players. A graduate of Boston University with a major in Advertising, he has started working for Campaigns and Grey. CrossFit training is part of his routine almost twice a day to keep fit and prepare to compete in the 2013 CrossFit Games in June 2013. No, unfortunately he is straight and attached, with a 4-year long girlfriend based in Seattle. He has made it a habit to go for HIV screening regularly. This is his first chance to help out with the advocacy. “There is no need to be scared [about getting tested for HIV]. You get support every step of the way,” he says.

Carlito Rosadino Jr. is the current Mr. Gay World Philippines title holder, and has been an avid supporter of The Love Yourself, joining the advocacy in several events including last year’s Pride March in Makati. He is a trained contemporary, lyrical, folk and jazz dancer from the University of the Philippines where he was part of the UP FIlipiniana Dance Troupe, and after graduation, he has performed professionally for a number of local shows. He is currently in Dubai to pursue new opportunities. But before leaving, he obliged to help The Love Yourself Project this time by being part of this campaign.

Jeremy Favia is best known as a celebrity chef on TV5, with his shows “Chef vs. Mom” (awarded Best Lifestyle Programme category in the Asian TV Awards) and “Take-Out.” He claims to be a shy person in reality, but somehow landed a career in TV when he was urged by friends to audition for “Ka-Toque” at QTV 11. With “Take-Out” he gets to go around trying out unusual local fare, then prepares his own recipe take from his gastronomic experiences. Currently single, he says if he were to find someone special, “dapat mabait sya, maasikaso. Yung physical, bonus na lang yun. Age doesn’t matter. Number lang ‘yon.” He has friends who have admitted they were HIV positive, and he himself gets tested regularly. Chef Jeremy has this message for sexually-active people, “If you love yourself, get tested regularly.”

And here's the last round-up of information about LoveYourself, for those of you who are curious about getting involved or desire to get finally take the test that you've been avoiding for so long:

Love Yourself is also beefing up its efforts to roll out their new services, like the "ultra-discreet" and "ultra-premium" HIV testing service in Makati Central Business District called, "Love Yourself Platinum" (go.loveyourself.ph/platinum). The advocacy is also expanding soon in other key cities which includes Pasay, Cebu and in Angeles, Pampanga.

You can also visit the LoveYourself Hub (facebook.com/LoveYourselfHub), a Malate-based clinic open for testing from Thursdays to Mondays all year round.

Upcoming schedules will include FREE HIV Testing events in Cebu on February 23 and in Manila on March 10. Interested individuals may visit go.LoveYourself.ph/Cebu and go.LoveYourself.ph/Manila for details.

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