People from various walks of life donated an overwhelming support at the LoveYourself’s launch of TestMNL Campaign at the Cherry Poppin’- The 3rd Party on Saturday night (25 February) at One Canvas Events Place in Makati City, proving the people’s power in helping reduce, if not eliminate, the stigma on and spread of HIV-AIDS in the Philippines.
Tacking in at the annual Cherry Poppin’ –an annual fundraising through a man-date auction, LoveYourself unveiled its newest HIV campaign dubbed as TestMNL, just visit its website: testmnl.org for activities and other information.
“LoveYourself is reinforcing the HIV advocacy with TestMNL which is an adaptation of the TestBKK conducted in Bangkok, Thailand,” LoveYourself Executive Director Ronivin Pagtakhan informed.
Pagtakhan added “With TestMNL, we are aiding the information gap through this intervention among the vulnerable populations like the youth and the males-who-have-sex-with males or what we call MSMs.”
Cherry Poppin’ Auctionee BJ Pascual
Cherry Poppin’ Auctionee Jeremy Favia
TestMNL x Cherry Poppin’ Performer Lady Gagita
TestMNL x Cherry Poppin’ Performer Venus of O-Bar
HIV Testing Ambassadors
Primarily advocating for quality education being an educator himself, Alacre said his main purpose in supporting the HIV advocacy is to utilize his social media influence to impart necessary information to the people in becoming more responsible especially when engaging in sexual activities.
“There is a big difference on how people in the U.S. manage the HIV-AIDS issue compared in the Philippines, as they have very easy access to treatment and tests. We want something similar to happen in the Philippines, especially on testing because that’s the most important part,” relayed Alacre, who was an OFW in California for five years.
Other ambassadors of TestMNL are Mr. Gay World Philippines (MGWP) 2016 winners John Raspado (title), Bench Ortiz (1st runner-up) and Khalil Vera Cruz (2nd runner up).
TestMNL is a campaign funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation through the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (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.
TestMNL Ambassador Bench Ortiz
TestMNL Ambassador Jerome Alacre
TestMNL Ambassador Khalil Vera Cruz
Cherry Picking for HIV Advocacy
Pascual and Favia topped the bidding board with PhP60,000.00 and PhP45,000.00. All proceeds from the donation entrance to the winning bids will help fund Loveyourself’s HIV awareness campaign and testing operations, including the opening of two new community centers in Metro Manila.
Also indulging the people power’s night are a fashion show donning the creations of Don Cristobal and Jaggy Glarino styled by Syper Abel, a raving house music from DJ Mike Lavet, and heart-stopping performances from Venus of O-Bar and internet sensation Lady Gagita.
TestMNL X Cherry Poppin' is co-presented by Bliss, Vasst Exchange Int'l Inc. (Stella Rosa), and Victoria Court; in cooperation with MAC Cosmetics, Jack Daniels and Sip & Gogh; and Supported by Aramesh Spa & Wellness, Art & Style Events Management and Production Design, Ground Zero, LeMiel Cafe, Nectar Philippines, Sparta Philippines, Tambayan and Regency Grand Suites, and The Menu Group (Splice, Sobremesa, SASA and Sangkap).
LoveYourself is a non-government organization providing free and confidential HIV testing, counseling, education, and recently treatment. It currently has two clinics: LoveYourself Anglo in Shaw near Starmall and LoveYourself Uni in Taft-Gil Puyat near the LRT station. These clinics are open on Wednesdays-Saturdays (12:00 nn-7:00 p.m.) and Sundays (9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.).
For more details on LoveYourself’s services and projects, 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.
Cover Photo caption:
THE AMBASSORS: LoveYourself Executive Director Ronivin Pagtakhan (2nd from R) and APCOM Senior Advocacy and Programme Officer Inad Rendon (center) officially launched MGWP2016 1st runner-up Bench Ortiz (1st from L), MGWP2016 2nd runner-up Khalil Vera Cruz and reality TV show star Jerome Alacre (3rd from R) as TestMNL ambassadors. Also in the picture are LoveYourself volunteers (L-R) Iosif Cade, Lord-Art Lomarda and Francis Dacanay.