In this day and age of easily accessible information, it’s a pity that some people still have extremely skewed notions and beliefs about HIV and AIDS. It’s an even bigger pity that we live in a third world country that has little to no support when it comes to sexual education, resulting in a 50% increase in HIV cases over a single year. What’s even more alarming is that most cases occur within the 25-29 year old age bracket—to adults who are able to purchase protection, and should, ideally, be educated enough to protect themselves in the first place.
In the spirit of the National HIV Testing Week, here are 8 organizations that are working to educate the Filipino, in the hopes that awareness will reduce the number of casualties:
Founded and led by Ronivin Pagtakhan, TLY is grounded in its belief that self worth is the key to building an empowered community. Apart from providing discreet testing services, they also offer education and counselling that caters to the youth and MSM (men having sex with men) community. They also organize activities to spread awareness.
ASP is composed of people from the government, non-government agencies, and the private sector who share the same goal in preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS. They have managed over 60 projects with international support, aiding in advising the Philippine National AIDS Council on national policies.
Aiming to empower and inspire communities to band together against HIV and AIDS, TRW utilizes media and popular culture as a way to change the way people look at this disease. Their goal is to spread awareness – acknowledging that HIV and AIDS exist and that it needs to be acted upon. Through their spokespersons and partnered brands, they raise funds to provide free testing, counseling, and financial support to People Living with HIV (PLHIV).
You can also find a list of their testing clinics here.
B-Change founder Laurindo Garcia is the first Asian gay man living with HIV to address an international forum – a stage he shared with the likes of former US President Bill Clinton and Nobel prize winner Dr. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, among other public health and human rights champions. The organization, founded in 2011, aims to integrate technology and social change through web applications and social media, connecting the youth to allies and other peers.
ACHIEVE’s programs focus on migration, health, gender, sexuality, and reproductive health. Led by Ms. Mara Quesada-Bondad as Executive Director, ACHIEVE is also a member of the Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility in Asia (CARAM-Asia), a regional network of organizations working on health, migration, human rights, and HIV and AIDS issues in the Asian region.
PAFPI is geared towards assisting patients and affected family members through counselling and psychological support services, providing education and care for AIDS symptoms at home. They run a regular soup kitchen at the HIV ward of San Lazaro Hospital, and have established a drop-in center called Bahay Kanlungan, which provides temporary shelter to people living with HIV (PLHIV).
Contact: PAFPI gmail
Bahay Kanlungan is located at 15 Dian St., Malate, Manila. You may contact them at (02) 528 4531.
Composed of people living with HIV and AIDS, PPA+ is the only association of its kind in the Philippines. They represent the PLHIV community in the Philippines, and offers counselling, referral, and care and support programs. They also offer skill-building for its members and other interested individuals. The association also holds position as a member at the Philippine National AIDS Council.
Contact: Pinoy Plus
PPA+ is located at 1805 P. Guevarra St., Sta. Cruz, Manila. You may reach them at (02) 743 7293.
The TTT was the first on-site voluntary counseling and testing project. They promoted knowing one’s status as a form of sexual empowerment. They hold annual on-site HIV testing every Holy Week in Puerto Galera, advocating responsible sexual health and HIV/AIDS education. They have also partnered with government agencies and the academic community, establishing themselves as a credible organization in bringing education and testing closer to all communities.