Wednesday, February 21, 2018

FIT TO LOVE: Love Your Body, Live Your Life set on March 2018


Break the mold and open your heart, as LoveYourself launches FIT TO LOVE: Love Your Body, Live Your Life, a photoshoot for a cause campaign that aims to uphold your sexual, mental, and physical health.  By signing up on go.loveyourself.ph/fittolove, get ready to show how you are FIT TO LOVE this March 17 & 18, 2018 at The Upper Deck Sports Center, 6/F, Ortigas Technopoint Building, 1 Doña Julia Vargas Ave, Pasig, Metro Manila. 

Photo taken by Mark Alvarez
Editing done by Franco Moje

What is FIT TO LOVE?

FIT TO LOVE is a photoshoot campaign calling every person no matter what size, shape, or serostatus to show the world how they uphold their sexual, mental, and physical health. In the project's early conception, LoveYourself wanted to share the idea of self-worth as reflected by one's healthy choices. From fitness routines and timely testing for HIV to supportive relationships and unconditional positive self-regard, one can express in a variety of ways how they are fit to love others and themselves.

What do I get by signing up?

By joining FIT TO LOVE, you’ll be guaranteed of an official LoveYourself black dry-fit round necked shirt that you’ll wear during the photoshoot. This top is also perfect for your early morning jogs or late night lifts. You’ll also experience a bit of pampering before the shoot as your hair will be styled and your face will be dusted with light makeup to enhance your innate beauty, looking your best for the with our amazing advocacy photographer, Mark Alvarez.

After your shoot, your choice is what matters most. You’ll get to pick the photo that best suits that is further embellished with FIT TO LOVE captions. You'll receive a digital copy of your portrait in your email. All these for only a donation of PhP1,000.00. Above all, you get to support LoveYourself’s daily operations, programs, and projects by just offering your genuine self love.

What are you waiting for? Log on now go.loveyourself.ph/fittolove to sign up and upon registration, you’ll receive an email confirmation within 24 hours. We’ll also check up on you a week before the event as your ready yourself to FIT TO LOVE! Final reminders would be given a day before the shoot.

FIT TO LOVE is co-presented by The Upper Deck and CASxFACEONE. Our official apparel partner, Blued. Special thanks to Chubs Chasers, Ernest Gatpandan, and InRush Event Management.

See you there!

Monday, February 19, 2018

LoveYourself gets the thumbs up as a DOH-designated Primary HIV Care Facility

By Mark Angello C. Ganon

On January 18, 2018, LoveYourself joins the ranks of 21 DOH-designated Primary HIV Care Facilities with the release of the Department of Health (DOH) Memorandum No. 2018-0031. With the assistance of 59 Treatment Hubs and 22 Primary HIV Care Facilities, DOH aims to venture into a larger and decentralized provision of HIV care and support services throughout the country.


The DOH Administrative Order No. 2017-0019, also known as the Policies and Guidelines in the Conduct of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Testing Services (HTST) in Health Facilities, outlines an HIV Treatment Hub as a hospital with an organized HIV and AIDS Core Team (HACT) catering to both in-patient and out-patient HIV care whereas a Primary HIV Care Facility is a private or public health facility catering to out-patient clients.

In essence, Primary Care Facilities and HIV Treatment Hubs both foster prevention, treatment, care, and support services to Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV). Care and support services include, but are not limited to, antiretroviral therapy, HIV testing services, clinical management, patient monitoring, and other care and support services.

Executive Director and co-founder Ronivin G. Pagtakhan said, "The accreditation is the first step toward our goal to be a self-sustaining institution. As envisioned from the onset of the organization's operations, LoveYourself targets to provide not only biomedical interventions, but a holistic approach in promoting self-worth to clients." According to Pagtakhan, "The goal is to empower our stakeholders so that they may create their own ripples of positive change in their respective communities."

With this accreditation, LoveYourself positions itself as the first DOH-designated facility that is community-led and volunteer-driven. With a mounting reputation from its establishment in 2012, LoveYourself remains grounded with a drive to provide its clients a home, where once visited, one can only leave with a happy heart, or at least, a hopeful one.

For reference, these are the DOH-designated HIV Treatment Hubs and Primary HIV Care Facilities per region:

Sunday, January 28, 2018

How do I make Timely Testing Work for the New Year?

By Karl Faustino


And just like that, January 2018 is about to say its farewell. Usually people view this month with hope and start planning how they will make this year better than the previous years. Some would ponder on their goals and resolutions. If you’re the type of person who hasn’t made up their mind up to now, health is usually a good starting point.There have been a lot of people who try their best to become healthier, especially after partying and feasting during the holidays. However, not everyone has made their sexual health part of their new year’s resolutions or simply adhere to getting tested after the window period.
With the number of HIV cases continuing to rise in the country, why not take care of yourself by making make timely testing as part of your new year’s resolutions? There are lots of options as to how you can get yourself tested, each with its advantages. Here are a few of them:
1.  Private Hospitals andClinics
Prior to LoveYourself’s establishment, hospitals and specialty clinics have been a common mode of getting yourself tested. One advantage of this option is that you have access to other specialists such as venereologist, gynecologist, urologist, or infectious disease doctors who are usually not available in other testing sites for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) needs. Going through these private medical facilities will provide you the same accurate and confidential results as the other options listed below but it comes at a cost, just like most of their services. So if you have some cash to spare every quarter, or live in an area near a private hospital, or just prefer getting tested in more established medical institutions, you can go to your preferred hospital or clinic and have yourself tested.

2.  Social Hygiene Clinics
These clinics specialize in medical check-ups, treatment and counselling services for STIs and HIV. Unlike hospitals, these are smaller in size and so they attend to a lesser number of patients. If you prefer getting tested without the presence of several people in the same medical facility and can’t afford to pay, social hygiene clinics would be for you. Click here for a full list of healthcare facilities in the Philippines.


LoveYourself, as an organization, promotes safe and satisfying sex, which includes correct and consistent condom usage, and timely and regular HIV tests and treatment. Over the past few years, they have been providing various services in partnership with the Department of Health and its partners to cater to people with different needs


3.   Getting tested on LoveYourself HIV Testing’s Hubs
Since its launch in July 2011, LoveYourself now has 3 HIV testing hubs; a) LoveYourself Anglo located in Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong, b) LoveYourself Uni situated near LRT-Buendia station in Taft Avenue, Pasay, and c) LoveYourself Victoria, the newest clinic which also caters to transgender health located in Libertad, also in Pasay. These clinics are run by LoveYourself volunteers and friendly staff members, and are operated in partnership with the Department of Health and The Research Institute of Tropical Medicine. These clinics offer free HIV testing and counselling services to encourage people from all walks of life to get tested and know their HIV status. A good thing about the experience is that the volunteers are well trained, welcoming, and you can immediately receive your HIV results on the same day! So if you’re after a free and quick HIV test experience, you can definitely visit any of these three LoveYourself clinics.

4.   LoveYourself Platinum
Launched in 2013, Platinum is a hyper-discreet service offered by LoveYourself once or twice a month and it takes place in a very confidential area in the metro. Getting tested here is via appointment only, and the volunteers who run this service ensure that no two clients have the same schedule, making this option one of the most confidential. As it is a more premium service, the clients are usually encouraged to donate an amount to pay for venue rental. For most of its regular clients, it is the discrete nature of Platinum that is most appealing for their timely testing choice. For people who would like to get themselves tested in a very private and confidential setting and are comfortable to pay for it, LoveYourself Platinum is definitely the way to go. Schedules and details on when Platinum happens are usually posted on LoveYourself’s Facebook page.

5. LoveYourself’s Community Based Screening events

LoveYourself organizes a mass testing event in the metro to expand its services to those who are unable to go to their clinics. Venues are commonly provided by LoveYourself’s partners which makes this service also free for everyone. Similar to getting tested in LoveYourself’s hubs, the results can also be obtained on the same day which makes the experience more convenient for its clients. Details on when and where these mass testing events occur can also be found on LoveYourself’s Facebook page, so make sure to subscribe and be notified. If you wish to know more about this service, you can read it here, or you can read a couple of articles from some of the past Community Based Screening events below:

6.       LoveYourself Caravan
As LoveYourself is committed in reaching out to more people to encourage them to know their HIV status, this service allows the organization to bring its services in the comfort of your own corporate or academic establishment. Launched in 2014, Caravan has gone to various schools, colleges, universities, BPOs and several other offices providing free HIV testing and counselling services. This service is perfect for people who can’t squeeze in a time to get tested due to the nature of their work, or for students who want to know their status. You can get in touch with any of the Caravan’s group at caravan@loveyourself.ph if you wish to have your office or school organization avail of this service.


Getting tested for HIV and other STIs has become easier with the diverse options available catering to different people who want to get tested. From the traditional to the innovative, from costly to free, from public to hyper-discreet, there is a type of HIV testing service and facility available to suit your needs.


What type of testing would you go for? Whatever it may be timely testing for HIV can become a sustainable New Year’s resolution for 2018.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Safe Spaces PH Distributing Free Condoms and Lubes, Launched

By Geldof Resuello and Tino Largado


In a country where social stigma is still heavily attached to condom access and use, how does one protect one’s self? LoveYourself, in partnership with Save the Children formally introduced Safe Spaces PH on December 22 at Greenbelt 3’s My Cinema in Makati City through an adult education dialogue which tackled the idea of a sustainable condom distribution supply chain that is augmented by technology.


adultED: DIALOGUES IN SAFE SPACES


LoveYourself volunteers greeting the attendants with huge smiles. Photo by Chris Lagman.
Dubbed as “adultED: dialogues in Safe Spaces PH”, the Safe Spaces launch was a series of forums which fosters dialogue about sexual health and wellness. Guest speakers include Dr. Miel Mora from Save the Children and Global Fund for HIV Prevention, Noel Palaypayon from Department of Health Epidemiology Bureau, student leader and advocate JB Deang, young professional and advocate Jabar Esmael and Project and Data Manager for PrEP Pilipinas Danvic Rosadiño from LoveYourself.


(L-R) adultED speakers Danvic Rosadiño, Jabar Esmael, JB Deang, Dr. Miel Mora and Noel Palaypayon. Photo by Yanyan Araña II
Safe Spaces PH aims to solve the problem of low number of condom use. Currently, 7 out of 10 of the youth are ashamed to buy condoms, making them vulnerable to HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). To date, the Philippines has the highest rate of increase of newly-diagnosed people living with HIV across the Asia and the Pacific region.


Mr. Noel Palaypayon talking about the early start of risky behaviors among the youth.. Photo by Chris Lagman.
Danvic Rosadiño reiterating the organization’s advocacy of empowering the community by affirming energy and self-worth. Photo by Chris Lagman.
The forum discussed the alarming HIV epidemic in the country and highlighted the various methods in addressing this.


"We believe that if you follow the triangle of self-care, you are proactively managing your sexual health. In turn you are proactively loving yourself,” said John Danvic Rosadiño.


As part of taking care of one’s self, they stressed out the importance of correct and consistent use of condoms and the role one’s family play in his/her choices. In retrospect, the issue of condom availability to everyone has also been brought into discussion.


"For consistent condom use to increase, condoms need to be accessible and available,” Dr. Noel Palaypayon pointed out.


"I always believe that the concept or the discussion on the use of condom, sexual orientation, choices must also start with our own family. We also need to empower the families,” JB Deang added.


INNOVATIVE DISTRIBUTION MODEL


Safe Spaces PH designates areas where people can get access to free condoms with water-based lubricants without embarrassment and judgment. This is made possible by partnering with non-discriminatory and sex-positive establishments that serve as safe spaces or “Depots” where the dispenser for condoms are installed.


Sample condom dispenser which can be found at
LoveYourself Anglo clinic. Photo by Geldof Resuello.

Safe Spaces can be anywhere: bars, coffee shops, restaurants, which can be determined by looking for the Safe Spaces logo at the entrance. Thus, giving a holistic solution to the barriers on active utilization of free condoms by the people.


LoveYourself Executive Director Ronivin G. Pagtakhan pointed out that accessibility of condoms with water-based lubricant remains a huge challenge.


“The government offers condoms for free not just as contraceptive, but more importantly as a protection against contracting HIV and STIs. We just have to mobilize its distribution to ensure that we really target and reach the right market or people,” Pagtakhan emphasized.


He added, “A sizable number of condoms procured by the government are largely unknown and untapped by the public, hence sometimes these were put to waste unused.”


In addressing this problem, Dr.Miel Mora stressed, "If we make these safe spaces available (and) accessible, it will be familiar, and everyone will be talking about it, and who knows? We'll curb the epidemic through condoms.”


SINGLE MOBILE APPLICATION PLATFORM FOR ALL


Screenshot of the Safe Spaces PH app
Safe Spaces PH also entails a heavy digital campaign for smart selling of the Depots and the program at large. Safe Spaces PH comes with a mobile application to provide a quick and convenient service, especially for the key-affected population such as the youth and men-having-sex-with-men. In the application, one may locate the closest Depots and details of the establishments. One may also report how much supply is left so that the condiment station can be restocked.

 

The Safe Space app is available on Google Play store and App Store for download. For more information, one may also visit the Safe Spaces PH website.


HELP THE CAUSE AND BECOME A SAFE SPACE




Love Yourself believes that more than access to free condoms and water-based lubes, Safe Spaces PH also provides the experience of being safe and secure. While the initiative continually seeks for new establishments that can serve as depots, the collaboration does not end there.


"As we scale up, we definitely would like to look into places that are public and more accessible also to different social strata,” said Chris Lagman.


Safe Spaces PH also envisions to partner with individuals to help in making condoms accessible to everyone.  

Safe Space
Because everybody needs one.


To become part of the movement and become a Safe Space, you may email info@safespaces.ph

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Celebrating 2017 at Behind the Mask: The LoveYourself Ball



LoveYourself had a successful 2017. Through its fundraising events, community-based screening events, implementation of a youth-centered campaign, launch of the first transgender health clinic in the Philippines, organizing Asia’s premier charity and awards gala to the creation of a mobile application for condom utilization, LoveYourself continues to grow and spread the message of love. On December 16, 2017, volunteers gathered to celebrate the year that has been through merriment and recognition.

Vinn Pagtakhan giving his speech Photo by Mike John Diaz

Behind the Mask: The 2017 LoveYourself Ball started off with an inspiring speech by Ronivin Pagtakhan about the organization’s achievements in 2017, encapsulating the year with a video. Pagtakhan further explained the upcoming goals and objectives for 2018, which included a new organizational scheme aimed to achieving LoveYourself’s strategic objectives. An elegant cotillon followed the heartwarming speech. Composed of the many beauties of LoveYourself, the cotillon definitely set the ball rolling alongside the spiritful singing of Allen Ramos.


Lady Gagita Performing Photo by Aaron Dacanay


Lady Gagita rocked the stage with a masterful lip sync performance to Lady Gaga’s Coachella renditions of Bad Romance and The Cure that kicked off the first Lip Sync Competition in LoveYourself. Joining Gagita in judging the competition were Rey Daniel Espinueva, a member of the House of Mizrahi Philippines, and Prince MJ Casaverde, the operations manager for DSTNQT.  Amongst the crowd were reunited batches of volunteers who cheered on to the much hyped lip sync performances of their fellow volunteers.


Volunteer Awardees Photo by Aaron Dacanay


Outstanding volunteers were also given praise for their hard work and dedication throughout 2017. Along with the recognition of being the passionate volunteers that they are, gift packs from the generous sponsors were also given.
Most Outstanding Communications Volunteer
Editorial Communications - Diego Rozul
Visual Communications - Jego Calderone
Social Media and Strategy - Alin Nelson Cheng
Community Management Team - Mark De Castro
Strategic Communications - Raybert Domingo


Kuya Law Comms Leadership Awardees
Geno Maglinao
Eric Torres
Jean Natividad
Raybert Domingo


Most Outstanding Events Volunteer
Robin Marero


Outstanding Logistics Volunteer
Leo Icaro Olefane


Outstanding Sponsorships and Partnerships Volunteer
Noel Bon Evasco


Most Outstanding iTLY Volunteer
Innovations - John Oliver Cociega
Technology - Mike Toyoda


Rookie Volunteer Award
Mark Nino Bejosano


Most Outstanding LoveU Volunteer
Jay Soliman


Special Awards
Bien Salaza
John Cedric Santiago
Marvin Frondoza
Robert Pinauin
Jem Titan


Most Outstanding HIV Operations Volunteer
Genesis Aspiras
Special Award
Marvin Natural
Top Counselors
Mark Ramos
Mel Olesco
Rommel Mendoza
Eric Sendon
Abel Cabio
Top Life Coaches
Jem Titan
Mark Ramos
Leo Pura
Top PrEPPY Peers
JD Miguel Dela Cruz
Marvin Natural
Abe Isaiah Gagui


Most Outstanding LoveYourself Volunteers
Genesis Aspiras
Mike Toyoda
Raybert Domingo

Behind the Mask: The 2017 LoveYourself Ball was presented by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and the Department of Health. Co-presented by Greenyard, Vest Alternative by Ax Lantican, and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CBTL Holdings, Inc). Brought to you by DSTNQT, Aramesh, Noel & Wilson Fragrance Collection, and DJ Sam Arts & Prints. Special thanks to Wells Fargo, Victoria Court, Creamsilk, Goya, Skin White Solutions, Migo Skin Enterprise, Hoja De Laurel, 3NKairos Trading, HM Printing, Andrew Jardenil Professional Hair and Make Up Artist, Dawn Bolus Mawis of BAGA Manila, Batch Duque, Jay Soliman, and BSA Twin Towers.