Monday, October 14, 2019

Gazini Ganados Champions HIV Advocacy in Cebu

By LoveYourself Cebu Communications

TALISAY CITY, CEBU - Miss Universe-Philippines 2019 Gazini Ganados, together with LoveYourself Inc. and the City Government of Talisay, champions the HIV advocacy in Cebu in an outreach program held on Saturday - October 12 at the People’s Hall of the city.

During the event, Ganados was unveiled as the newest ambassador of LoveYourself, adding the cause to her initial “elderly care” advocacy. She also headlines the HIV awareness and prevention forum, together with the free HIV screening for the day. The outreach was also in cooperation with Youth for Better Talisay, and Talisay City LGBT Bangaw Federation.

Vice Mayor Alan G. Bucao lauded the initiative. “I am so happy that LoveYourself has given their trust in us, the City of Talisay and Talisay City LGBT Bangaw, in extending their advocacy on HIV awareness and prevention. I am looking forward to a more fruitful partnership with LoveYourself and Bangaw in this worthy cause.”

Ganados now serves as the newest face of LoveYourself in Cebu for various HIV awareness campaigns and programs. She is a welcome addition to the string of international beauty queens supporting LoveYourself’s advocacy, including Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray.

The latest data from the Department of Health -Epidemiology Bureau (DOH-EB) shows that the Philippines now poses 35 cases of HIV a day. Central Visayas is ranked 4th highest in the number of HIV cases since the epidemic broke in the 1980s.

“We are seeing infection cases increase, but the bright side to this is that we can bridge them to proper treatment as soon as possible. We always inform our clients that there’s life after the diagnosis. People living with HIV can still enjoy and live their lives to the fullest,” LoveYourself Cebu Head Jan Estrada stressed.

Capping her day, the Cebuana beauty queen visited the LoveYourself White House, a community center located along Don Julio Llorente Street near the Fuente Circle in Cebu City. The center offers a safe co-working space, where one can have a free and confidential HIV screening and treatment, enjoy a cup of coffee, play board games and study, among others. It is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

LoveYourself Inc. is a community-based organization that offers a free and holistic care approach to HIV. Aside from the White House, it has six operating community centers in the Greater Manila Area, namely Anglo in Mandaluyong, Uni and Victoria in Pasay, Welcome in the City of Manila, Lily in Parañaque, and Hero in Bacoor City in Cavite.

Saturday, October 12, 2019


LoveYourself commits itself to normalize the conversation surrounding sex, HIV testing, and living with HIV. Through its many campaigns, it has empowered thousands of people to take charge of their sexual health and rethink how they view sex. One brand in 2019 is following suit in destigmatizing sex in the Philippines.

Lauvette may be the newest love toy shop in the market, but with its active and game-changing branding, it is now the fastest-growing and the leading Philippine love toy shop on social media. On September 6, 2019, Lauvette released the first-ever love toy commercial in the country. Now being aired in Metro Manila Grab Cars and taxis via Transitflix and also in all LoveYourself community centers.
When asked why they decided to produce the commercial, Renz Rollorata, co-founder of Lauvette said, “It's about time to extend our marketing efforts into producing our very first commercial. This is our bold step in showing that we are in a mission of eliminating the stigma surrounding the sex toy industry. Love toys should not be hidden and shamed, they can be freely showcased in a normal yet enjoyable manner, just like any other consumer goods." 
Lauvette is doing its share in contributing to expanding the sexual maturity of the Filipino people. With commercials like this, we don't only give attention to sexual health, but we also emphasize the importance of self-love and self-care.

Manuel Schuster, co-founder of Lauvete, expressed his excitement for what’s in store in the future. “Launching the first-ever love toy commercial in the Philippines is a great milestone for Lauvette. We launched our online shop just four months ago and I am so amazed at the progress our team is making. I am just very excited for what's ahead," Schuster said. 
It’s interesting to follow how this brand will continue to grow in the coming years and how it will shape Filipinos’ attitude towards sex. But hopefully, with the existence of self-aware and socially involved love toy shop like Lauvette leading the way, normalizing sex in the country may not be too far off.

Watch the video of Lauvette's commercial here:

Visit today to get your first love toy while supporting the HIV advocacy!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Anytime Fitness Cebu Inks Partnership with SafeSpacesPH

By LoveYourself Cebu Communications

You can now get free condoms and water-based lubricants from all Anytime Fitness Cebu branches starting October this year. This is after they signed a partnership with SafeSpacesPH.

The Memorandum of Agreement was signed by Anytime Fitness Cebu’s Area Managers Lloyd Comeling and Sheila Subang.

Under the agreement, SafeSpacesPH will set up “condoment stations” in all their branches in Metro Cebu. These stations offer free condoms and water-based lubricants. Anyone can access these condoment stations from the four Anytime Fitness branches— Cebu IT Park, Cebu Business Park, Escario, and Oakridge in Mandaue.

The "neighborhood 24-hour gym" is already a partner in Metro Manila. Now, they are SafeSpacesPH’s first partner in the Visayas.

"Condom use remains to be the most effective way to prevent the transmission of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI). We can stop spreading the virus by making it more accessible for everyone without judgment when they buy it from stores. We need more establishments like Anytime Fitness, and we are working to add more to the list," Robin Avorque, the Program Officer for SafeSpacesPH, stressed.

SafeSpacesPH is a program by LoveYourself Inc in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH). It is designed to provide young professionals access to free condoms and lubes through partnering with establishments who promote safe sex.

You can download the SafeSpacesPH app from Google Playstore or App Store for free to get a list of SafeSpaces Partner establishments near you.

Business establishments wanting to partner with SafeSpacesPH may contact Robin Avorque at

Thursday, October 10, 2019

LoveYourself and Lauvette Team Up for Safe and Satisfying Sex

Now who says you can’t have both safe and satisfying sex? LoveYourself has long been advocating for people to follow a Triangle of Self-Care to prevent HIV transmission. From timely testing and treatment and correct and consistent use of condoms and lubes,  one of its key components is safe and satisfying sex.
With the emergence of love toy shops in the local market, Filipinos now have a chance to explore their sexuality and satisfy their curiosity. One particular brand is making quite a buzz in the last few months because of its unique approach to normalizing sex as a topic.

Opening its online store in May 2019, Lauvette is a love toy shop that's revolutionizing the sex toy industry in the Philippines by marketing their goods as classy, fun, and safe that Filipinos can use without shame. 

It separates itself from other love toy shops in the market by creating a light, welcoming, and playful website that a beginner or a pro can visit. Their collection of love toys cater to all types of budgets, sexes[, and relationship status. They give special attention to those who are in long distance relationships (LDR) with their smart love toys from premium US brands so you can feel your partner’s touch even from far away.

All deliveries are sent discreetly. One can easily fall in love with their millennial pink box with coupons, love letters, and confetti inside. They even have a convenient Cash on Delivery option!

But what really cuts Lauvette above the rest is that it is a love toy shop that they are advocacy-driven. First, Lauvette publishes articles daily on their blog called LauvBlog that serves to educate people about topics on sex, love, life, and relationships. With this, Lauvette creates a safe and empowered community that looks at sex toys as an integral part in understanding and embracing sexual health and sex positivity. In an effort to give back to the community, they have an active partnership with LoveYourself where every purchase in Lauvette contributes to LoveYourself’s HIV awareness programs and projects.
What are you waiting for? Visit today to get your first love toy while supporting the HIV advocacy!

Friday, October 04, 2019

Effective HIV Prevention Pill Now Available at LoveYourself

By LoveYourself Communications

Everyone needs that sense of security in sexual health, whoever your sexual partner is. Reducing your vulnerability to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), especially with HIV, has always been a responsibility to yourself. You can better protect yourself against HIV with the new prevention method called the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).

We have seen the rise of HIV cases at an exponential rate over the years. These cases usually come with images of fear and death narratives. But now, we can all be witness to a new era, wherein we can enjoy our lives to the fullest. More than that, we are able to show off our love for ourselves - a necessity to be cherished, and with new advancements available, such worries could be addressed more proactively. The time is ripe for us to change and shape our own narratives.

PrEP being given to a client in LoveYourself Anglo
Pre-Exposure What Now?

Now you are asking yourself, what is PrEP? From its etymology: “Pre” or prior to; Exposure or being in contact with something e.g., HIV; and Prophylaxis or an action initiated to prevent an infection. This means that PrEP is an action taken prior to being in contact with HIV to prevent an infection.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), PrEP can help your body prevent HIV infection by more than 90% if taken daily. By taking it, you have another layer of protection to have a safe and satisfying sex, and feel more empowered against HIV.

PrEP is highly encouraged alongside correct and consistent use of condoms and lubricants, since it only protects yourself from HIV, and not other sexually transmitted infections. To set it straight, this preventive measure is also not a cure for HIV nor  obstructs pregnancy.

PrEP is Effective!

In 2017, LoveYourself was tasked to roll-out a PrEP demonstration project called PrEP Pilipinas (PrEPPY). This project ran for two years, involving 250 men-having-sex with-men (MSM) participants, who were enrolled, and asked for their experiences and thoughts in taking the medication. This study has collected several insights that helped kick-off the implementation of this HIV prevention program in the country.

Danvic Rosadiño talking about PrEPPY study findings on Spectrum: The LoveYourself Perspective
The study insights include:
  • No PrEP-related side effects, showing that PrEP is a safe and effective.
  • No significant increase in STIs during the demonstration project.
  • No seroconversions or no one from the project participants got HIV during the course of the study.

The only PrEP formulation approved by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a combination of two medicines: emtricitabine or FTC tenofovir disoproxil fumarate or TDF. This formulation simply prevents HIV to replicate in the body.

The Need for PrEP

Since only this year that PrEP has been approved by the FDA, some individuals have to fly all the way to Bangkok, Thailand just to purchase their prescriptions. Cognizant of the situation, LoveYourself dared to expand this exciting project throughout the country for an additional option for Filipinos to prevent HIV. This is part and parcel of the organization’s continuing commitment to take care of its community by offering health technologies that are proven to be effective.

More than that, the HIV and AIDS Registry of the Philippines (HARP) reported 1,006 new cases of HIV infection in June 2019 alone. Majority or fifty-nine percent (589) of which were reported to be due to  male to male sex, and 26% (260) through sex with both males and females. This is not only true for the Philippines, because similar trends are happening in China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan.

In meeting on HIV self-testing and PrEP in Asia late last year, UNAIDS Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Eamonn Murphy called for new ways of doing business in order to prevent HIV on MSM, and PrEP is a viable option to address the unmet needs and provide more options for key affected populations to HIV.

Murphy said, “We need to scale up PrEP as an additional effective HIV prevention intervention.”

Danvic Rosadiño talking about PrEP availability on Spectrum: The LoveYourself Perspective
In LoveYourself, the PrEPPY services were initially offered in our community center in Mandaluyong City - the LoveYourself Anglo. PrEPPY services is now available to more community centers, namely: Victoria by LoveYourself in Pasay City, and LoveYourself White House in Cebu City. Very soon, it will be offered in LoveYourself Welcome in Manila, Lily by LoveYourself in Parañaque City, and Hero by LoveYourself in Bacoor, Cavite.

Basic PrEPPY services can also be availed in all Hi-Precision Diagnostics around the country, and MediPrime clinic in Cainta, Rizal. To avail of the PrEPPY service, just visit With Jayson Celeste

Friday, September 20, 2019

LoveYourself Launches Services Beyond HIV

By LoveYourself Communications

LoveYourself Senior Director Chris Lagman introducing Flourish Circle
LoveYourself, Inc., the leading HIV advocacy group in the country, launches three innovative and timely programs on a new HIV prevention method, transgender health, and mental wellness initiatives.

The advocacy group unveiled these services to further care for oneself during Spectrum: The LoveYourself Perspective event on September 11, 2019 at My Cinema in Greenbelt 3, Makati City.

LoveYourself takes bold step to provide Pre-ExposureProphylaxis (PrEP), a daily pill that helps your body prevent HIV infection by more than 90%. PrEP complements the use of condoms and lubricants to boost one's protection against HIV.

LoveYourself Head of PrEP and Research Danvic Rosadiño introducing  PrEPPY
The implementation of PrEP Pilipinas (PrEPPY) enables Filipinos to access this prevention method around the country through its community centers and Hi-Precision Diagnostics centers. For more information and enrollment to the PrEPPY program, visit

PrEPPY is timely and relevant as the current data from the Department of Health showed 36 Filipinos every day are diagnosed with HIV.

One of the key affected populations affected by HIV are transgender people. Victoria by LoveYourself is the first community-based center that offers trans health services, including hormone replacement therapy consultations, sexually transmitted infections consultation and treatment, and HIV testing and treatment.

Victoria by LoveYourself Center Coordinator Yanyan Araña introducing their services
The center addresses critical issues of transgender persons in the country, which include professional help on gender transition initiation, empowerment for transgender people against stigma and discrimination, and a safe space for transgender people for their sexual health needs.

The center is located at the Torres Building in Libertad, Pasay City. It operates from Saturday to Wednesday from 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m.

Lastly, LoveYourself brings the discussion of mental wellness awareness through its latest and most daring program, the Flourish Circle.

Flourish Circle Ambassador Alaiza Malinao sharing her testimonial on mental wellness.
Flourish Circle is a community-driven initiative that utilizes peer support to facilitate resilience and wellness to those experiencing thoughts and feelings related to depression, anxiety and suicide. To inquire about this program, go to

LoveYourself also introduces top model and beauty queen, Alaiza Malinao as its Flourish Circle ambassador. Malinao stresses the importance to break the stigma and provide non-judgmental discussions on the issue.

LoveYourself, a Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations of the Philippines, is a volunteer driven community-based organization that aims to affirm oneself worth as a way to multiplying joy in the community.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Get to know Mga Batang Poz

By Ross Manicad

The miniseries about four young men living with HIV is now streaming on iWant. Warning: this article contains spoilers

The media regularly shares data about HIV incidence in the country. However, they seldom share the faces and stories behind the numbers. This is exactly why Mga Batang Poz, a digital advocacy series on iWant, is a welcome narrative in mainstream media that offers fresh yet relatable storylines among the youth. The show is directed by Chris Martinez adapted from a young adult novel written by Segundo Matias Jr. 

Mga Batang Poz centers around four guys who met after chatting in an online group. Three of them - Gab (Mark Neumann), Enzo (Paolo Gumabao), and Luis (Fino Herrera) are discreet gays while Chuchay (Awra Briguela) is the proudly effeminate character. Within hours, they started exchanging stories and their struggles while on a two-day road trip up north. Despite their differences, they share a common truth: they are People Living with HIV (PLHIV).

Why is Mga Batang Poz relevant now? We need not look beyond the show’s title itself. “Mga” (many) as the Department of Health reported in May that 36 new HIV infections are recorded daily. “Batang” (youth) since most of these cases belong to 15 to 24 age bracket and are mostly men who have sex with men (MSM). Finally, “Poz” (a catchy term for “positive”) to imply the risk involved with sexual contact which remains as the predominant mode of HIV transmission.

It’s also noteworthy that this groundbreaking series casts a new lens on a wave of young PLHIVs who maintain a good social life. Their resilience in rising above prejudice and emotional trauma is inspiring for people of their same age and situation.

The creators of Mga Batang Poz. From left: author Segundo Matias Jr., Paolo Gumabao, Mark Neumann, Awra Briguela, Fino Herrera, and director Chris Martinez
Establishing the show’s relevance are the protagonists:

  • Luis, the promising son of a traditional Chinese family, born and raised with a proverbial golden spoon. Among the few things expected of him is to fall in love with Hazel--something that he can’t force himself to do. Eventually, Luis fell into casual unprotected sex from strangers he met in a dating app;
  • Enzo, resentful son and brother who struggles from an inferiority complex. He found affection and fame in the alter universe, concealing his identity behind sex videos with a couple. Unfortunately, his emotions got in the way and he fell for one of them;
  • Gab, son of a town mayor who is one-half of local loveteam “GabVi,” with Via, the daughter of another local politician. He develops an intimate and secret affair with his best friend Kenneth which sadly escalated into an abusive and depressing series of confrontations; and finally
  • Chuchay, the queer breadwinner of a homeless family who has to make ends meet by accepting money for sex from his employer’s pedophiliac husband. Although the most vulnerable because of economic status, ‘she’ is the comic jester and light of the party.

The four episodes between the pilot and finale are dedicated in telling each of their lives before and after being infected with the virus. Viewers are treated to a roller coaster of emotions as they join the foursome’s road trip equivalent to more than three hours of binge time.

Safe Space as a concept, reality

“I guess normal naman sa gays na magtago para hindi makilala,” (“I guess it’s normal for gays to conceal their identity”) says supporting character RJ (Mark Rivera).

The rest of the cast confronts this thought in the finale, as if they’re leaving viewers something to think about after watching. What is a safe space? Where is it? Who gives or protects it? How can one make their own? 

The show provides some answers by showing how the characters created and found their safe spaces. While difficult, all of them were able to reveal their HIV status to their circles. As a standout of the show, Chuchay’s cisgender best friend Ginalyn left viewers with an emotional moment when she reaffirmed her love for her, albeit desperately fighiting tears. In a flashback scene, Luis’ big brother also assured him that “no one should be sorry for being gay.” The show invites viewers to be like Ginalyn and Luis who made a conscious decision to love, without buts or maybes.

All together in their Baguio inn, Chuchay assured the group that “God is not judgemental” and followed it by an in-your-face question, “Hindi ba pwedeng magmahalan na lang tayo?” (“Can’t we just love one another?”). These are just some of the heart-tugging moments and shareable quotes to give the viewers emotional breaks in between episodes.

Mga Batang Poz presents that a safe space is not necessarily a physical structure. Family can be them; an online chat group can do the same. Testing centers and hospitals can provide them, so as strangers and past lovers. Creating a safe space is a conscious decision to surround oneself with people, experiences, and moments that are uplifting, warm, understanding, and tolerant. It’s not always easy to look for one but there are plenty of them. 

For instance, all LoveYourself community centers are safe spaces for anyone who wants to get tested for free or access treatment for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Just visit of check its Facebook page for the clinics’ schedules and one can visit without fear of being exposed or labeled.

LoveYourself volunteer Paul Junio shares his insights during Poz Talk
“Poz Talk”

The series generously provides a special 30-minute “Poz Talk” hosted by Karen Davila to shed light on the issue, prevalence, and stigma surrounding HIV. Davila talks to the author, cast, PLHIVs, and advocates for a well informed and relatable discussion.

Speaking on behalf of LoveYourself, communications volunteer Paul Junio echoes that the show “is a good opportunity for families to have healthy discussions inside their homes about HIV.”

And that closes the loop to the show’s after-credits, that Mga Batang Poz “is an advocacy series to celebrate life amidst all the pain. For there is love from family and friends.” The characters showed us that there is life after HIV. It’s now our turn to help, accept, and love the Luis, Gab, Enzo, and Chuchay of the real world. 

Mga Batang Poz was recently screened at Cinemalaya and Cinespectra Film Festival to educate and inform more people about the issues of some PLHIVs, and continue the discussion on safe spaces, tolerance, and the importance of treatment. It is still streaming on or you can download and register in the app for free. You can also buy the novel in major bookstores nationwide, online at, or contact its publisher
Ross is a full-time communicator. On his days off, he serves as a volunteer for HIV advocacy, and activities related to arts and culture. He joined LoveYourself to help normalize conversations surrounding the epidemic.