Thursday, January 31, 2013

HIV Programs in the Philippines ‘World-Class’, according to WHO

Amidst the rapid rise in the number of newly diagnosed HIV cases in the country, the World Health Organization (WHO) lauds the Philippine response to the epidemic as “world class”. In a report published during the last quarter of 2012, WHO praises the use of “existing interventions (that) draw on international best practices such as peer learning, networked outreach, internet chatting, and connecting risk groups to health services.”

Ronnievinn Pagtakhan, founder and President of Love Yourself, a non-governmental organization involved in HIV prevention, education, and counseling comments, “We are very grateful to the international community for the vast amount of resources already available for us as we fight our own HIV epidemic.” Pagtakhan celebrates the fact that the Philippines need not reinvent solutions, “There already exists a good number of evidence-based interventions, we just need to study and understand them, and if found appropriate, tweak and roll-out. Our challenge now is scaling up the execution while being very mindful of cost and sustainability. The numbers we’re seeing are scaling up, so shall our interventions be.”

For the past 5 years we have been seeing a rapid increase in HIV cases. Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag, head of the National Epidemiology Center of the Department of Health, announced via Twitter on Monday, January 28, 2013, the full-year 2012 numbers of newly diagnosed HIV cases in the country. Three thousand three hundred thirty eight (3,338) new cases were diagnosed in 2012, a 42% jump from last year, and ten-fold rise from just 5 years ago in 2007.

“The epidemic has been growing, previously thought of as ‘low and slow’ but, in hindsight, we now know it was just assumed low because we did not know,” says Chris Lagman, Director for Counseling & Education at Love Yourself. “The recent focus on the execution of evidence-based programs, particularly a variety of multi-level approaches in making HIV counseling and testing accessible to key populations at risk, explains the rapid rise in the numbers. Simply put, more and more people are now being reached and thus getting tested. Now we’re seeing the situation more clearly. The infections have been there all along, we are now just uncovering it.”

Lagman continues, “It’s a great thing, in my opinion. The increase in numbers means people are getting to know their status, and enabling them to do something about it. While there is yet no cure, we should always note that there are proven effective ways of treating and managing the condition.”

Prevention, on the other hand, remains front-and-center in the fight against the spread of HIV. Many groups, from both public and private sectors, including faith-based organizations, are chiming in. Pagtakhan says, “As we scale up implementation of known best practices, may it be in prevention or treatment, care, and support, it is inevitable to execute using resources that are not just in one group. Partnership and collaboration are key.”

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Makati City Names Love Yourself as its NGO Partner in its Local AIDS Council

By unanimous vote of Makati City's Sangguniang Panlunsod, the following City Ordinance was enacted on third and final reading:


Authors: Councilors L.M. Magpantay, V.V. Hilario, A.C. Magpantay, F.T. Eusebio, T.C.P. Ramos, M.A.SJ. Casal—Uy, R.C. Medina, M.C.M. Yabut, M.T.N. de Lara, M.A.M. Ortega, N.S.Yabut,Jr., M.R.C. Tolentino, N.S. Pasia and S.D. Pangilinan 


The same ordinance, Section 4 (1) names Love Yourself Inc. as its NGO partner.

Full text of the ordinance is downloadable here: Makati City Ordinance No. 2012-036

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fastening Fragments, a workshop for those waiting to exhale.

('Cause when a heart breaks, no it don't break even)

Relationships end for various reasons. But whatever those reasons are, sitting alone in a corner drowning in blame, rejection, and feeling sorry for oneself is not the answer. Nor is it about distracting oneself with tons of work, hoping that as long as one is busy and running around, the pain will disappear, the sorrow muted, and the heart splinters shall neatly be swept under the rug.

In this seminar-workshop, you will be challenged to face the reality of your break up by understanding the most important key to moving on - YOU! As a preparatory step towards the transformation and healing of a broken heart, this seminar-workshop shall explore questions about the self that could help you gain insights as to why you are the way you are in your relationships. We shall explore what you were truly looking for in your past relationships, why you seem to gravitate towards a specific kind of person, why you find it so difficult to move on, and why you cannot seem to let go of the pain. Remember, focusing externally on your ex, or on what he did or did not, surely isn't the answer. The answer is, and has always been, inside us.

So, whether you are in a current state of denial, anger, confusion or sadness, this seminar-workshop is for the grieving broken-hearted warrior who has the courage to meet his own shadows and embrace his inner monster. Be ready. Be brave. And transform that beast into a handsome prince.

Venue: A discreet venue in the Makati CBD
Workshop fee: 500 pesos
Facilitator: AJ Sagmit (Ph.D., cand.), professional counselor
Date: February 17, 2013, Sunday, 2:00 – 6:00 PM

Participants will be in a group of about 7 people only. This is to ensure that confidentiality and intimacy are maintained. Interested participants may pre-register at

Monday, January 28, 2013

Platinum HIV Testing in February

The initial offering of Platinum HIV testing ended last Friday, January 25, 2013. We had 3 sessions, all on Friday evenings, January 11, 18, and 25.

What is the difference when you come for Platinum? First, the location is a very discreet venue at the heart of the Makati Central Business District. Second, when you register, a coordinator will closely and confidentially communicate with you regarding the details of your appointment. Third, during your appointment, you arrive and a private room is reserved for you -- where you will meet your counselor, and a medical technologist who will do the test for you. Lastly, you receive the results within 2 hours, also in the privacy of your own counseling room. Perfect for people who do not want to be seen taking their test. Everything is mindfully prepared and ensured to be smooth-flowing for the most discreet and delicate clients.

Due to great reviews from those who experienced the January offering, we shall have another set of Platinum HIV testing in February! The most discreet, by-appointment-only, premium quality HIV testing service in the country today has open slots for February 8 and 15, 2013 -- again, at a very discreet location in Makati CBD (near Ayala Avenue and V.A. Rufino Street) -- Friday after-office slots available from 6 to 9 PM.

To support this Platinum quality service, we will appreciate voluntary donation (standard donation is P500 and above) for each client.

To set appointment, register via this link: -- someone will contact you to confirm your appointment, and you'll be all set. Your information will be handled with strictest confidentiality.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Makati SEB: HIV prevention program held at MediCard Lifestyle Center

A LARGE turnout of young men attended the HIV Prevention program held at the MediCard Lifestyle Center organized by The Love Yourself Inc, a non-profit organization that aims to help prevent the spread of HIV through awareness, counselling and education.
During the event, a seminar led by experts on the disease along with group discussions were held and resulted in getting nearly 200 men to avail of the free test.
Through the tireless efforts of the core group, they were able to gain the support of the Makati City Health Department and Department of Health-Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (DOH-RITM). Both agencies provided the medical manpower to administer the free test and conduct educational seminars regarding HIV at the MediCard Lifestyle Center.
 “MediCard Philippines is proud to be part of this noble endeavour by providing a venue for volunteer organizations such as Love Yourself that helps create a healthier nation through education.” says Dr. Nicky D. Montoya, president and CEO of MediCard Philippines.
When the organization started out the government immediately took notice how they easily mobilized people to act. Since then, this group of friends has worked together regularly by organizing similar events that raise awareness through education, free testing and counselling.
As the monthly reports counting the number HIV infections rise, the group is aware that this does not reduce the fear and stigma the disease brings. Despite this, Love Yourself continues to focus on educating the public now to increase awareness and prevention that will help minimize the impact of HIV on the population.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Equality in Beauty

It's great to know we're in great company.

Mr. Boy Abunda (MYNP) and Ms. Bemz Benedito (LADLAD) sport their LoveYourself shirts on this new Calayan "Equality in Beauty" billboard near the EDSA Guadalupe bridge. 

Portraits by LoveYourself's very own Ian Felix Alquiros.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

TLY Cebu Joins Sinulog 2013

The Love Yourself team in Cebu joins the rest of the world in celebrating the Sinulog Festival in Cebu.

Come join us at DOCE BAR (Mango Avenue) on January 19, 2013, 10 pm onwards.

Get a chance to meet the TLY Cebu team members, ask questions about the team, and just talk about anything and everything under the sun. This is a perfect opportunity for you to come face-to-face with the men and women behind the team.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Loveyourself Nominated for 2013 Twitter Shorty Awards

Loveyourself is nominated for the 2013 Twitter Shorty Awards 
under the category of 


how to vote:

Vote with a tweet. 
Votes must have a reason after "because..." or they won't count!

Click to vote:

Nominate LOVEYOURSELF Inc. for a social media award in the Shorty Awards!
Nominate LOVEYOURSELF Inc. for a social media award in the Shorty Awards

What is #socialfitness?

The #SocialFitness Shorty Award, in partnership with Health. Join In. and their social fitness projects Real Health and WellPower, honors an individual who helps others make healthy choices in their lives through their influence on social media. The ideal #SocialFitness award nominee uses Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, or the social web to motivate others to champion health by taking actions like sharing milestones, healthful recipes, safe weight-loss strategies, exercise tips and motivational support from friends and followers.
The #SocialFitness Shorty Award winner will be selected by the newly launched #SocialFitness Jury on the Real-Time Academy of Short Form Arts & Sciences, which include the following health icons: Nick Cannon, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Kerri Walsh Jennings, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Michele Promaulayko and Bill Phillips. The winner will be based on the total number of nominations received, the impact and creativity of the nominee’s tweets, and innovation in the use of social media. Eligibility is limited to individuals who have started leading more healthful lives and sharing their strategies prior to the award announcement. (

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Loveyourself Hub Clinic Schedule 2013

To serve you better our dear lovers, we are posting our CLINIC Schedule GUIDE for 2013:

Love Yourself Hub CLINIC Schedule for 2013

Mondays, Thursdays Fridays & Saturdays 
11 AM to 7 PM. (Cut-off at 5:30 PM) 

9 AM to 4 PM. (Cut-off at 2 PM) 

Tuesdays & Wednesdays
Clinic is CLOSED

Please share to your friends :)

Thank you.


The Loveyourself HUB:

The Love Yourself Project, a community-based advocacy group which aims to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS opened ‘The Love Yourself Hub’ last July 8, 2012 at 1850 Leon Guinto St., Malate, Manila (at the back of PWU).

The Love Yourself Hub will serve as a resource center to further increase the levels of awareness and knowledge, counseling and education, wellness, prevention, cure and rehabilitation of the communities it serves specially the youth and LGBT-MSM in response to sexually transmitted infections (STI and HIV) and other sexuality-related concerns.

One of the main key programs is to conduct HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT) with the able support of the Research Institute for Topical Medicine (RITM).

To complement this main task, equally important are the other goals which aim to establish the following: ‘EQUALITY’ without regard to HIV status, religion, sex, gender preference and culture; provide skills training to other advocate volunteers on HIV counseling, HIV health education and management; empower professionals and other advocate volunteers to administer timely, appropriate therapeutic counseling and safe quality care; promote HIV education (e.g. Philippine HIV/AIDS Law) through partnerships with education-related groups and organizations; align with the Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC), World Health Organization (WHO) and partners to maximize resources.

The Love Yourself Hub shall embrace the ideals set forth by its parent organization – the Love Yourself Project by reaching out to the community it serves by propagating ideas and practices that encourage loving one's self -- to DARE to be oneself, to CARE for oneself, and to SHARE oneself as a way to multiplying joy.

Loveyourself HUB MAP:

                                                                 View Love Yourself Hub in a larger map

MENFRIENDS (Conscious Partnerships): Seminar/Workshop

In a relationship? Happy but somehow can't help but think, is this it? Perhaps doubt has crept in, can man-to-man relationships really work? Yes you've heard of long-term relationships among guys, but still you wonder, is there a secret to long, happy, and fulfilling same-sex relationships?

MENFRIENDS (Conscious Partnerships)
A Two-day Seminar/Workshop

This is a two-day seminar/workshop for gay couples who wish to explore deeper understanding about the nature of interpersonal relationships. It will guide couples to understand the roots of their attraction for each other (chemistry), help them identify and clarify their common goals as partners and individuals, and make them understand the dynamics of effective communication. This involves short lectures, discussions, and sharing of experiences. The workshop is patterned after the perspective of the Conscious Marriage Model by John Lucas and Lorna Benjamin's Structural Analysis of Social Behavior, facilitated by AJ Sagmit (Ph.D. candidate, Ateneo de Manila University), and hosted by Migs the Manila Gay Guy (Life Coach, Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara, California).

Dates: January 20 and 27, 2013 (Sundays)
Time: 10 AM to 4 PM
Venue: Makati City (exact venue to be sent to registered participants)
Cost: Free, but donations of 300 pesos per couple is appreciated.

The workshop will be limited to participation of only 6 to 8 couples. Interested participants may pre-register at

LoveYourself NEXT GEN : Be part of our 2013 League of Lovers

Do you want to be part of Love Yourself and help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in the Philippines?
Love Yourself Manila is gearing up for 2013. We are calling for new volunteers to join our ranks.

If you're interested, kindly sign up ASAP.
We will be contacting volunteers within the next few days to invite for a special training.

Step up and be counted!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Best Kept Secret | Platinum HIV Testing

A special kind of HIV testing, organized for the most discreet of clients. Afraid to be seen? Worry not. Here's the most discreet, by-appointment-only, premium quality HIV testing service in the country today.  On January 11, 18, and 25, 2013 -- at a very discreet location in Makati CBD (near Ayala Avenue and V.A. Rufino Street) -- Friday after-office slots available from 5 to 9 PM.

To support this platinum quality service, we will appreciate voluntary donation of P500 and above for each client.

To set appointment, register via this link: -- someone will contact you to confirm your appointment, and you'll be all set. Your information will be handled with strictest confidentiality.