Monday, November 04, 2013

Certified Platinum: A peek into the most premium testing service in the metro

by Allen Yu   

Since LoveYourself Platinum first launched in January 2013, it's been nothing but a runaway success. Known for its hyper-discreet, by-appointment testing process and premium service quality, Platinum — already offered twice a month — is routinely booked solid.

For many of its clients, the discreetness makes it their ideal choice. “My past testing experiences were okay — straight to the point, very professional,” recalls Mike, who got tested with Platinum last October. "But given the stigma on HIV, I still prefer privacy and discreetness — and LoveYourself Platinum offered just that.”

Other clients go even further: for them, discreetness is non-negotiable. “The stigma is a hindrance,” explains JR, a designer who tested with Platinum last April. “The privacy aspect was paramount.”

Joey, a system administrator who also got tested with Platinum this October, appreciates that he didn’t need to worry about how to approach clinic or hospital staff. “The thought of directly approaching people from the clinic or hospital to get tested sounds really uncomfortable to me,” he confides. “I was worried of the stigma, because most people do not have a broader sense of understanding of this kind of thing.”

Apart from discreetness, many clients also appreciate that Platinum isn’t just a run-of-the-mill testing service. Care has been taken to make every aspect of the experience as comfortable as possible.

“The environment and the people involved are very much accommodating,” shares Waltz, who works in a BPO company. “You won’t feel like you are going to a test.”

Accommodating, but efficient. “What I liked most in the experience is the swift outcome of the results,” says a 35-year old professional who tested with Platinum last September, and has chosen to remain anonymous. “Also, the place where you hold it is very private yet easy to go to.”

Jerry, another client who tested last June and runs his family’s business, agrees. “I personally liked having a specified time to be tested, so there was no waiting. The staff was professional and extremely courteous. The location was also convenient. I would recommend Platinum to anyone who prefers privacy over the dislikes of the hospital atmosphere, with long lines and unsympathetic hospital workers.”

Given some of the horror stories that have gone around about these ‘dislikes’, Jerry’s comment highlights one of the great advantages of the LoveYourself Platinum testing experience: the counselors. Rigorously trained on HIV issues and health-plan building, they are the perfect resource people for curious clients.

“You get the extra knowledge on things that you thought you already knew,” says Waltz.

Max, a writer who tested with Platinum last October, also notes the “positive, information-driven approach” of the counselors, as well as their “consistent advocacy for everyday habits that lead a person to take better care of themselves sexually, and as a whole.”

Mike, on the other hand, appreciated the counselors’ empathy as much as their know-how. “Though we were strangers to each other, I felt genuine and sincere warmth. And that in itself spelled all the difference for me.”

The existence of Platinum serves as much-needed reassurance at a time when the attention around HIV is growing increasingly frenetic. The past year has seen a month-on-month increase in the overall number of MSM who have gotten tested for HIV. This groundswell of initiative from within the community could be a signal that people are becoming more aware of the presence of HIV and its implication on their lives.

“I’m in my mid-thirties, and sexually active with multiple partners,” shares Mike. “I know that I am at high risk.”

For some clients, the urgency of getting tested radiates from their social circles. “The recent surge of positive individuals made me want to know my status,” says JR. Here, as before, stigma (and the accompanying fear) complicates the situation.

“If you think that you really need to get tested, take the courage to do so,” advises Joey. “In my case, I became so paranoid and even physically ill because of too much stress. I decided to end the agony and had the guts to know what I should know about myself.”

JR concurs: “Knowledge is key to keeping oneself healthy. It’s not the end of the world — prevention and/or maintenance can do wonders.”

Others, however, feel that getting tested shouldn’t just be a reaction, but a responsibility.

“It is something I feel we owe ourselves to know,” Max insists. “This is one body that we have, and it really makes sense to be responsible for it and to be deliberate about what we do with it.”

“At this time and age when LGBTs are pushing for not just equality but recognition, it is important that HIV concerns are placed at the forefront of our agenda,” Mike concludes. “Getting tested is a tangible way to establish our taking full responsibility for our well-being, and interest in being part of the solution and the proactive efforts to deter, if not stop, the unnecessary spread of HIV.”

Do you want to get tested at LoveYourself Platinum?
Find out more about what happens at LoveYourself Platinum here.