Thursday, May 17, 2018

Owning Your Identity, Owning Your Health in This is Me: Brave and Free

By Jhemarie Arca

The support from the community far transcends our expectations as the Philippines’ first community-led multi-site HIV testing day happening on May 26, 2018 is just around the corner! Join us as we welcome our transgender volunteers: Disney Aguila, trans Deaf advocate, and makeup artist from Mandaluyong; and Margaux Medina, stylist from a major commercial network. The duo share their advocacy that inspires both the Deaf and transgender community.

Joining the Campaign

The lovely ladies both expressed their admiration for the campaign as it showcases inclusivity through all expressions and orientation.

Disney pointed out that the key to every action is loving and caring for yourself first. “The campaign is really perfect since it’s about loving yourself. And all people must be aware of HIV.” She explained that everyone, no matter how small, can help spread the word. “I really wanted to join today’s campaign as a volunteer and to give service to the organization.”

Margaux expressed her desire to inspire more people by joining the campaign. “Beauty with a purpose, I wanna help in my little way in encouraging people to be aware and to know their status,” she said as she explained being an image of beauty also means to take care of oneself. “We enjoy life so we have to take care of it”, she added.

Brave and Free

While others may shy away from HIV testing, Disney understands that there might be some feeling of fear and doubt. “I really wanted to show the support, to stand and say there’s nothing to worry. You have to set the fear aside and show people that you believe in them and testing is the way to do so,” Disney explained.

Margaux echoed the idea that no one should feel any hindrance in knowing their status. “You stand for what you believe in and free because walang hindrance, walang any fear that’s why you’re free.” She observed that this negative feeling of fear should not be stronger than our love for ourselves that will not only give us freedom but also leads to a healthier life. “The stigma and the fear prevents us from getting tested, but if we love ourselves, we should be brave enough to get ourselves tested, to know your status.

By being aware of the feelings you may have, you have the power to control  what to do. Like what we understand from the heroes we watched when we were little, any fear, any doubt, will be defeated by love.

Shouting Out THIS IS ME!

Disney encourages all especially those in the Deaf and transgender community to stand up and spread awareness, “I want to help them especially in terms of awareness and advocacy for all the communities - really to remove all the worries.” Her selflessness shows not only by being part of the campaign, but by her continuous support to the community. “I give my heart to everyone.” Disney signed.

Margaux shared her philosophy in leading a healthy and happy life by knowing your status. “Sa aking mga sisters, to enjoy our life, if we are sexualy active- we have to do this!” Her powerful call to action to everyone. “Because we love ourselves, lahat tayo maging healthy.” Margaux said.

Their message of courage and self awareness is a strong foundation in leading a healthy and worry-free lifestyle. By deciding on taking the HIV test and knowing your status, you have transformed into a healthier, better version of yourself. Be brave, be free, and shout: This is Me!



The stage is set for you, lovers. Join us at This is Me: Brave and Free - the first multi-site HIV testing day launching on May 26, 2018. Join in the celebration of self-care by bringing your courage to community based organizations (Juan Positive Movement, HIV & AIDS Support House, Inc, Decent Image of South Signal Association, Cavite Positive Action Group, GAYON, Project H4, Kagay-an PLUS, and Olympus Society of Davao) alongside LoveYourself (LoveYourself Anglo, LoveYourself Uni, and Victoria by LoveYourself). Get to know your status with the fast, free, and confidential community based-screening process.

Go to https://bitly.com/ThisIsMe2018 to sign up and you’ll receive a confirmation notice in a few days!
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Jhemarie Arca. A simple observer who learned how to weave stories before she can actually read, Jhem discovered the beauty of storytelling at an early age along with the reality of loss, death, hope, and truth of life. Realizing stories are her fuel, she blogs, writes, and immerse herself in as much human interaction as possible knowing she'll gain and exchange stories with other people along the way.