Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Your First Time with The Hot Nurses of Pinas: Starting a Habit

By Tofi Alonte

Recall that moment when you did something for the first time. Some people would have sweaty palms and parched throat but still be game and giddy in anticipation. Others would try to keep a cool facade despite the looming anxiety inside their chest.

In this year's Hot Nurses of Pinas on National HIV Testing day we invite you to experience HIV testing for the first time. This coming June 15, 2019, together with our partner CBOs, the gorgeous nurses we have scouted will guarantee that your first time testing experience will be safe, sweet, and swift. Still need convincing? Well let our hot nurses share their first time experiences with you!

Moving On As a Routine

The Hot Nurses bring optimism in the fight against HIV and the stigma attached to it. They are passionate to influence others to know their status that results to having peace of mind. Take it from Nurses Jaycee and Jerome who both agree that timely testing is the first step towards moving on from the stigma.


"I think, being aware means being able to take care of yourself and a person who knows how to take care of himself is hot" says Nurse Omie who is a staunch believer of regular HIV testing as a self-care routine. Jerome also believes that being aware means being able to take care of yourself and easily moving on from doubts that may be caused by the uncertainties of not knowing your status. Even if Jerome is a non-practicing nurse, he still conducts SOGIE and HIV 101 sessions through the LGBTQ group that he leads. In this age where information can easily be accessed, Jerome believes that being hot is also tantamount to being informed.

Nurse Jaycee's moving on story started with him being scared about HIV because he was not as informed as he is today.


"Nung bata pa ko, may nanakot kasi sakin nun, naka-sex ko siya tapos tinanong niya 'ko about HIV. Sobrang takot ako nun pero eventually nagkalakas ako ng loob [to get tested] " (When I was younger, I had a sexual encounter with someone who asked me about HIV. I was terrified, but I eventually mustered the courage to get tested)

Nurse Jaycee managed to overcome his fear through testing. He took the first step to educate himself about HIV and, in the process, he has also informed other people about it. Jaycee moved on by taking a courageous step towards awareness through testing.

Firsts can be uneasy but our hot nurses are here to make knowing your status easier. They were once afraid of testing, but after knowing that it's safe and confidential, they've discovered the courage to undergo testing and now they have moved on and have even become the faces of promoting timely testing.


The First Step

Meet the faces of this year's National HIV Testing Day on June 15, 2019. We promise you they’ll be gentle during testing and knowing your status will be one of the memorable firsts that you'll share with your friends. Don’t forget to sign up here to be a part of this summer's National HIV Testing Day.

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Tofi is working as a Training Supervisor in one of the country's biggest BPO companies. During his free time, he roams the city to rescue old books, pet stray cats, and collect forgotten narratives. 

Friday, June 07, 2019

Flourish Circle Sprouts a Growing Initiative

By Carlos Diego A. Rozul

The Global Burden of Disease study in 2015 reported an equivalent of 6.3 million cases of Filipinos diagnosed with a depressive and anxiety disorder. For years, the Philippines has advocated to integrate mental health in its healthcare policies. With the enactment of RA 11036 also known as the Philippine Mental Health Law in 2018, Filipinos now have the basic right to psychological wellness.

LoveYourself joins the movement towards responding to the mental health needs of Filipinos with Flourish Circle."There is a palpable call for help and we will respond, and respond with the very best that we have - our passionate volunteers, lessons learned from past programs, and expert partners." explained Chris Lagman, LoveYourself Senior Director.

Flourish Circle Peer Support Specialists and Proponents
Photo by Dan Guevara
Flourish Circle is an initiative started by a community of peers that aim to provide a safe and affirming space where people can feel listened to, supported, and accepted. Guided by the principles of Internal Family Systems and Mindfulness, the Flourish Circle has trained its first set of Peer Support Specialists who will heed the call for accessible psychosocial support for people undergoing depressive, anxious, and suicidal ideated states.

“I know of so many people who want to help but don’t know how. And so we came up with a community based solution because we need a platform to connect people who need help and people who want to help.” Sheila Tan said, as one of the proponents of Flourish Circle.

The Peer Support Specialists started off as people who shared the same vision as the initiative's founders. With the willingness to be trained, they underwent multiple learning and skills-building sessions, ultimately passing the program's skills and knowledge-based competencies benchmarking.

Flourish Circle Logo
Logo by Kent Tangcalagan
About the Logo

The Flourish Circle logo features a lotus flower with two open hands enclosing an ellipsis, encapsulated in a circle. According to ancient Egyptian mythology, the lotus flower is a symbol of rebirth. Its life cycle starts from the dark murky waters where a beautiful flower when the sun has risen. This parallels a person’s journey to overcome the darkness in their life and arise revitalized to continue life.

The two open hands symbolize the peer specialists offering their genuine support. The ellipsis between the hands represent that life can continue even when you’re at a loss. It also stand for people experiencing the states of mind that the Flourish aims to care for. All of these are bound in a circle that expresses a sense of community among its peer support specialists and Flourish Circle members.

Taking Steps

“No one can do it alone. We all need a space where we can be held respectfully and lovingly, where healing is accessible, possible, and where depression is something we have, but not who we are.” Bro. Noel Cabigting shared as one of the proponents of Flourish Circle.

Truly, we are not the only ones who can look out for ourselves. When we are surrounded by a community that is present, supportive, and affirming, we can grow as ourselves.

Participants of the Flourish Circle will be screened using a standardized and evidence supported self-assessment tool to determine appropriateness of the program for the needs of the participant. They must also be able to commit to 12 sessions in the course of several months, and is comfortable sharing in small groups.

We flourish by trying everyday. Today, we can reach out to someone. Join Flourish Circle, a safe space to share your story. http://bit.ly/FlourishCircle.
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Carlos Diego is an HIV counselor and the Head of Editorial for LoveYourself. Outside of volunteering, he is a clinical audiology student and a registered psychometrician. He aims to facilitate a deeper meaning to health by discussing the importance of aural, sexual, and mental health.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Your First Time with The Hot Nurses of Pinas: Inspired to Advocate

By Tofi Alonte

Recall that moment when you did something for the first time. Some people would have sweaty palms and parched throat but still be game and giddy in anticipation. Others would try to keep a cool facade despite the looming anxiety inside their chest.

In this year's Hot Nurses of Pinas on National HIV Testing day we invite you to experience HIV testing for the first time. This coming June 15, 2019, together with our partner CBOs, the gorgeous nurses we have scouted will guarantee that your first time testing experience will be safe, sweet, and swift. Still need convincing? Well let our hot nurses share their first time experiences with you!


First Inspirations

Our lineup of Hot Nurses are not anymore new to the advocacy. Some of them have been part of the movement before becoming faces of the HIV prevention and awareness campaign. Nurses Mark, Clay, and Mikee have all taken part in spreading awareness through people who have inspired them to make a change.

"Actually, si Sir Vinn, yung founder nyo, clinical instructor ko nung college" says Nurse Clay with gratitude as he attributed his involvement in the advocacy to LoveYourself Executive Director Vinn Pagtakhan. After meeting other advocates from LoveYourself, Clay used social media to share correct information about HIV to prevent the spread of stigma.

"Through social media, there are videos that I can share on Facebook. At least my friends will be more aware and they can learn more about HIV. By doing that mawawala yung takot or yung stigma na magpatest sila" added Nurse Clay who believes that knowing your status through regular testing and keeping yourself informed is always the best way to address doubts and confusion about HIV.


Nurse Mark, on the other hand, has been involved as former head of LoveYourself Operations. He mentioned that his involvement in the campaign is his way of paying it forward within the organization: "I think by providing health teaching to clients, giving information regarding HIV infection, the transmission itself is a good way to inspire and encourage people na magpatest. As a healthcare practitioner this is what I have been doing to help the advocacy."


Nurse Mikee also has close friends from LoveYourself so he has already witnessed the organization's impact in curbing the HIV epidemic in the country. He has encouraged some of his patients who were diagnosed with HIV to undergo treatment because it's free. Just like Clay and Mark, he takes the time to educate his acquaintances about HIV, how to prevent it, and how to minimizethe stigma surrounding it. Joining this year's campaign has made Mikee immersed in LoveYourself's community activities and it has also allowed him to have a more extensive reach in educating people about HIV.

As advocates prior to joining the campaign, our hot nurses are ready to prove that their knowledge and awareness of the HIV advocacy goes beyond gorgeous form. Their passion to spread awareness and fight the HIV stigma stems from people who have made ripples of positive change in their community.


The First Step

Meet the faces of this year's National HIV Testing Day on June 15, 2019. We promise you they’ll be gentle during testing and knowing your status will be one of the memorable firsts that you'll share with your friends. Don’t forget to sign up here to be a part of this summer's National HIV Testing Day.

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Tofi is working as a Training Supervisor in one of the country's biggest BPO companies. During his free time, he roams the city to rescue old books, pet stray cats, and collect forgotten narratives. 

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Your First Time with The Hot Nurses of Pinas: Facing Reality

By Tofi Alonte

Recall that moment when you did something for the first time. Some people would have sweaty palms and parched throat but still be game and giddy in anticipation. Others would try to keep a cool facade despite the looming anxiety inside their chest.

In this year's Hot Nurses of Pinas on National HIV Testing day we invite you to experience HIV testing for the first time. This coming June 15, 2019, together with our partner CBOs, the gorgeous nurses we have scouted will guarantee that your first time testing experience will be safe, sweet, and swift. Still need convincing? Well let our hot nurses share their first time experiences with you!


First Heartbreaks

Our hot nurses do not only believe in the importance of HIV awareness. They also have personal narratives to share that shaped them into the advocates that they've become. Take Nurse Joker for example. In his 9 years of experience as a government hospital nurse, he has witnessed people from different walks of life being diagnosed as people living with HIV (PLHIVs).

"For less than a year I have been working in the operating room, I have witnessed patients being diagnosed. Sadly the individuals being diagnosed are getting younger, some of them are minors." explained Nurse Joker.

In Joker’s line of work he has been witnessing people from different walks of life getting infected by HIV. What to many are numbers on a report are actual people to him and seeing how the stigma prevents people from accessing help breaks Joker’s heart. The government and its partner NGOs are relentless in their efforts to prevent HIV and its stigma so this still gives Joker some hope amidst the heartbreak.


For Nurse Tenshi from the Philippine Heart Center, he experienced seeing people who have been diagnosed HIV positive while undergoing TB treatment.

"Usually I encounter a lot of young people undergoing Tuberculosis (TB) treatment who are also diagnosed with HIV" says Nurse Tenshi who has extensive experience in caring for patients with TB-HIV co-infection. In his line of work, Nurse Tenshi helps people to be adherent to their treatment regimen. Though it is still heartbreaking to see people living with HIV develop TB, Tenshi is determined in what he is doing as a nurse creates ripples of positive change within his patients by propagating hope through treatment. He also believes that creating a social milieu that is free from prejudice is the key towards an effective campaign against discrimination of patients with TB-HIV coinfection.

As nurses, Tenshi and Joker both have experienced heartbreaks as they care for people living with HIV in the country. Their epiphany that along with the exponential growth of HIV cases in our country is the miscommunication of information by lay people and some health practitioners about  living with HIV. Witnessing the realities of the stigma affecting access to healthcare, and the increasing demographic affected by the virus are the heartbreaking moments that our nurses had to face every day motivating them to join the campaign to promote HIV testing and spread correct information.


The First Step

Meet the faces of this year's National HIV Testing Day on June 15, 2019. We promise you they’ll be gentle during testing and knowing your status will be one of the memorable firsts that you'll share with your friends. Don’t forget to sign up here to be a part of this summer's National HIV Testing Day.

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Tofi is working as a Training Supervisor in one of the country's biggest BPO companies. During his free time, he roams the city to rescue old books, pet stray cats, and collect forgotten narratives. 

Monday, May 27, 2019

Get Pricked by the Hot Nurses of Pinas: Basics of HIV Screening

By Ronald C. Bugarin


The hottest nurses from all over the Philippines gather together for National HIV Testing Day themed Hot Nurses of Pinas on June 15, 2019 from 11:00am to 7:00pm. LoveYourself has partnered with more than eleven (11) Community Based Organizations (CBOs) nationwide for you to experience private, secure, and accurate HIV testing in a fraction of the time and have a chance to get pricked with some of the Hot Nurses in the country.

Sign up now for a fast, free and anonymous HIV screening.


Hot Nurses of Pinas marks the seventh community-led multi-site HIV testing event held by LoveYourself, beginning with Incognito in May 2016. These events are the organization’s efforts to make HIV screening easier and more accessible to more people, especially now that LoveYourself has partnered with other CBO’s in the nation.  This initiative is one of LoveYourself’s many efforts to halt the growing number of HIV cases in the country by promoting timely HIV testing as a regular part of one’s self-care routine.The process is patterned after similar successful screenings in Thailand (Suck, Fuck, Test) and the United States.

This National HIV Screening Day is perfect for people on the go!  In just 15 to 20 minutes, rapid screening shortens the processing time compared to regular testing but assures 100% accuracy for nonreactive results!. These rapid test kits can even detect HIV 1 and 2 antibodies with only  a few drops of blood.


What exactly should you expect to happen during a rapid screening setup at Hot Nurses of Pinas? First, you register at the counter asking for a few details like your birthday and contact number. A unique identifier code (UIC) based on the given information and client number shall be generated upon successful registration together with a checklist to be signed per station to guide you throughout the process.

After registering, you proceed to the laboratory section for blood extraction. No worries here as only a pinprick using a sterilized lancet is enough to be used as a sample. Compared to the regular screening where a bigger needle is used and a bottle full of blood is extracted, in rapid screening set-up, the needle to be used is much smaller and only a drop of blood is needed to run the test.  Afraid it’ll hurt? Well don’t fret as our Hot Nurses will be gentle with you in getting a sample of your blood. Once the sample is dropped onto the kit, a reagent is added to activate it. Results will then be read within 15 to 20 minutes.


While waiting for the results, our tireless volunteers will facilitate an engaging discussion about the screening process, basics of HIV transmission, and sexual health management. After which, a trained change agent or counselor shall conduct risk assessment prior to the release of result. This private individual session with a counselor is the best time to raise questions and concerns related to HIV.

When results are ready, your counselor or life coach will then explain to you whether you are reactive or nonreactive. When you test nonreactive, your counselor will emphasize how you can have safer and satisfying sex with your current sexual practices, and you can be on your way home! It is important to note that this process does not give you a printed copy of your results for anonymity and confidentiality purposes. If you prefer or need a physical copy then you can visit LoveYourself Uni or Anglo on another day after the HIV Testing Event to avail of the standard testing process during regular clinic operations.

When results are reactive, your counselor assure you that you won't have to go through this alone. With our Life Coaches on hand they will guide you through the treatment process including the requirements needed prior to enrollment to a treatment center as well as health management for newly diagnosed Persons Living with HIV. It is essential to get yourself treated immediately from a treatment center of your convenience to protect you from possible infections.


All discussions with our counselors and life coaches, especially the results, will be kept confidential. So what are you waiting for, register now at www.bitly.com/HotNursesOfPinas to get tested, know your status and break the stigma.

To learn more about rapid screening assay testing kits and its accuracy, click on this link.
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Ron is a true blooded Banker who does events and hosting on the side. He has volunteered at LoveYourself because of his former partner was diagnosed as PLHIV.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Hot Nurses of ‘Pinas Serves with Care on June 15, 2019

By Carlos Diego A. Rozul

Let the Hot Nurses of ‘Pinas make HIV screening convenient for you! On June 15, 2019 LoveYourself launches the third community-led multi-site National HIV Screening Day. Together with our partner community-based organizations around the Philippines you can get free, fast, and confidential HIV screening closer to you! What are you waiting for? Sign up, and don’t miss out.

The Hot Nurses of ‘Pinas follows up on the Hot Doctors of ‘Pinas in November 2018, that served over 800 clients nationwide. This one-day event makes HIV screening more available nationwide than ever with the help of our partner testing sites.


You no longer need to fill out lengthy forms found during regular testing days. Instead, you just give your contact information upon registration, be given a Unique Identifier Code (UIC), and our hot nurses will help you out throughout the process. An available counselor will then attend to you, and the results will be ready in 15-20 minutes.


Don’t forget to sign up, and don’t miss out on June 15, 2019!
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Carlos Diego is an HIV counselor and the Head of Editorial for LoveYourself. Outside of volunteering, he is a clinical audiology student and a registered psychometrician. He aims to facilitate a deeper meaning to health by discussing the importance of aural, sexual, and mental health.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Bag of Causes in Chic Bayongs

By Bet Domingo

During the Love Gala last May 11: Courage Amplified, DC Bayong designer Don Cristobal handed out a Love Bayong to LoveYourself Ambassador and Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, who willingly modeled the bags in support of the advocacy. Photo by Robin Marero.

If most people have a “bucket” for their list of everything they wanted to achieve, then fashion icon Don Cristobal (DC) thinks differently with his “DC Bayongs.”

As a subsidiary of the DC brand, the DC Bayong is a chic reinvention of the Philippine go-to market bags. Instead of fish and bahay-kubo vegetables, it entails various causes that the modern society would find worthwhile to support, including the Love Gala – Asia’s premier charity and awards event for the HIV/AIDS advocacy.

For this particular event, the DC Bayong releases its collection of the “Love Bayong,” which is embellished with uniquely curated "rose” patches that perfectly represent this year’s Love Gala theme, Courage Amplified. 

Cristobal explained that he wanted to give back to the community through the Love Bayong collection to help raise funds for the LoveYourself, Inc.’s HIV awareness activities and projects. The LoveYourself, together with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), hosts the Love Gala 2019.

According to Cristobal, the Love Bayong on Love Gala is just the beginning of a bigger partnership with the DC Bayong, since he is already planning to donate a certain amount for each bayong sold in the country and even abroad to the HIV advocacy through LoveYourself.


Aside from the HIV cause, the DC Bayong was produced primarily to promote and empower local artisans by commissioning their work of art. This top quality bayongs would also bring a higher level of pride to the local artisans. The DC Bayong is 100% handcrafted.

Another cause one could bring in donning these bayongs is sustainability. The bayongs are not just artistically crafted, but also very durable that will last for longer period of time as compared to regular bags and bayongs – mamas might be able to hand it down to the next generation. 

Cristobal said, “DC Bayong focuses its attention in developing items that are sustainable and will stand the test of time," which will address the problem of unsustainable consumerism and spendthrift fashion lifestyle. The bayongs are versatile and come in different shapes and colors, which can be an alternative to eco bags, but multiply by the hundreds in creativity, craftsmanship and care for environmental conservation efforts. In this sense, Ms. Earth Philippines 2013 Angelee Delos Reyes is one of DC Bayong’s notable ambassador.

Furthermore, Cristobal launched the DC Bayong Travel Series last April at the Helipad Show in Holiday Inn Manila Galleria to encourage more people to patronize locally made products that are sustainable and travel worthy.

Cristobal is currently the chairman of marketing & events for the Fashion Designers Association of the Philippines (FDAP). In March, Cristobal officially became a LoveYourself volunteer under Batch Kauna Kai after supporting and participating in various events of the organization. He will dress the candidates of Miss LoveYourself during the organization's founding anniversary celebration this year, which is the highly anticipated gathering of volunteers, celebrating as one family in diversity, and the triumphs in the advocacy.

He will dress the candidates of Miss LoveYourself during the organization's founding anniversary celebration this year, which is the highly anticipated gathering of volunteers, celebrating as one family in diversity and the triumphs in the advocacy.

To support DC Bayong’s Love Bayong, interested individuals should contact Andee Ortega at 09981980091.

LoveYourself is the leading community-led HIV advocacy group in the country, which now operates six community centers — (1) LoveYourself Anglo in Mandaluyong City, (2) LoveYourself Uni and (3) Victoria by LoveYourself in Pasay City, (4) LoveYourself Welcome in Manila, (5) Lily by LoveYourself x DIOSSA in Paranaque City, and (6) LoveYourself White House in Cebu City. These centers provide differentiated services and care approach to address the country’s HIV situation, which include HIV education, testing and counseling, and treatment and life coaching.