Wednesday, April 24, 2019

LoveYourself To Open Home in Cebu to Combat HIV


By Raychie Lomongo



VOLUNTEERISM IN CEBU: Opening on 27 April 2019, LoveYourself White House will serve as the newest community center of LoveYourself, Inc., contributing to the global goal of ending HIV/AIDS by 2030. In photo are the volunteers of LoveYourself Cebu.

CEBU CITY – The LoveYourself, Inc., the leading community-led HIV services provider in Manila, will extend its reach to Cebu with the grand opening of its newest center – the LoveYourself White House on 27 April 2019 near the Fuente Circle.

As LoveYourself White House opens its doors, Cebuanos will have a new safe space where they can get HIV-related services for free. This includes HIV education, counseling, testing and treatment.

LoveYourself White House will also offer free internet and coffee. This concept of co-working space allows students to study and young professionals to work, while getting tested at the same time.

“LoveYourself is always trying a new concept to diversify its response relative to the needs of our clients, and Cebu has a different set-up with Manila, so we want to be more adaptive as possible,” LoveYourself Executive Director Ronivin G. Pagtakhan.

SERVICE COFFEE: Simon Abrahan, a LoveYourself volunteer, makes a coffee for the visiting clients for their HIV testing and other sexual health concerns. LoveYourself had a soft launch of its first-ever community center in Cebu City called LoveYourself White House on April 6. The community center is cafĂ© inspired to imbibe a safe space for all its stakeholders, while waiting for their test results.
LoveYourself White House is located at 40 Don Julio Llorente St., Cebu City. The community center’s operating schedule is from Wednesdays to Sundays from 12:00 nn to 9:00 p.m.

According to LoveYourself Cebu Head Jan Shaltiel Vincent Estrada, “After our initial approach six years ago, we finally have established this one-stop shop community center right at the heart of Cebu city, and it offers a safe space and free cup of coffee for Cebu clients.”

Latest data from the Department of Health, total reported HIV cases from Central Visayas since 1984 already reached 5,773. In February 2019 alone, the region has a total of 90 reported cases that placed it 4th with the highest incidence rate the Philippines at 9%.

LoveYourself is an organization mostly made up of volunteers who take multi-layered action on the HIV epidemic by promoting self-worth and the so-called TSC concept, which means “timely testing and treatment, safe and satisfying sex, and correct and consistent use of condom” as ways to protect one’s self from doing risky behaviors.

LoveYourself’s existing community centers are LoveYourself Anglo (Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong City), LoveYourself Uni (Gil Puyat-Taft Ave., Pasay City), Victoria by LoveYourself (Libertad, Pasay City), LoveYourself Welcome (Blumentritt, Manila) and Lily by LoveYourself (San Martin De Porres, Paranaque City).

These community centers are supported by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), Save the Children Foundation and Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. as well as MACARE Laboratories.