Sunday, April 26, 2020

Pia, Catriona and various artists' Rise As One' for the HIV and COVID-19 causes

MANDALUYONG CITY (21 April 2020) – Miss  Universe Titleholders Pia Wurtzbach and Catriona Gray headlined the Rise As One: An Online Concert that happened last April 12 at the Champion Community Centers' Facebook page.

The Champion Community Centers, alongside the movers in the HIV advocacy, have banded together to send a message of hope and love to the country, amidst the COVID-19 and extended community quarantine situation.



Wurtzbach, also the UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Asia and the Pacific, encouraged the people to prioritize their physical health. She advised to continue following measures to avoid COVID-19, and for people living with HIV (PLHIV) to keep a stock of their antiretroviral medicines to secure an undetectable status, since undetectable equals untransmittable (U=U).

Gray, an HIV advocate, empathized with the members of the HIV community for the medical assistance they need despite the ongoing enhanced community quarantine. She also advised reaching out and getting the needed assistance since the government and communities in the advocacy, such as LoveYourself, are here to support, and help is only a call or a message away.



Moreover, Gray also launched at the online concert the pioneering HIV self-screening program in the country of LoveYourself called SelfCare. Gray and Mga Batang Poz star, Paolo Gumabao are the ambassadors of the program. SelfCare is a demonstration study implemented by LoveYourself, in partnership with the University of the Philippines - Manila, the Department of Health - Regional Office 7, with support from various partners and regional agencies.

Fellow beauty queen and LoveYourself ambassador, Gazini Ganados, also graced the event with a reassuring message as the world endures the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. She dedicated her message to those people affected by the virus, especially the front-liners and those with a compromised immune system like the elderly and PLHIV.

The online concert features a heartfelt rendition of Lean On Me by Bill Withers from Katrina Velarde and her vocalist friends: Angeline Quinto, Daryl Ong, Michael Pangilinan, Eumee Capile, Kim Molina, Lucas Garcia, Rhap Salazar, Yuki Ito, Monique Lualhati, Chloe Redondo, Jeniffer Catayong, Alvin Chea, Andre De Santanna, Dea Formilleza, Mike Shapiro, and Dessa Salazar.



A premier wedding band, 3rd Avenue, offered two songs, Heal the World by Micheal Jackson and Imagine by John Lennon. Filipino Drag Queens: Lady Gagita, Dee Dee Marie Holliday, JCourse, Viñas, Turing, Aries Night, Victoria Salt, and many more, showcased stunning lip synchronization performances of various artists.

Members of the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), Jimi Marquez, and Anna Fegi also sang Lean On Me, but at the same time, supplemented by the messages of love and hope of volunteers around the country for the HIV community and COVID-19 affected families.

In a video message, UNAIDS Philippines Country Director Dr. Louie Ocampo said, "Protecting the rights and the health of all people will, in fact, help control the virus. UNAIDS is urging people to act with compassion, not stigma, and discrimination." Ocampo also encouraged governments to provide a comprehensive health response in resolving the HIV and COVID-19 pandemics.

In respect to HIV prevention, 2018 Ten Outstanding Young People of the World awardee and LoveYourself Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Ronivin Pagtakhan, inspired that great strides were made in suppressing the spread of the virus, and save more people from it. "[HIV] It's not a death sentence anymore. You can live your full life even with HIV by taking your medications regularly."



He also informed of the available HIV combination prevention methods, such as condoms and lubricants, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) or a pill an HIV negative person takes before being potentially exposed to HIV, Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) or a pill an HIV negative person can take right after a potential exposure to HIV, and adherence to treatment of PLHIV that can result in undetectable viral load status or a condition where the HIV can no longer be transmitted to another person.
LoveYourself also launched at the Rise As One concert its telehealth program called, iCON or interactive consultation. This program enables clients to consult with a healthcare professional for their medical needs amidst the imposition of the ECQ. To schedule an appointment, clients can register at go.loveyourself.ph/iCON.
Also, the organization reiterated its LoveYourself Xpress Refill program that enables PLHIV clients and non-clients to restock on their life-saving medicines. To register, visit go.loveyourself.ph/XpressRefill. Clients may also call the Xpress refill hotlines at:
• Anglo (Mandaluyong): 0920 502 1007 | 0999 529 2330 | 0956 615 1230 | 0915 310 7336
• Victoria (Pasay): 09995292399 | 09153107339 | 0915 831 8715
• Lily (Parañaque): 0917 155 5955 | 0928 689 6422
• Welcome (Manila): 0967 207 1976
• Hero (Bacoor, Cavite): 0956 490 3747 | 0906 483 9040
• White House (Cebu City): 0961 573 6493

Rise as One: An Online is a collaboration of Sustainability of HIV Services for Key Populations in Asia (SKPA), LoveYourself, Inc., Australian Federation of AIDS Organizations (AFAO), Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI), Global Fund – Accelerating Community Engagement and Response on HIV/AIDS Prevention (ACER) Project, Chembio Diagnostic Systems, Inc., PhilHealth, UNAIDS-Philippines, and Champion Community Centers.


Champion Community Centers include Lakan Community Center and YCAP Community Center in Pampanga; AVES Community Based Organization and HERO by LoveYourself in Cavite; Amos Tara Community Center in Puerto Princesa City; Bagani Community Center in Bacolod City; Rajah Community Center and KnowTell Center in Iloilo City; Atma Prema Community Center, LoveYourself White House and Vibe Community Center in Cebu City, Mujer Community Center in Zamboanga City; Oro Pia Community Center in Cagayan De Oro; Olympus Community Center Society in Davao City; and HASH-HIV & AIDS Support House, Inc., Lily by LoveYourself in Metro Manila.