Saturday, August 15, 2020

#SaferNowPH Webinar on Biomedical HIV Prevention Methods


MANILA, PHILIPPINES, August 13, 2020 – In celebration of the community-led 2020 Philippine National HIV Prevention Month (NHPM), the #SaferNowPH campaign will hold a webinar on biomedical prevention methods on August 15, 2020, at 5:00 PM.

Utilizing the Philippine NHPM social media pages @HIVPrevMonthPH, the webinar will tackle the prophylactic medicines for HIV, including Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).

PrEP is a daily medicine that prevents people, especially those at risk, from acquiring HIV. If taken correctly and consistently, PrEP can provide up to 99% protection.

PEP, on the other hand, is an emergency medicine taken immediately within 72 hours after a possible HIV exposure and continued for 28 days to reduce the risk of HIV infection by over 80%.

Learn more about these innovative HIV prevention methods with guest HIV physicians: Dr. Patrick Eustaquio of LoveYourself, Inc. and Dr. Kate Leyritana of Sustained Health Initiatives of the Philippines (SHIP) during the PrEP and PEP day celebration for NHPM 2020. The doctors will be discussing the effectiveness, safety, access to, and administration of these HIV preventive medicines. 

Additionally, industry experts from the HIV community and service providers are invited to entertain inquiries about each method. HIV experts include Danvic Rosadiño, the lead convenor Kalasag PrEP Network, Dr. Mary Ann Joy Aguadera, the HUB chair at Manila Doctor’s Hospital, and Kenneth Samaco, HIV consultant of the World Health Organization Philippines.

This year is the first-ever holding of the Philippine NHPM, which was kicked-off last July 31. To be celebrated every July of each year, the NHPM is an initiative aligned with Presidential Proclamation No. 971, signed last June 23, declaring the second week of July as Infection Prevention and Control Week. 

This year’s NHPM theme is “SaferNow,” which promotes the HIV combination prevention methods, including condoms and lubricants, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and antiretroviral treatment as prevention (TasP). The “SaferNow” campaign has a series of online activities scheduled during the month-long celebration:

  • July 31 – Kick Off and Launch
  • August 8 – Condoms and Lube Day
  • August 15 – PrEP and PEP Day
  • August 22 – Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) Day
  • August 29 – Culmination Activity 

This intensified effort is also in response to the DOH’s report of 2,818 newly diagnosed Filipinos with HIV from January to March 2020. The age group of 25-34 year-olds has the highest incidence with 1,359, followed by 15-24 year-olds with 834.

The NHPM is spearheaded by the Global Fund Sustainability of HIV Services for Key Populations in Asia (SKPA) Program and CHAMPION Community Centers network; co-presented by AIDS Healthcare Foundation; sponsored by Rotary Club of Cubao Quezon City District 3780; also brought to you by Durex, Lauvette, 3M, Bliss Four, LUBIE, ChloRelief, Usana Philippines, EZ Lubricating Jelly, Premiere Condoms, Liquor Bouquet Philippines; and supported by UNAIDS Philippines, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, APCOM, and LoveYourself, Inc. 

Community-based organizations around the country offering HIV-related services will conduct parallel activities to support this national event.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

National HIV Prevention Month 2020: #SaferNow Launches on August 2, 2020

By Tino Largado

LoveYourself’s unwavering advocacy on HIV prevention forges ahead, in support of National HIV Prevention Month (NHPM) this August 2020. With the support of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organizations (AFAO) through its Sustainability of HIV Services for Key Populations in Asia Program (SKPA Program), and together with Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Champion Community Centers, and key stakeholders, we’re expanding our reach to key communities in engaging and educating about HIV combination prevention. 

Carrying the theme #SaferNowPH in its inaugural year, the activities and events all throughout the NHPM aim at reinforcing the Combination Prevention (CombiPrev) strategy in fighting HIV. During The Big Opening virtual launch event streamed via Facebook Live on August 2, 2020, Danvic Rosadiño explained that CombiPrev is a “multitude of options to clients so they have a way to prevent HIV.” As clients vary in lifestyle and needs, this approach allows them to pick and combine more than one option to remain safe against HIV. Rosadiño also added that even for people living with HIV (PLHIV), methods are available to make it easier for them to “live a happy, healthy life.”

CombiPrev consists of condoms and lubes, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and for PLHIVs, maximizing timely and consistent anti-retroviral treatment as prevention (TasP). With HIV testing still a crucial step in determining one’s HIV status, anyone can now identify which prevention methods fit them perfectly. Combining these prevention ways truly help keep any individual #SaferNow:
  • Correct use of condoms and lubes prevent the transmission, not only of HIV, but also other sexually-transmitted infections (STIs).
  • When taken continuously as prescribed, PrEP is proven 90% effective against acquiring HIV
  • PEP may be taken within 72 hours of potential exposure to HIV risks to avoid transmission
  • Anti-retrorival treatment drugs help PLHIVs lower their viral load to Undetectable levels, a goal which makes the virus no longer transmissible (Undetectable=Untransmittable or U=U)
LoveYourself curbs its services to adapt with the changes brought about by the ongoing pandemic, by making sure that clients and volunteers are both kept safe while CombiPrev methods and key services are made available. From appointment systems and virtual consultations through ICON, to online delivery options for refills, clients can continue to rely on LoveYourself for HIV prevention methods.

Watch out for various events all throughout the month of August to celebrate NHPM, and let us all explore and experience ways to be #SaferNow. 

Feel free to watch The Big Opening launch here.

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

LoveYourself Anglo Gets Certified as rHIVda Confirmatory Laboratory

By LoveYourself Communications

MANDALUYONG CITY - LoveYourself Anglo was certified as a Rapid HIV Diagnostic Algorithm (rHIVda) Confirmatory Laboratory on June 30, 2020. Certified by the Department of Health (DOH), the community center’s diagnostic laboratory is equipped to conduct confirmatory testing without the need to send samples to the National Reference Laboratory-San Lazaro Hospital-STD/AIDS Cooperative Central Laboratory (NRL-SLH/SACCL) for reactive cases.

“I would like to express my gratitude to our hardworking laboratory and community well-being team for making this happen. Hopefully more Filipinos are able to access their treatment more efficiently with this system shift.” said Ronivin Pagtakhan, LoveYourself Executive Director.

The Health Technology Assessment Study Group of the Health Policy Development and Planning Bureau of the DOH changed the diagnostic algorithm of HIV in the country. This was mainly due to the need to respond to the exponential increase in HIV infection in recent years, and the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC)/Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) to discontinue the use of HIV-1 Western blot in the diagnostic algorithm. This also gives an opportunity for the confirmatory test procedures for HIV to be decentralized, making access to confirmatory testing much easier.

LoveYourself offers free and confidential HIV testing, pre and post test counseling, and treatment for all regardless of sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression. Moreover, LoveYourself Anglo offers life coaching services for newly diagnosed PLHIV clients enrolled in its treatment program to guide them in their journey towards acceptance of self and proper health management. Book an appointment here.