In March alone, there were 986 new HIV diagnoses in the Philippines and one group is trying to get the message out to make sure you get tested regularly
‘Suck F*#k Test Repeat’, is the attention grabbing message to promote a month of HIV testing awareness in The Philippines.
The country’s leading HIV testing and treatment, LoveYourself, has kicked off its HIV testing activities this month.
‘We prepared a series of activities this May to instill in the consciousness of the key target populations the importance of taking care of one’s self, especially in terms of their sexual health,’ said LoveYourself Executive Director Ronivin G. Pagtakhan.
‘We envision to make HIV testing in the country to be treated as a regular medical routine erasing the stigma attached to it, especially for the vulnerable populations to further protect themselves and their love ones.’
In March, there were 968 new HIV diagnoses in the Philippines which Pagtakhan said inspired his group to keep fighting for the cause.
The LoveYourself team is going around the country setting up testing centres and are targeting young people. They’ve headed to the party island Barcay, will next head to university campuses and arts festivals.
At the end of the month they will hold the biggest HIV testing day across eight hours in Malate.
End stigma now
‘We are specifically targeting the youth sector due to the rising vulnerability of this population to HIV infection, in which 830 individuals aged 15 to 24 are diagnosed with HIV in the first quarter of the year alone,’ Pagtakhan said.
He knows the campaign’s tagline ‘Suck F*#k Test Repeat’ is creating a lot of buzz but Pagtakhan it’s necessary.
‘The tagline is blunt, because we want to emphasize to the people the importance of repeating the test and protecting themselves more than anything else,’ he said.
‘Many people are still stigmatized, so we needed an aggressive campaign to rally against this disease.’