How a Photo of a Tarpaulin Sparked a Discussion on HIV Prevention (Cosmopolitan Philippines)

So there was a little stir in the Internet a few days ago. A group I respect and admire a lot, the Love Yourself organization, held an HIV testing outreach to a school in the city along with TestMNL, a new NGO focused on HIV testing that I’ve come across on Twitter. They had promotional banners at their testing site on campus and their slogan was “Suck F*#k Test Repeat” and it came under fire by a youth group called Youth 4 Life, which advocates strongly on Christian ideals.

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 8.16.30 PM

I think this is part of the promotional materials of the event — I just took a screen cap from the article

I was called in by Yvette Tan, a good friend and a brilliant award-winning writer, to give my opinions about this issue. So we had a long chat on FB and I got to say a lot of things that I’ve been thinking about recently.

Some things I said which got quoted on the article:

And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with advocating for abstinence and fidelity (see above, where they’re both listed as ways to NOT get HIV), these are the same methods that have been advocated for the past 20 to 30 years. “No one is listening. The youth are having sex anyway,” he says. “The value systems of the new generation have changed. Whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, I don’t know. I’m not going to judge. But we have a problem and we can address that problem. You can’t force someone to adopt a value system.”

Actually, a lot of what I said came into the article. In fact, it became a one-on-one discussion between myself and Yvette, as the organizers and members of Love Yourself, Test MNL, and Youth 4 Life never replied to her questions.

It’s a long read but I get to cover a lot of ground here since I pretty much get to talk through the whole article.

Read the article here: How a Photo of a Tarpaulin Sparked a Discussion on HIV Prevention by Yvette Tan (Cosmopolitan — Philippines).

I would like to reiterate that I have the highest respect and admiration and even gratitude to the people behind Love Yourself and I support them in all that I do. When people message me with their HIV problems or fears, I always point them towards Love Yourself because if anyone knows what to do, it would be them. I’ve only heard of Test MNL so I can’t vouch for them just yet but I am and will always be supportive of every new organization that is trying to make HIV testing accessible to the public.

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