SOME 30 volunteers took part in the #SaveSexy Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) awareness campaign held at the People's Park in Davao City, Sunday, March 19.
#SaveSexy is a campaign started in 2014 on a Labor Day weekend in Boracay island. It was "a small-scale guerrilla-type HIV awareness campaign" started by The Red Whistle (TRW) targetting the youth who troop to the island, TRWs website reads.
The activity held this year is a first in Davao City in partnership with Save the Children Philippines (SCP), Department of Health (DOH), Reproductive Health & Wellness Center (RHWC), Crocodile Park and Olympus Society of Davao.
The organization, through their spokespersons and partnered brands, raise funds to provide free testing, counseling and financial support to People Living with HIV, an online listing on organizations in the country that promote HIV awareness.
SCP area coordinator Juan Roxas, in a separate interview, said the annual activity aims to promote HIV testing and to help the people on their next step on how to deal with the result.
"We've been to different regions from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Tapos na kami sa Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro and now we are in Davao. We are here to encourage the people to know their HIV status and how to take care of their health kasi malaking bagay yung alam nila yung status nila," he said.
According to the lastest HIV registry of the Philippines, there are 26 new reported cases of HIV in the Philippines every day.
RHWC head Dr. Jordana Ramiterre, said they have several activities to promote prevention education to decrease the rising numbers of HIV registry.
"One of them is the RHWC clinic that provides services under the information education and communication program. We also have peer end program which is augmented of the global fund of SCP. Meron din tayong additional personel and they are in charge of being peer educators, silayung naga reach sa community to promote testing," she said.
During the activity, the 30 volunteers were divided into three groups with corresponding celebrity leaders in each to finish the amazing race inspired activity.
GMA Brazilian actress Daiana Menezes led the Team Courage as Juan Direction member Charlie Sutcliffe ushered Team Aware while television actor JC Santos led Team Act.
The volunteers were tasked to finish the three pit stops with the main objective of encouraging the community to take an HIV test.
The first pit stop was at the People's Park wherein each team should finish zumba challenge, repacking challenge, putting up the team flag and HIV 101.
The second and third pit stops, meanwhile, was held at the Crocodile Park where a total of four sporting events including football, volleyball, frisbee and crossfit were staged simultaneously along with the puzzle challenge, emoji challenge and another HIV 101.
Team Courage member Nolan Albano, 22, in an interview with SunStar Davao, said having this kind of event helps the community to become more aware on the deadly virus and how to prevent it.
"It's an honor for me to help and to spread the news about HIV and how it’s been acquired. It is also an amazing experience with the celebrities helping each other to come up with one goal," he said.
#SaveSexy will return to Marikina City this month and will be going to Boracay the following month for the final leg of the annual event.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 20, 2017.
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