Popcom denies promo material on HIV, AIDS

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -The Population Commission (POPCOM) here denied having anything to do with the promotional material which was trending on social media due to one of its tips on how to prevent HIV/AIDS by avoiding "sexual intercourse" with a homosexual.

"And though the said promotional material bore the logo of the Commission on Population particularly that of POPCOM Region VI, we are one with our fellow POPCOM regional office in strongly denying the production of the said material which included the misleading information offensive to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer (LGBTIQ) members," POPCOM Region III head Leonor Cura said in a statement.

POPCOM, from the Central Office to its regional offices, assured that all POPCOM-produced information, education, and communication materials are well-researched and are properly reviewed and approved. Furthermore, POPCOM Region III also reiterated POPCOM Region VI's statement that the agency "is a firm advocate of LGBTIQ rights and is working hard to end the stigma against LGBTIQ and HIV" through the conduct of programs, projects, and activities under the Philippine Population Management Program that also address the concerns of LGBTIQ members.

"POPCOM truly adheres [to] its advocacy to promote healthy lifestyle and responsible sexuality and assist the youth to avoid early sexual engagement, teenage pregnancies, early marriages, STIs and other psycho-social concerns by providing effective program strategies for the youth, considering their diverse socio-economic status, cultural background, age, sex, and gender within our rapidly changing environment," POPCOM added in a statement.

"A community with fair judgment and equality is what we aim in this country. As part of the health sector, proper health and wellness for everyone is our goal. Services must be given to people regardless of their race, social status, gender, sex and sexuality. We do not tolerate discrimination; we even fight against stigma and provide people with protection. We are advocates of [all] people's rights," said LGBT rights advocate and City of San Fernando Population Officer and Health Education and Promotions Officer Aylmer Alimurong said.

POPCOM Region III added that it understands that this incident should be taken as an appropriate avenue for everyone, from the public sector to its major stakeholders, to discuss more and not only about comprehensive and correct information.

"We ask for the support of regional and local partners, media, and all stakeholders concerned to help in appropriately propagating correct and comprehensive information through all possible means on sexuality and reproductive health as well as concerns and solutions to address the needs of all sectors of the population, LGBTIQ family and friends included," POPCOM added.

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