MANILA, Philippines—Love Yourself, the country’s fastest-growing HIV advocacy group with more than 200 trained volunteers, has launched its 2013 visual campaign dubbed ‘Project Indulge’ in collaboration with advertising agency Campaigns and Grey, and photographer Jeanne Young.
‘Project Indulge’ – a first-of-its-kind campaign, features provocative yet tasteful imagery coupled with insightful, witty ‘matter-of-fact’ copy that departs from the usual fear tactics of HIV awareness campaigns. It suggests that people include regular HIV testing as part of their personal grooming routine to stay healthy and sexy.
“We have to break away from ‘fear’ since it prevents sexually-active individuals to go for HIV testing which is why we help avoid the stigma behind it through awareness, education and counseling. And based on the results, we believe it is working,” says Chris Lagman, director for counseling and education for Love Yourself.
“Love Yourself has reach 2.5 million online — 2,253 of which were tested. Assistance for treatment were given to the 404 who tested positive,” he adds.
Chief Creative Officer of Campaigns & Grey, Ompong Remigio explains their participation: “We wanted to contribute to HIV awareness and encourage HIV testing and we found out that Love Yourself has a good understanding of the target audience. We believe that with this collaboration, we are doing our part in addressing the situation.”
Kit Guerra, Carlito Rosadino Jr and Jeremy Favia. So, what do these boys have in common? Their individual and unique sexiness and their willingness to take their shirts off to help the cause of Love Yourself.
Kit Guerra has been with the local rugby team, the Volcanoes, as a flanker for around 6 years now. He has modelled for Bench underwear in the controversial calendar and billboard shoot that featured the rugby team’s players. A graduate of Boston University with a major in Advertising, he has started working for Campaigns and Grey. CrossFit training is part of his routine almost twice a day to keep fit and prepare to compete in the 2013 CrossFit Games in June 2013. No, unfortunately he is straight and attached, with a 4-year long girlfriend based in Seattle. He has made it a habit to go for HIV screening regularly. This is his first chance to help out with the advocacy. “There is no need to be scared [about getting tested for HIV]. You get support every step of the way,” he says.
Carlito Rosadino Jr. is the current Mr. Gay World Philippines title holder, and has been an avid supporter of The Love Yourself, joining the advocacy in several events including last year’s Pride March in Makati. He is a trained contemporary, lyrical, folk and jazz dancer from the University of the Philippines where he was part of the UP FIlipiniana Dance Troupe, and after graduation, he has performed professionally for a number of local shows. He is currently in Dubai to pursue new opportunities. But before leaving, he obliged to help The Love Yourself Project this time by being part of this campaign.
Jeremy Favia is best known as a celebrity chef on TV5, with his shows “Chef vs. Mom” (awarded Best Lifestyle Programme category in the Asian TV Awards) and “Take-Out.” He claims to be a shy person in reality, but somehow landed a career in TV when he was urged by friends to audition for “Ka-Toque” at QTV 11. With “Take-Out” he gets to go around trying out unusual local fare, then prepares his own recipe take from his gastronomic experiences. Currently single, he says if he were to find someone special, “dapat mabait sya, maasikaso. Yung physical, bonus na lang yun. Age doesn’t matter. Number lang ‘yon.” He has friends who have admitted they were HIV positive, and he himself gets tested regularly. Chef Jeremy has this message for sexually-active people, “If you love yourself, get tested regularly.”
Love Yourself is also beefing up its efforts to roll out their new services, like the “ultra-discreet” and “ultra-premium” HIV testing service in Makati Central Business District called, “Love Yourself Platinum” (go.loveyourself.ph/platinum). The advocacy is also expanding soon in other key cities which includes Pasay, Cebu and in Angeles, Pampanga.
You can also visit the LoveYourself Hub (facebook.com/LoveYourselfHub), a Malate-based clinic open for testing from Thursdays to Mondays all year round.
Upcoming schedules will include Free HIV Testing events in Cebu on February 23 and in Manila on March 10. Interested individuals may visit go.LoveYourself.ph/Cebu and go.LoveYourself.ph/Manila for details.