December 1, 2014 – 2PM
In observance of World AIDS Day, the U.S. Embassy in Manila, in partnership with Miriam College-Women and Gender Institute, will hold a forum entitled “Knowing is Living” on December 1, 2014 starting 2:00PM (Philippine Standard Time).
The event will be livestreamed to the public online. There will also be viewing parties in Cebu and Davao at the American Corners.
The forum provides an opportunity to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS and encourage HIV testing. Speakers include people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) who strongly advocate for HIV/AIDS education and support campaigns to provide better services for PLHIV. Other speakers will also discuss the importance of HIV/AIDS testing and procedures.
– Wanggo Gallaga
Person living with HIV, writer and HIV advocate
Wanggo Gallaga publicly disclosed his HIV status on World AIDS Day in 2008. Since then, he has been sharing his story in television, radio, articles in magazines and newspapers, and live events to raise awareness about HIV.
Wanggo is a freelance writer who contributes to magazines and websites and mostly writes reviews on film and plays. He also writes poetry and film and has written the movies Sonata and T’yanak.
– Ronivin Pagtakhan
Executive Director, Love Yourself
Ronnievinn Garcia Pagtakhan is a registered nurse in the Philippines and US. He is a graduate of the University of the Philippines Manila where he took his BS Nursing degree with honors, and PWU and UP Manila for his MA and MS Nursing degree.
He has been an educator since he was 19, and currently a faculty member of Mapua Institute of Technology, Centro Escolar University, UP core-group review CENE LEARN and other national nursing board review centers around the Philippines. He was among the topnotchers for the nursing board exam in 2004 and a university scholar.
He has been active in socio-civic activities since his college days where he was part of the UP USC (student council)
He co-authored a book entitled National Board Exam Review Notes by CENE publishing. He was recognized recently after won the 2011 Twitter Oscars Shorty Awards as the Nurse of the Year (@twitrnurse), the first Filipino to win the said international awards.
He was one of the 2011 MAPUA’s most outstanding professors. He is a DOH certified HIV Counselor, RItM change agent, Peer Educator and certified DOH Trainer. He is currently pursuing a degree in medicine while doing Love Yourself.
– Elena Felix
Person living with HIV
Elena Felix is a mother of four, a single parent, and a person living with HIV (PLHIV). She was as an overseas Filipino worker in the Middle East. Felix was diagnosed as HIV positive in 1994. When she found out about her illness, she did not see a doctor for more than 10 years until she felt a lump in her stomach in 2005. The lump in her stomach was apparently a myoma and she had to undergo an operation. She then experienced discrimination when she disclosed her condition. When Felix saw that her children too were being affected by the stigma, she struggled and decided to fight against it. With the help of some NGOs that are working with PLHIV, she educated herself about the disease. She became active volunteer in the care and support groups that educate on HIV and AIDS and its modes of transmission. As of today, she is the only publicly-known PLHIV in the Philippines.
Felix was part of the founding of Babae Plus, an organization of women living with HIV. She is also a member of the Network to Stop AIDS.
– Dr. Katerina “Kate” Tolentino Leyritana
Medical Director, The SHIP Foundation Clinic
Dr. Kate Leyritana serves as Medical Director of The SHIP Foundation’s Clinic. The SHIP foundation is an NGO, non-profit institution that caters to the sexual well-being and needs of every Filipino, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. It provides services that range from HIV-screening, laboratory tests for all kind, sexually transmitted infection treatment and management, HIV treatment, care and support provision, HIV and STI prevention, and other health-related complications management.
Leyritana also serves as the Medical Director of Re Focus Initiative Inc. (Sustained Health Initiatives in the Philippines) and Consultant of the United Doctors Medical Center in Manila.
Leyritana is a recipient of prominent awards for her researches on infectious diseases. In 2013, she received the International Investigator Award by the Infectious Diseases Society of America-Medical Association in San Francisco California for her research, “The changing epidemiology of the HIV-positive patient before and after accessible anti-retroviral therapy: areas for intervention in the time of a national epidemic.”
Dr. Leyritana finished her degree in Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, and Doctor of Medicine at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.