For more than 10 years, I’ve consistently visited an orphanage. I usually went with officemates and friends. It was an annual (sometimes twice a year) event for me, a way to give thanks and share my blessings to little orphaned kids. Early this year, I decided to switch my outreach from kids to senior citizens — of the Home for the Golden Gays. However, since June 2011, I made another turn, another decision. That is to spend more time helping my community, the MSM (men who have sex with men) community, to stop the spread of HIV.
It needed several suddenly-dead friends and a bunch of recently diagnosed HIV-positive close friends to jolt me to making the decision. It opened my eyes. And as I looked out further into the horizon, the situation wasn’t better than I thought. Suddenly, young gay men have started dropping like flies. Mysterious illnesses, sudden deaths. I thought, this has got to stop. It has got to stop. HIV is painfully driving home a point: The virus is here, and it is, not in far-away lands but here, already within our circles. The epidemic-like spread of HIV can potentially decimate a whole subpopulation very quickly. I am saying it too technically, so let me rephrase. HIV has been killing my friends and loved ones. HIV has been killing yours too. It can kill me. It can kill you too.
Morbid, but true. I am saying this because there is a way out to this. There is a way to stop the silently spreading wildfire razing the Philippines’ MSM population. We know that among many ways, it is through behavior modification via impactful peer education and counseling. This is the reason why my group, The Love Yourself Project, has decided to focus on this. Education and counseling.
Today is my birthday. Every year, during this time, many people ask me, what do you want for your birthday, Migs? In the past, I always just smile and say, “I don’t need anything else but your love and friendship.” This year, this time, I have a different answer.
I want your material gifts. I want your money. All so we can enable impactful educational programs and counseling to stop the spread of HIV. I want all of us to be well and healthy. So for my birthday, I would still request for your love and friendship — but this time, I would add: as your gift, please donate to The Love Yourself Project.
Here’s how: Register (if you haven’t yet) and logon to http://groupon.ph/ – there’s a donation campaign for The Love Yourself Project starting 9/11. Donate P100, P400, or P1,000! Frenzy the condom-maker has agreed to match each donation with condoms that we, The Love Yourself Project, can distribute for free among participants of our education and counseling programs.