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WHAT IS HIV? Get it straight from Miss Universe 2015 and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Asia and the Pacific, Pia Wurtzbach.

Watch the video to learn how HIV is transmitted and how you can protect yourself. Take control of your life. Get tested and know your status.

For free and confidential HIV testing, you can go to any of these three clinics in Metro Manila: LoveYourself Uni, LoveYourself Anglo, Victoria by LoveYourself. Walk-ins are welcome and HIV test results in 1-2 hours!

INCOGNITO is the only free, quick, and confidential (NO NAMES!) HIV test in the country today.

Free – wala pong bayad

Quick – 15 minutes after a pin-prick, you get to know your results

Confidential – no need to fill-out forms with your name

November 27, 2016, Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Victoria Court Malate

To get reminders/details, pre-register your contact details here


1. Be Anonymous: Upon your arrival at Victoria Court Malate, you will get a number and unique identifier code.
2. Take the Test: you will undergo a rapid screening with blood extracted by a simple prick on your finger using disposable one-time-use sanitary needles.
3. Have the Results: while waiting for the results, your counsellor will discuss with you safer sex practices to lower your risk of HIV infection and your results. It only takes 15 minutes to know the results after blood extraction.

hi there Migs!

I’ve been an avid reader of your blog ever since you started writing about HIV Awareness. I’m a fan actually of how you made it into a personal advocacy of yours to ensure that PLUs are given the right information when it comes to this condition. I dont know if you’ll take interest in my story but I’d like to share it anyway, in the hope that maybe I would find a confidant or a support group that will help me through this ordeal, however trivial it maybe. And who knows, I might be an advocate myself.

Very recently, I was subject to my very first HIV scare, you see, I’ve always been reading your blog but I never really got the urge to do it myself. I was like an audience on the sidelines waiting for my turn on the spotlight, and just a week ago, I had to face the truth. It was through your blog that I found my way through one of the testing centers in Manila, RITM. If not for your blog, I wouldn’t have made it there. The group who accommodated me were very nice, I felt no judgement in that room although there were a couple of people who were having their tests done as well.

My peer counselor, Joseph, was kind enough to walk me through the process. I felt a sigh of relief being able to talk to someone about it without the unintended and unsolicited judgment that I didnt need at such a desolate time.

The test was quick and it was a breeze, it didnt feel like an hour of waiting because I had something to keep my mind preoccupied. But as the time came, I felt that sudden urge to break down. but as I said to my counselor, this is the first time I’m going to be tested for HIV, the first time I ever subjected myself to unprotected sex and the last time, if indeed the results come out positive that I will be having this moment.

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Minsan nakapanlulumo rin. Well, choice ko naman kasi ito, but still, it doesn’t take away the fact that I feel like this right now. To regularly stay at the darker folds of the rainbow, it can wear you down, it wears me down.

Almost every weekend, I spend volunteer time sa isang HIV testing clinic. Halos walang mintis I get clients na who turn out to be positive sa HIV. It’s my job to ensure that at that moment they get to know about their status, they have someone to talk to, they are supported with the right information, the right next steps to take, etc. etc. There were quite a few times when my poz clients would instantly break down. Understandable naman. Bilang HIV is, ika nga, a lifetime achievement award. Tattoo sa dugo, walang erase-erase. Habambuhay nilang dala-dala ang katotohanang sila ay may HIV. On the one hand, it’s not all that bad, many of my poz friends lead normal, happy lives. On the other hand though, of course, it’s not the same as when you’re HIV-free. They got to deal with so much — the meds, its effects, the adjustments in lifestyle, the stigma, the major secret, the fear of being rejected, the guilt, etc. Sa madaling salita, mahirap talaga kapag may HIV.

One time, pagkatapos ng isang mahaba-habang conversation, matapos makauwi ng aking kliyente, nakatanggap ako ng text mula sa kanya.

“Salamat ha, Migs. I think this is going to be a tough battle pero kakayanin ko ito. I’m a strong person.”

“Yes, of course kaya iyan. Basta if you need someone to talk to, just let me know, ok?”

“Salamat. I really appreciate being able to talk to you. Salamat talaga. Kaya pramis kapag namatay ako, dadalawin kita.”

Yes, some of my clients have a demented sense of humor. But I guess okay na rin iyon. Ganyan naman talaga tayong mga bakla, one of our best armors is humor.

Another text conversation with another newly diagnosed PLHIV (person living with HIV) client:

“Hey Migs. Just got home from the treatment hub, had my baseline and TB tests.”

“Hey hey. Good good. O, kamusta?”

“Ayun, may TB pala ako. And since my CD4 is 148, safe to say I would have died next year had I not seen your blog. Lovely.”

So, yeah, this guy is kind of saying, “it’s tragic, but thanks.” At least that’s how I interpret it. May sarcasm na halong gratitude na halong ewan. But basically, as I always say, knowing your HIV status is still the best place to be. It may be tragic, dramatic, or whatever way you want to call it, but it still is where you have the best control of the situation. Those who have died too soon mostly knew their status too late, or never even.

Admittedly this being at the darker folds of the rainbow comes with sparks of light and bright. Andiyan ang realization na kahit papaano, nakakatulong ka. Kahit papaano, may kabuluhan ang presensiya mo sa mundong ibabaw, para nang sa gayon, kapag pumailalim ka na (sa mundong ibabaw), masasabi rin namang may nagawa kang kabutihan. Pero more than this, ang napansin ko lang ay ganito. Sa araw-araw na dumaraan, bagaman pagod at pagal sa trabaho at adbokasiya, maraming beses na hindi ko mawari kung bakit may nararamdaman akong kakaibang kaluwagan at kaginhawahan sa aking dibdib. Naisip ko, ito siguro yung tinatawag na grasya. Biyayang kahit narito ka pa man din sa lupa ay may katiting na langit nang nakasilid sa iyong kalooban.

At sa araw-araw na pa-slide-slide ko sa rainbow, sa panaka-nakang pagsiksik ko sa darker folds nito, halong maigting na pasasalamat at taimtim na panalangin ang bulong ko — sana, ikaw na nagbabasa nito, alagaan mo ang sarili mo. May nagmamahal sa iyo, at bagama’t hindi pa tayo magkakilala, asahan mong isa ako rito.

World Peace.

Love yourself dude,

‎”When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else.” — Iyanla Vanzant

Below is the first email I received today. It’s from my friend Dennis (not his real name). He was a fuck buddy for a short time. Then we became good friends. When I became quite active in the HIV advocacy he was one of the first folks I tried to persuade to take the test. It took a while for him to agree. It turned out he was positive. He promised to write about being a person living with HIV. Today, he sent me this. Read on.

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Magiisang taon na nang malaman kong HIV positive ako, pero hindi pa rin ako naiyak. Hindi ko naman pinipigilan, kung tutuusin nga ay pinipilit ko pa dahil yun ang dapat. Kaya ako nagsusulat ngayon para maiyak, at sana pag natapos ko to, gusto ko humahagulgol na ko. Hanggang ngayon, wala akong pinagsabihan nito, ayoko silang malungkot para sakin.

Siguro dahil ako yung tipo ng taong madaling tanggapin ang mga bagay na hindi ko na kayang baguhin. Lumaki akong positibo ang pananaw sa buhay, at lagi kong napapatunayan na ang mga hindi magandang pangyayari ay may magandang dahilan.

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It was June of 2011, a friend invited me to a birthday dinner somewhere in Greenhills, in a nice Thai restaurant owned and operated by a gay couple named James and James. There I met several interesting people, mostly gay men, mostly members of the alta gays, as in alta sociedad (spoken with the obligatory lisp). But in the middle of all the chi-chi stuff going on, I noticed a very different species floating around, beckling beki of bekilandia proportions. His name, I would later find out, was Vinn Pagtakhan.

More than a birthday dinner, it was actually some sort of a meeting to discuss a new, emerging group that wanted to organize a community of volunteers to arrest the silent yet mind-blowing growth of HIV prevalence among young, gay and bisexual men in the country. I was there because I was personally very concerned. Earlier that month I had my very first HIV test, and while the result was negative (surprisingly!) I regardlessly broke down in front of my nurse-counselor. Why? Earlier that year, I’ve had 4 friends mysteriously and suddenly dying one after the other, dropping like flies. One day they were partying with me, the next I was in black attending their funeral. By the end of 2011, I had a total of 8 friends who died in much the same mysterious way. The whole thing was gradually but surely shaking me to the core.

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(Above is a photo of some of the pieces about to be mounted for our exhibit.)

As I was busy preparing for the male nudes photo-exhibit that will be opened today, Sunday, July 8, I received the following message from Facebook:

Hi Sir, I admire your work in pushing for HIV awareness and prevention. However, I find it strange for your group to feature/hold an exhibit that excites people sexually. Sex is the major contributor of HIV epidemic, most notably among gay men. Personally I find it ironic to hold a fundraising activity that contradicts the effort of pozzies to shy away from sex. It’s like adding insult to injury. Aren’t there any other creative methods to raise funds?

I was kind of taken aback with the thought that there was an assumption that the solution to the HIV epidemic is to shy away from sex. My first reaction to the above note was, well, sex is indeed a major contributor to the HIV epidemic, much as food is a major contributor to food poisoning — should everyone then shy away from food?

I am interested to know what your thoughts are on this, dear MGG readers. What do you think?

It starts like a painless prick in the mind — HIV? Me? Nah.

Then after a while, you remember those crazy times in the past. Yeah, you think, crazy but not too crazy as to put me at risk. Besides, the probability of getting it is too low. Malinis naman sila, I’m sure. You continue to attempt convincing yourself.

Time pass and you’re mostly successful in keeping those HIV thoughts at bay. Yet there were times, admit it, that the prick in the mind becomes a bit more intense. Did I really do it bareback? Can’t remember na. May condom naman yata. Yata? Shit, can’t remember na talaga.

Now it’s selective memory lapse. You think you were safe naman, most of the time, at the least. But you can’t seem to get the doubt off your mind. Suddenly, you don’t know, it is not clear if you really were safe.

Everytime you see those three letters HIV, there’s a slight skip in your heartbeat, a little lump in your throat forming. I think I have it. Maybe I have it. What if I have it?

It’s a creepy little bastard, because like a thief in the night, it blindsides you: you have started to trim your life plans and water down your dreams to accommodate the assumption that, maybe, you think, you feel, you have it. It’s a painless thought at first, a dull feeling after a while, but the longer you stay in the dark, the heavier it feels.

You busy yourself with stuff, with work, with parties, with anything that can fill your mind and keep it from focusing on HIV. Fuck that blog, now the only thing it talks about is HIV. You distract yourself to the hilt only to find a big white snorting elephant stuck in the meandering grooves of your brain. HIV, HIV, HIV, fuck.

You search online for symptoms. Fever, flu-like symptoms, rashes, diarrhea, but not for all, sometimes none at all. Symptoms only when it has advanced to AIDS, when the body has given up, when the virus has totally taken over. Scary shit. You slam a closed fist on the table, why wasn’t I careful kasi.

You consider getting yourself tested. You’re scared like a little kid about to get spanked, closing your eyes before you hear the leather belt whip and welt your skin.

You realize there is really no way out but through. If I don’t have HIV and I’m suffering this way, fuck, I’m such a worry wart punishing myself for nothing. If I do have HIV and I’m standing here doing nothing about it, then I’m really just letting this foul-smelling fear immobilize me. Like committing the most gradual suicide by slicing myself up part-by-little-part.

Part of you triumphs saying, it’s time. It’s time to unload the baggage. It’s time to use this energy, now in the form of fear, to propel myself forward. It’s time that I face that fear, ready to battle it tooth and nail.

* * *

Have you been thinking of getting tested? Perhaps you are not ready yet for testing but you want to talk to someone about it? Here’s the event for you. First, you will find here friendly, professional, and well-trained HIV educators and counselors. And, secondly, the event is scheduled on a Sunday! And very importantly, it will be held in a private (not in a government clinic) and discreet location, for your own privacy and convenience.

What: HIV Confidential Counseling and Testing – it’s FREE! No charge!
When: Sunday, 11 December 2011 (10am to 4pm)
Where: Playroom – 35 West Avenue, Quezon City

Yahoo News PH ran a story on the rapid increase of HIV infections here in the Philippines. The news was sad:

“New cases of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the country reached an all-time high of 204 in July this year, the highest number of new cases recorded by the Department of Health (DOH) in a month to date. The virus is now infecting seven Filipinos every 24 hours, up from last year’s average of five new HIV patients daily.”

But look at the comments the posting got from its readers:

CLAY: “ang solusyon dyan ay isa lang, PATAYIN ANG LAHAT NG BAKLA SA PILIPINAS. nyahaha”

EXPULSION: “Yan ang parusa ng dyos sa mga bading. Kahit kailan, kahit anong talino nyo kuno! Hindi kayo puwedeng sumuway sa utos ng dyos. Remember Sodom & Gomora.”


MAR: “wala kasi kulong sa ganyan tipo ng immorality so i think yan ang katapat na beware.”

MERCILESS DUDE: “Led by none other than the gays who always shout “discrimination”. Come to think of it, what good things are they contributing to humanity?”

WEAPON_Z: “Yung mga nagka-AIDS dahil sa sex, buti nga sa kanila. Be faithful kasi. Wag tira ng tira. Magsarili na lang kayo. Mas safe pa. Pero yung mga nahawa dahil sa blood transfer, don’t give up guys, I pray that you will be healed soon.”

MICHAEL: “I know a lot of people won’t want to hear this, but it doesn’t mean its not true: ‘Its God’s way of saying: may mali sa ginagawa niyo.'”

AUDEMARS: “tama! sana dumating ang panahon na makapagpasa ng batas para gawing legal ang pagpaslang sa mga homosexuals. They are disgrace to humanity. nakakadiri pinaggagagawa nila. I’m a Christian and we were thought to love the pokpoks and the homos. but it is so hard cause they keep on doing the same old dirty things, pathetic disgusting creatures! ugh.”

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Nagsikip ang dibdib ko sa mga comments.

Hi Migs,

I’m writing this letter because I’m confused about the mixed messages I’m getting. I completely adore your efforts to help gays (like us) overcome the HIV issues. It seems you have obligated yourself to this personal crusade and for that – you have my respect.

However, on top of the HIV awareness and all – should our people (gays) do more than that? Looking from my perspective who lived my years from a province, we have tolerated much of our sexual urges and such, the real root cause of this disease we’re trying to battle. Your confessions and to the rest of the contributors have openly proved that statement. I’ve been with the same guy for 6 years and I’m hoping you can educate me why do we continue to exploit these urges? I mean, look at your blog… Most of the pictures are coming from guys with only 1 garment…

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