Thursday, April 18, 2024

EpiC FREE TO BE U Campaign Launches Inspiring Videos to fight HIV stigma

EpiC FREE TO BE U Campaign Launches Inspiring Videos to fight HIV stigma

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The FREE TO BE U campaign recently released The Positive Lifestyle, a series of powerful and inspiring videos designed to raise awareness about, foster empathy for, and help empower people living with HIV (PLHIV). The FREE TO BE U Campaign recognizes that a key component in the fight against HIV stigma is not just knowledge, but empathy. Through these videos, the campaign is dispelling misconceptions, promoting acceptance, and encouraging viewers to connect to PLHIV as they share their personal stories. Most importantly, once conversations around HIV are no longer stigmatized, people can freely access HIV services through tools. The videos are available  on the campaign’s Facebook and Youtube accounts.

“We are excited to announce the release of these eleven entertaining yet enlightening videos. We hope that they can make an impact in eradicating stigma around HIV in the country, as well as educate the public about the everyday lives of people living with HIV,” said Teresita Marie Bagasao, Project Director of the Meeting Targets and Maintaining Epidemic Control (EpiC) project.

One of the videos features Drag Den Philippines Winner NAIA (@naiablack_ on IG) talking to Jabar Esmael, a PLHIV advocate, while having their make-up done. Jabar talks about his experience right after learning he was HIV-positive and what made him decide to get treatment. Another video shows how a person living with HIV can maintain a healthy lifestyle and adhere to treatment via proper nutrition in a fun, cooking show setting.

By developing these videos, FREE TO BE U seeks to promote acceptance and inclusivity, break stereotypes, and shift the narrative when it comes to people living with HIV. Each video provides unique perspectives on the daily lives of people living with HIV, revealing marginalized people whose voices need to be heard and whose days are filled with challenges, but also beauty and fun.

Teresita Marie Bagasao added, “This initiative not only shows the realities of people living with HIV, but it also promotes QuickRes.org, an online booking application for HIV services in the country. It is not enough that we normalize conversations about HIV. We also need to provide information about access points for free HIV services.”

QuickRes is an online booking application where anyone can easily book an appointment for HIV and sexual health services using their smartphone, tablet, or laptop. It is a global platform brought by the campaign here in the Philippines, with the country being the top user globally within a year.

The FREE TO BE U campaign was launched in 2022 by the Meeting Targets and Maintaining Epidemic Control (EpiC) project, in collaboration with the Department of Health (DOH) Healthy Pilipinas . EpiC is led by FHI 360 and funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).This partnership kicked off last February during the Festival of Love event. The campaign has also organized the QUILTS Awards — which honors health facilities and partner organizations that have provided exceptional care and treatment to people living with HIV— for the past two years.

To learn more about the FREE TO BE U campaign, visit: https://www.facebook.com/FreeToBeUPH

You can access QuickRes on their website: https://quickres.org/233