We’re only a week away to Fit to Love: Love Your Body, Live Your Life, a photoshoot campaign for a cause by LoveYourself that promotes upholding your sexual, mental, and physical health. Register at go.loveyourself.ph/fittolove, and we’ll see you on March 17 and 18 at The Upper Deck Sports Center, 6/F Ortigas Technopoint Building, 1 Doña Julia Vargas Avenue, Pasig City.
You’ve read what being fit to love means to our ambassadors in our previous post. Here, they spill the craziest HIV myths they’ve heard and offer helpful information to debunk these common misconceptions. Read on and be inspired to put an end to HIV misinformation yourself.
DO YOUR PART
Actress Yasmien Kurdi, who appears in a TV advocacy series about HIV and AIDS, points out one of the top HIV myths and stresses the importance of coming together to raise awareness.
“Some think that they are immediately at risk of contracting HIV just by speaking to a person who tested positive with HIV. HIV is not airborne.
“Right information about HIV and AIDS should be disseminated to the society with the help of the government, NGOs, media, etc. My own little part now is to give justice to the character living with HIV – the role I’m playing in the advocacy series my network is offering to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS.”
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Makeup artist Jigs Mayuga, recalls one of the most infamous HIV urban legends from years back. He also explains how awareness and actions can spark change.
“I’ve always been aware of HIV growing up because I used to read about it a lot. I was a child in the ‘80s, so knew about people living with AIDS, like Magic Johnson, and I knew what the misconceptions were back in the day with gay people and HIV… I’ve had friends who died sudden deaths. Here in the Philippines, it’s not being talked about. People know that it’s HIV. I think it’s very sad, and I think it’s something we should talk about because the rate of infection in the Philippines is increasing. People are not aware that I’m actually very aware of these things because I work in the fashion industry, but it is one of my stronger advocacies, other than being an LGBT advocate.
“[The most ridiculous HIV myth I heard was] that there was somebody, back in the day, spreading HIV by injecting the virus [into people] in movie houses. It was very ridiculous. Also that you can get it from kissing, from saliva. A lot people know this isn’t true, but still some are afraid to kiss or hug HIV-positive individuals.
“I think it’s really just about educating. The way I do it is I just do it by action. If I see somebody who is HIV-positive, I don’t treat them any differently than any other individual. They’re all human beings also.”
Blogger, influencer, and pharmacy student Jay Pudadera has heard the same myths, and he uses what he learns in school to battle them.
“The most ridiculous myth [I’ve heard] would probably be that HIV is transmitted through simple physical contact, like hugging or just even touching and even kissing. It’s not.
“So that people would understand that HIV cannot be transmitted through those simple acts, I can raise awareness and tell them that it can be spread through unprotected sex, blood transfusions and organ transplants, or contaminated medical equipment.”
EDUCATE, NOT HATE
Another strong believer of education is Pedal for HIV founder Faustine Angeles Jr., who reinforces the need to educate others in order to stop the spread of and end the stigma attached to HIV.
“The most ridiculous myth surrounding HIV is that it is exclusively for people who engage in risky sexual activities. People always think that if you are living with HIV, you love having sex with multiple partners at the same time.
“The only way to correct that myth is by educating people around us about the basics of HIV. If everyone is knowledgeable about HIV transmission and prevention, then they will better understand that HIV will never define any person.”
USE YOUR INFLUENCE FOR GOOD
Mr. BPO 2017 Lee Bueno doesn’t mince his words when he tackles a common HIV myth you most likely have encountered in social media.
“[The most ridiculous HIV myth I’ve heard is that] HIV is something you can transmit through food. For your information, the virus can only live up to 30 seconds outside the body when exposed to air, and once eaten, it can only be transmitted if you have open wounds. So scaring people that some food are contaminated with HIV-infected blood is bullshit.
“I am a social media influencer and the first-ever Mr. BPO. I can use my scope of influence to educate people by joining this kind of organization and by posting facts vs myths articles about HIV.”
SHARE WHAT YOU KNOW
HIV advocate and social media influencer Dayle Austria is not one to tolerate fake news either. He makes sure to share facts whenever he spots misleading information in social media.
“I always go online on social media. I always check my Twitter account, and I hear these fake news about: ‘Don’t buy apples because apparently, in Divisoria, there are blood strains in the apples, and once you consume it, you’ll be positive [for HIV]. That’s just complete BS.
“HIV cannot be transmitted through eating food, or something that has been contaminated, or through saliva. That’s one of the craziest so far, and whenever I see it on social media, of course, I have to correct it.”
GUIDE PEOPLE IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Fashion designer and crossfit athlete Odelon Simpao offers his own approach to spreading HIV awareness – through giving people a little nudge in the right direction.
“[The most outrageous HIV myth I’ve heard is that] if you kiss someone with HIV, you’ll get infected with HIV, like it’s automatic. And if people know someone is living with HIV, they’re immediately afraid to face that person. It’s like HIV is worse than leprosy, which is not the case.
“I think it’s just more of you not contradicting or negating a person’s perception but, I think, just giving that person a little information about HIV. I think that small talk and a little information will give someone a hint, and it can give that person the idea to really learn more about HIV.”
Debunk more myths with us and show just how fit to love you are by joining the Fit to Love: Love Your Body, Live Your Life photoshoot on March 17 and 18 at The Upper Deck Sports Center in Pasig. Go to go.loveyourself.ph/fittolove now to register, and you’ll receive an email confirmation within 24 hours. Final reminders will be given a day before the shoot.
Also join our Fit to Love contest and get the chance to win a limited edition LoveYourself shit. More details here.
Fit to Love is co-presented by The Upper Deck and CASxFACEONE. Our official apparel partner, Blued. Special thanks to Chubs Chasers, Ernest Gatpandan, and InRush Event Management.
Want some further reading? Check out: STATUS — HIV Myths and Fictions, Debunked!Triangle of Self-Care: The ESSEntials of HIV Transmission
Photos by Mark Alvarez, edited by Franco Moje