Restricted mobility in Cebu City due to imposed lockdowns has posed a real challenge for its residents who continually need to avail of HIV-related services by LoveYourself White House.
Knowing that testing and access to medication is critical to combat the spread of HIV, LoveYourself continues to open its door to anyone who needs its services.
Except on holidays, LoveYourself White House remains open from Wednesdays through Sundays, with temporarily reduced service hours of 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., cut-off time at 4 p.m. Starting on May 20, 2020, the center will operate from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., 6 p.m. cut-off time. Its return to its regular hours of 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. will be announced once this becomes viable.
To keep the in-person antiretroviral (ARV) refill uninterrupted for those undergoing treatment, LoveYourself has recently activated the Xpress Refill program. They may now receive ARV refill via delivery by registering here: go.loveyourself.ph/xpressrefill.
“It is important for us to keep helping the community, especially in the time of COVID-19. Immunocompromised individuals are at great risk. Now more than ever they need our help.”Jan Estrada
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, LoveYourself had partnered with Sustainability of HIV Services for Key Populations in Asia – Philippines for HIV education, testing, and treatment of inmates in Cebu City Jail.
Upon learning that this community had also been affected by COVID-19 transmissions, the organization immediately offered help. Wasting no time, LoveYourself launched #ProtectCebuCityJail donation drive in coordination with Champion Community Center, SafeSpaces, and Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. As of May 13, 2020, 180 cloth masks, 6 1L cartons of fresh milk, 40 cans of 250 ml liquid nutrition Ensure, and 3 cans of 850 g Ensure Gold have been distributed.
However, there is still a need to procure vitamins, face masks, face shields, PPE gowns, 70%-solution alcohol, bleach, and disinfectants for the Cebu City Jail.
To sustain this initiative, LoveYourself White House are still accepting donations during the current service hours or through bank transfer to BDO account number 004190392920.
Although most LoveYourself volunteers are also stuck in their homes, their advocacy work continues. On Facebook, Cebu’s LoveYourself volunteers are actively engaging the public with awareness campaigns not just on HIV/AIDS but also on COVID-19. Additionally, weekly games with exciting prizes are held to reach out to people in these unprecedented times.
LoveYourself White House is the first community center of LoveYourself outside Metro Manila. Located at #40 J. Lllorente St., Capitol Site, Cebu City, it offers free, rapid, and confidential HIV testing, counseling, and treatment to all, no matter the age, race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. For inquiries drop a message at LoveYourself White House or contact 09278737575.
Text and photos by Ryan Taborada