Condoms and lubes in different packs and tubes took virtual centerstage on two different virtual events celebrating Condom and Lube Day on August 8th, 2020, as part of the National HIV Prevention Month.

Hosts Robin Avorque and DeeDee Villegas straight up served a condom and lubes “infomercial” in a #SaferNow virtual talk episode. They were joined by trans advocate KC and her partner Patrick as they unboxed ribbed and dotted condoms and Fire and Ice Bliss® variants and differentiated each product, reminding viewers that the condoms we have come to know have already gotten creative in texture and size, while lubes have also been available in different types, both as a way to encourage consistent use, not only for a more satisfying pleasurable sex, but as a way to keep both sexual parties safe.

Robin readily demonstrated the correct way of using a condom, from the way each condom pack is opened to how it should be disposed, all while debunking misconceptions and incorrect perceptions about condom use (hint: condoms on wallets aren’t necessarily lucky, contrary to a popular myth). While we think we know everything there is about using lubes and condoms, Robin’s “live demonstration” served as a helpful reminder that staying safe while satisfied should be an easy habit to make. Did you know that each individual pack is numbered because one piece must only be used for no more than 10 minutes?

They’re later joined by Ralph Ivan Samson, president and CEO of Y-PEER Pilipinas, to discuss the organization’s continuous movement in advocating sexual and reproductive health and rights,particularly in the midst of the ongoing pandemic. Samson stressed the need to partner with schools, community centers, and youth networks in providing comprehensive and quality sexual education. Their #GetCondomPH campaign aligns with this goal by ensuring the availability of condoms and lubes to young people who, upon understanding of their sexual and reproductive health and rights, deserve the right and earn the responsibility to make responsible choices and maintain their safety against HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STIs).

Meanwhile, Peachy Roberts and Omie Simbulan hosted a panel consist of Dr. Andy Paningbatan, medical affairs officer of DKT Health, the company behind reliable brands such as Trust® and Premiere® condoms and EZ® lubricants, Adam Crayne, advocacy lead of EON Group who has participated in the SafeSpaces condom/lubes distribution campaign of LoveYourself, and Benedict Bernabe, president of The Red Whistle, an organization advocating sexual health and HIV awareness. 

Throughout the discussion, the guests helped emphasize the importance of taking care of sexual health in an individual’s overall well-being, and how condoms and lubes easily help maintain sexual health and responsibility. On the stigma surrounding the purchase and use of condoms and lubes, Paningbatan mentioned how their company, through the different variants and brands of the products they offer, tried to de-”medicalize” condoms and bring it closer to the public, while Bernabe expressed a wishful vision of seeing condoms and lubes sold even by neighborhood sari-sari stores, where everyone and anyone can easily buy and sell them like any important commodity. Crayne agreed, saying that it boils down to confidence and awareness, which is why, whenever possible, he helps in providing education about sexual health and responsibility.

Peachy and Omie also awarded the winners of the Shoot the Rubber Photography Contest, joined in by successful artists and photography experts Ian Alquiros, Kraus Estanislao, and Niccolo Cosme who also judged the competition together with BJ Pascual. Winners received cash prizes and gift packs from Lauvette, Lubie, ChloRelief, and Bliss Four condoms.

First Place: Billy Joe Peralta (Quirino)
Second Place: June Famur, Jr (Iloilo)
Third Place: Arjay Matabia (Tarlac)
Fourth Place: Dani Fallorin (Cavite)
Fifth Place: SJ Dageno (Iloilo)

The NHPM is spearheaded by the Global Fund Sustainability of HIV Services for Key Populations in Asia (SKPA) Program and CHAMPION Community Centers network; co-presented by AIDS Healthcare Foundation; sponsored by Rotary Club of Cubao Quezon City District 3780; also brought to you by Durex, Lauvette, 3M, Bliss Four, LUBIE, ChloRelief, Usana Philippines, EZ Lubricating Jelly, Premiere Condoms, Liquor Bouquet Philippines; and supported by UNAIDS Philippines, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, APCOM, and LoveYourself, Inc.

Text by Ulysses Konstantin Largado