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One of the biggest confusions re HIV testing in the Philippines is answering the question on “what happens after one gets tested for HIV,” said Disney Aguila, board member of Bahaghari Center for SOGIE Research, Education and Advocacy, Inc. (Bahaghari Center) and concurrent president of Pinoy Deaf Rainbow (PDR).

The confusion is not helped by numerous factors – e.g.: various testing facilities are, in a way, “autonomous”, so there are varying practices; and information about post-testing remains limited.

No matter the reason/s for the confusion, “the effect is the same: it discourages many people from getting HIV testing and/or screening,” Aguila said.

To demystify particularly rapid HIV screening to “help simplify the HIV discussion for the Deaf community in the Philippines,” a public service announcement (PSA) was released on the getting tested for HIV in the Philippines, and what happens after one gets tested.

The PSA is the third in a series of PSAs produced as part of a Bahaghari Center project backed by a collaboration between Youth LEAD and Y-PEER (Asia Pacific Center), which eyed to address Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) needs of Young Key Populations (YKPs) in Asia and the Pacific.

PSA on HIV basics released in Filipino Sign Language

Particularly pertaining rapid HIV test, “we want to educate particularly Deaf Filipinos about post-testing – that, if you are non-reactive, there are steps you can do to stay non-reactive; and if you’re positive, help is available to help you access treatment, care and support (including getting antiretroviral medicines) so you can live a long, healthy life.”

PSA on getting tested for HIV released in Filipino Sign Language

Aguila stressed that knowing one’s HIV status is important to protect oneself and others around him/her.

If one is HIV-positive, then he/she can start taking antiretroviral medicine (ARV) that will prevent the HIV (virus) from replicating and thereby help him/her stay healthy and live longer/normal lives.

And if one is HIV-negative, then he/she can take steps to stay negative (for example, by practicing safer sexual practices).

“It starts with getting oneself tested,” Aguila said, “which is why we encourage people to get tested.”

Most hospitals and clinics can give HIV testing.

Social hygiene clinics (SHC) located in select barangays can also give HIV testing and/or HIV screening.

Various non-government organizations also offer HIV testing and/or screening.

There are also people who are certified to give rapid HIV test.

A series of community-based HIV testing trainings are given to select members of the Deaf community in Metro Manila/Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao is to “empower members of the Deaf community to be more proactive in dealing with HIV by allowing the Deaf to help the Deaf.” These trainings are provided by The Red Ribbon Project, Inc.

Other supporters of the project include: Outrage Magazine, Fringe Publishing, Pinoy Deaf Rainbow, TransDeaf Philippines, Deaf Dykes United and Pinoy Deaf Queer.


Bahaghari Center, Outrage Mag publish book creatively retelling stories from PH HIV community

Bahaghari Center for SOGIE Research, Education and Advocacy, Inc. and Outrage Magazine released a book, “Red Lives”, that author Michael David C. Tan said contains the “creative retelling of stories from the local HIV community.”



To give face to people infected and affected by HIV, Bahaghari Center for SOGIE Research, Education and Advocacy, Inc. and Outrage Magazine released a book, “Red Lives”, that author Michael David C. Tan said contains the “creative retelling of stories from the local HIV community.”

The Philippines now has 54 new HIV cases per day. In March 2023 alone, 2,078 news HIV cases were reported, a 35% increase to the number for the same period last year. Majority (97%) were male, with most of them belonging to the 15-34 age group (including 48% from the 25-34 age group, and 31% from the 15-24 age group. Notably, 125 of the cases reported in March involved 10-19 year old Filipinos, with 103 of them infected through sexual contact.

“Year-on-year, the number of Filipinos getting infected with HIV has been increasing from ‘only’ 13 per day in 2013 to 41 in 2022 to the 54 new HIV cases we now have per day,” Tan said, “and with younger Filipinos the most affected sector.”

For Tan, it is “important to stress this since HIV still kills… at least in contexts like the Philippines.”

Also in March, 57 deaths were reported due to any cause among people with HIV; since 1984 when DOH started reporting on this, 6,474 deaths were already reported due to any cause among people with HIV in the country. Sadly, only over half (67,194 of 114,008) of the total number of PLHIVs take ARVs; meaning, not everyone has access to life-saving medication.

All these numbers are important, Tan said, as they “show us the worsening HIV situation in the country.” However, “these numbers do not tell the full story because all Filipinos living with HIV, and their loved ones looking after them have stories to tell.”

“Red Lives”, Tan said, hopes to highlight some of these stories.

“Red Lives” has sections on: finding out one’s HIV status; looking after minors with HIV; dying and death; HIV for Deaf LGBTQIA people; transgender-specific HIV-related issues; treatment, care and support; and loving beyond HIV.

“Part of the fight against HIV lies in hearing of, and hopefully understanding of the stories of people,” Tan said.

Tan aded: “We all should ask: Why do people engage in behaviors that put them at risk for HIV infection? What are their experiences when they test HIV-positive? How do people around them react? Aside from their medical condition, what continue to be challenges for PLHIVs? And with their status, what continues to inspire them to do better in life?”

For Tan, “answers to such questions put a face on a social issue, thereby helping us understand why the country’s HIV situation is where it is now; what we can do to better the situation; and… what we can similarly do to better the lives of those infected AND affected by HIV.”

With “Red Lives”, the intention is “to start telling these stories so that, hopefully, they’d not only be heard but eventually be listened to.”

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Our Campaigns, Bahaghari Center launch ‘Bahaghari Talks’ starting Dec. 1 to ‘extensively tackle issues of LGBTQIA Filipinos’

Starting December 1, Outrage Magazine will host a must-watch weekly show that eyes to extensively tackle issues of LGBTQIA Filipinos.



Mark the date: December 1, 2021, when Outrage Magazine launches a must-watch weekly show that eyes to extensively tackle issues of LGBTQIA Filipinos.

“We say: ‘Anong petsa na (What year is it already)?’ in the coverage of LGBTQIA stories,” said Michael David dela Cruz Tan, editor in chief of Outrage Magazine. This is because “it may already be 2021, but even now, LGBTQIA issues particularly in the Philippines continue NOT to be extensively covered by mainstream media; instead, our issues are still only surfaced to mark ‘special’ occasions – from June for Pride month, to December 1 for World AIDS Day.”

For Tan, this is “extremely limiting; it fails to provide the LGBTQIA community proper avenues to discuss the various intersectional issues affecting us beyond the ‘palatable’ or otherwise controversial, clickbait topics.”

With “Bahaghari Talks”, “we eye to discuss issues LGBTQIA Filipinos should be aware of” via in-depth talks with those who expertly know about these issues.

Is sex work ALSO an LGBTQIA issue, and should we consider legalizing it? Are HIV efforts in the Philippines neglecting seniors, considering most (if not all) of existing efforts target the under-35 MSM population? Is the local LGBTQIA community discriminating against bisexual Filipinos and intersex community members? Does asexuality exist; or is this a Western “imposition” in the Philippines? These – other timely topics that should interest LGBTQIA Filipinos – will be covered by “Bahaghari Talks”.

Tan will be co-hosting Bahaghari Talks, along with co-hosts Aaron Moises Bonete, Stephen Christian Quilacio, and Albert Tan Magallanes, Jr.

New episodes will be uploaded every Wednesday, 7PM, at the YouTube channel of Outrage Magazine; with an accompanying article uploaded on Outrage Magazine.

“Bahaghari Talks” is the second weekly show of Outrage Magazine. For #KaraniwangLGBTQIA, new episodes are uploaded every Saturday, also at 7PM, to showcase the stories of everyday LGBTQIA Filipinos.

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LGBTQIA people in Binuangan, Misamis Oriental receive SOGIESC 101 training

To inform LGBTQIA community members of a town in northern Mindanao about SOGIESC basics, the local rainbow organization there – named LGBTQIA Community of Binuangan, Misamis Oriental – is hosting a four-part workshop.



To inform LGBTQIA community members of a town in northern Mindanao about SOGIESC basics, the local rainbow organization there – named LGBTQIA Community of Binuangan, Misamis Oriental – is hosting a four-part workshop.

Discrimination of LGBTQIA people continues to be reported in these parts of the Philippines, said Jacob Salvana, founding president of the LGBTQIA Community of Binuangan, Misamis Oriental. Meaning – arguably – this is “one of the most difficult issues (we continue to) face here.”

Based on the reports reaching them, there are LGBTQIA people there who get discriminated based on their gender expression (e.g. some of them are catcalled), while others are deprived of employment opportunities because of their gender identity.

Sadly, Salvana said, “the lack of LGBTQIA empowerment programs are apparent”, meaning “we are left to our own devices to confront hate.”

The SOGIESC workshops are intended to empower the local LGBTQIA community members by localizing still-largely Westernized SOGIESC (and LGBTQIA) concepts, thereby “making them self-assured when discussing this issue,” Salvana said. Hopefully, “they will be empowered to confidently face society (even through a small effort like this).”

Added Stephen Christian Quilacio of Outrage Magazine and Bahaghari Center for SOGIESC Research, Education and Advocacy, Inc. (Bahaghari Center), there is acknowledgment that LGBTQIA communities outside metropolitan areas are often neglected in mainstream discourses. “And yet – to be honest – not many activities are being developed to actually include them, thereby empowering them to raise issues very specific to them/their contexts.”

For Quilacio, therefore, “such projects that eye to – to start – inform the LGBTQIA people about basic concepts affecting them; and then inform them what they can do when facing issues thrown at them because of their SOGIESC are truly empowering.”

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