Netizen Calls Puerto Galera As The Place For HIV

Netizen Calls Puerto Galera As The Place For HIV

 

My newsfeed was bombarded with my FB friends’ post of them spending their Black Saturday out of town and out of the country. Most are spending their time with families on the beach as the summer heat is already felt. I felt kind of jealous while I am just browsing through my feed. I was left at my apartment working on my freelance job and just spending time in the gym and yoga classes. However, there is one post that definitely caught my attention–in a bad light.

 

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A certain “Angelo Manansala” posted this status on FB. As an HIV awareness blogger who has been working so hard to blogging positively about HIV and talking about it in different fora and events to alleviate the stigma, it is quite saddening and at the same time resentful to see such kind of stigmatizing post.

 

While it is indeed true that many LGBT brothers and sisters, regardless of they are PLHIV or not, are going to Puerto Galera to spend the Holy Week, it is wrong to call out these people for being sexually active and stereotype the place as a place for HIV. It is quite saddening that we raise the bar so high to stigmatize an issue that should be shed light upon and be addressed properly.

 

I never knew of this Angelo Manansala and I would not judge him. That has been the practice that I have been observing for quite some time now as a blogger and as a yogi. However, I really wanted to know where he was coming from in posting such stereotypical and stigmatizing post. Just to find out that he is also part of the community and it saddens me even more. We cannot really get the respect that we think we “deserve.” In our community alone, we are self-stigmatizing each other.

 

More so, I cannot understand the hate emanating from such post maligning gays as doing just the dirty stuff which leads to them having HIV. Perhaps because he has read the news that as of January 2017, there are 844 new HIV cases and is considered as the highest number ever reported since 1984? Or maybe because he is not aware of the HIV awareness platforms and projects that are being spearheaded already in the Philippines like PrEP? Or maybe he has failed to realize that there are PLHIV who are living quality lives despite living with HIV? Or maybe he has read that Puerto Galera has been tagged by the government as a high risk place for high transmission of HIV? I really do not know his reasons.

 

But to Mr. Manansala, I hope that your post would make you realize 4 things. First, the internet can be used for positive online engagement and digital literacy directed towards noble and timely causes like HIV. Second, that not all gay men are having sex just like anywhere and with anyone just for the sake of having sex. Third, attacking HIV would not make you not prone to the virus. Having yourself checked and engaging in safer sex are ways to keep you away from it, not hate it. And lastly, there are PLHIV brothers and sisters who can be affected by your post without you knowing it. The issue has been stigmatized already and the least thing that you can do is to educate yourself and think before you click.

 

I hope that moving forward, you, Mr. Manansala, will make your digital voice in a more positive ways to help the community that you are part of and to alleviate the stigma in HIV. The stigma has to stop. Yes, HIV is a virus. Stigma isn’t. And one has a cure already.

 

Netizen Calls Puerto Galera As The Place For HIV

Joemar Belleza
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Joemar Belleza

Blogger-In-Chief at Bakla Po Ako, Confirmed!
Joemar is the Blogger-In-Chief of BaklaPoAko.Com. He is currently a graduate student in University of the Philippines Open University. He also studied at Maquillage Professionnel School of Makeup Artistry and School of Fashion and the Arts (SoFA). He is a bold advocate of education, environment and LGBT issues. An earner, dreamer and a lover. Before he was once a dream-sprouting seed. Now he's a tree in his renaissance and will always be evergreen. Hear him speak with his intelligent guide for gay news of the Philippines and worldwide, Bakla Po Ako. Confirmed!.Follow him on Twitter @belleza_joemar. Gay it forward!
Joemar Belleza
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About Joemar Belleza 313 Articles
Joemar is the Blogger-In-Chief of BaklaPoAko.Com. He is currently a graduate student in University of the Philippines Open University. He also studied at Maquillage Professionnel School of Makeup Artistry and School of Fashion and the Arts (SoFA). He is a bold advocate of education, environment and LGBT issues. An earner, dreamer and a lover. Before he was once a dream-sprouting seed. Now he's a tree in his renaissance and will always be evergreen. Hear him speak with his intelligent guide for gay news of the Philippines and worldwide, Bakla Po Ako. Confirmed!. Follow him on Twitter @belleza_joemar. Gay it forward!

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