When you’re working with the community, does it mean that you are working at the Grassroots level?

I have heard so many stories around people claiming that they are actually working at the Grassroots but then again, they never really went down there, people would do research and would use years of experience to bring out probably the more brilliant ideas and proposals and projects but then again, they have never really been down there or maybe at least not recently.

People actually instruct or direct the community to do this and that but then again, they never really asked what the community wants to begin with– thinking that their suggestions are what’s best for the community.

It’s like, how can you actually be a trainer when you haven’t really practiced what you are supposed to train? Or manage a food Business Without Really learning and experiencing what the crew members are doing?

Of course, people can actually do in-depth research, both quantitative and qualitative, to come up with cerebral research materials but when they haven’t really immersed, I always feel the lack of soul in the research. It all seems like a bunch of words and numbers and figures and graphs. 

Without actual immersion, are we actually asking the right questions in a research?
The Grassroots is where the real struggles are and in the end, it’s where the answers are. We can always come up with the most intellectual theoretical Solutions but then again, the mind and the heart will have to meet somewhere for a proposed solution to be seamless.

I think (some of) the problems are:

  • that people tend to think that education and work experience adapt them into the Grassroots level, not taking into consideration that actual Grassroots experiences evolve and constant immersion is needed
  • That some people think they are more Superior than others that they forget all about the phrase, “nothing about us without us.”
  • That sometimes perceived commitment and passion to the advocacy leaves us Clueless with  what’s really going on down there

Yes, we all believe in evidence-based data and research as well as evidence-based proposals, but then again let us not forget that the Grassroots will always make an important part of that evidence.

ALWAYS go back to where it all started.

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Is age a factor in Accessing HIV screening?


I just got home from a late-night HIV screening, we had two activities last night. 1 for a clan of young men in their early twenties and the other one, in a blue bar where most men are in their late twenties or thirties

My thoughts.

#cbs #communitybasedHIVscreening

“…Tonight, we had two Screening activities, one for a clan in taytay vs a blue bar in Morato
Seems it’s easier to encourage people in their late 20s-30s to take an hiv screening compared to those in their early 20s… Or even listen to basic hiv info.
Peer pressure?
Lack of maturity?


Of course, there’s the AIDS law that says that people below 18 should have prior parental consent before they can access HIV testing.

Is this why the 15-24yo incidence goin’ up? Late test? Lack of awareness? Refusal to get info? 

The AIDS medium-term plan and the Philippine Health sector plan are both focusing highly on the youth or the young key population (YKP).  Judging from what happened tonight, I think it’s only proper that we give more effort towards educating the youth and come up with plans to penetrate the young population and give them the correct information that they need to increase HIV awareness and prevent HIV infection.

Men who have sex with men are as it is, very hard to reach and the young key population who are in fact MSM, are even harder to reach.

So yes, the national youth commission is taking the right leap to reach the YKPs, unfortunately efforts toward increasing the reach through community-based HIV screening among the youth was recently (allegedly) gunned down when UNICEF found out that the training cost was too high for them to handle. So we are back to doing what we have been doing the past years, less trained Young population members will be trying to reach out to their peers. We will be heavily dependent on people in their twenties reaching out to our teenagers. 

Oh well.

Kudos to efforts around including HIV education (textbook/reference materials) in the High School curriculum that started in Quezon City, I can just hope that this will be rolled out across the country very soon.

Let’s hope for the best.

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Missing In Action: The Research


It’s out, thanks to the twitter and FB pozzies who shared their stories 😘😘😘

As for me my greatest take away from this project was that I was able to hear and listen to the stories of different people living with HIV. It was an emotional roller coaster going through all the interviews and then going through all of them again while doing the transcriptions, translations and editing.

“The aim of this study, conducted by Jan W. de Lind van Wijngaarden (Burapha University, Thailand) and Andrew Ching (HIV & AIDS Support House) was to document why significant numbers of men who have sex with men based in Metropolitan Manila (also known as Greater Manila, Metro Manila and Manila) currently do not access HIV services at different levels of the HIV treatment cascade. The study was carried out with support from UNDP’s Bangkok Regional Hub through the ISEAN/HIVOS Multi-country Global Fund HIV programme. 

Missing in Action: Loss of clients from HIV testing, treatment, care and support services:

You can download the report here: 
Special Thanks to friends from Positibong Pamilya, The Love Project, HIV Awareness Campaign Group, REDx 

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Community-based HIV screening (CBS)


This is the first time that I am writing about community-based HIV screening.

December 2014

UNAIDS had its first support for the orientation on community-based HIV testing where speakers from China and Cambodia came over to talk about their experiences on community-based testing, they showed data on increased HIV test uptake after the implementation of community-based testing.

In 2015, UNAIDS supported the writing of the operating guidelines and the different manuals around community-based testing which included the training manual so we can eventually roll out the said program in the Philippines.

In 2016, around July, with support from Save the Children and Global fund, we started training community members from the national capital region, Cebu and Davao so we can pilot run the Project and see the acceptability and feasibility of the program in the Philippines.

We are currently doing the evaluation of the said project.

There had been so much issues around the project,  things like laymen cannot do screening at the community level and issues around the quality of counseling at the community once screening’s done.

But what do we really want?

Our local government units have had clinics offering free HIV testing over the past few years and community-based HIV screening is there to complement their efforts by reaching people who refuse to go to the clinic for testing.

We want to reach more people, we want to test more people and as we test people, we want to link more people to care

Yes that’s the essence of community-based HIV screening we simply want to reach people who don’t want to go to the clinics for testing we simply want to bring the HIV screening down to the community

In the 2016 International AIDS Society conference in Durban in South Africa, community-based screening (CBS) was one of the many programs presented and it has shown tremendous impact in various countries alongside other projects like pre-exposure prophylaxis and self testing

The 2017 NCR 5-month data so far has shown that out of all screened at the community level 17% remains to be the reactivity or positivity rate of the project, this is way above the less than 5% National reactivity rate of the government. We are in fact reaching the right target. 

So yes, we can do screening at the community level and yes, we are able to reach people who haven’t been tested ever in their entire lives.

And ultimately, we are able to link people to proper treatment proper care and proper support.  

This is not about people doing the screening this is about reaching people at the community level so we can have them screen for HIV this is about the clients

So ladies and gentlemen, that is what CBS or community-based HIV screening is all about so if ever you have friends or colleagues that would want to meet for a one-on-one HIV screening, you can contact us at 0 917-861-4084 and 0 927-806-7339. 

Kudos to our friends and partners:

  • The Love Project
  • Loveyourself 
  • HIV Awareness Campaign Group
  • Sustained Health Initiatives of the Philippines
  • Action for Health Initiatives of the Philippines
  • Davao City Reproductive Health Wellness Center
  • Cebu City Health office and social hygiene clinic
  • Cebu Plus
  • The Project Red Ribbon
  • All the community-based organizations who have gone out of their way to reach people for this project without a single centavo in exchange (sorry I am not able to list down all orgs)

CBS IN 10-15MINS! 

For more information please email us at

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Grey’s Anatomy S13E17

The last conversation between Dr. Pierce and her mom, seconds before her mom died.

“…Orgasms… they are a gift, it’s your right! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise”

“…never make yourself small for anyone, be your own person”

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Grey’s S13E1

“…..with a little coffee and a little sunlight your troubles will get smaller and the world will keep standing” 

“…past is past, what’s done is.done. But the future is ours to choose”

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A touching video from our friends at the RED WHISTLE


“…Celebrities’ script reading ends with unexpected twist.

In its latest campaign, “Together,” The Red Whistle gathered HIV awareness advocates like Regine Velasquez, Daiana Menezes, Jc Santos, Aiza Seguerra in a short video, to read a script, that ended in an unexpected twist. ”
#TogetherPH #Reach1Test1Save1

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broken Labor Day (May 1st)


May 1.

Labor day. 

Mall day .

A pair of Reebok shoes.


Night lamp

Ginger snaps.

Toiletry and gadget organizers.

Shoe bag. 

Air purifier.


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We all make choices 

Some choices may have been forced on us but still we make choices 

We may have a thousand different options but we always end up with our own choice.

Life is a big choice .

Choose to fight. 

Choose to give up.

Choose to live. Or die.  

At the end of the day, we choose.

And it’s our choice.

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Packing my bag for an 8 day trip. Clothes. Test kits. Condoms. Lubes. Flyers. Posters. 

It’s like when I left last year for an asian HIV community study tour for 9 days.

Or when I went off the Durban fornthe AIDS Conference for 8 days.

One of the must-take-trips that I would rather not take.

Because I will miss someone.

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