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HIV Advocates bare all on World AIDS Day

HIV Advocates bare all on World AIDS Day

Every one can be an HIV/AIDS awareness advocate. That’s what these advocates, all real everyday people want to say.

HIV/AIDS has nothing to do with sexual orientation or gender — straight, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender — your life be touched by HIV/AIDS. You may have a friend who is living with HIV, lost a loved one to AIDS or are living with HIV yourself.
Wearing nothing but the AIDS ribbon, the universally recognized icon of support and empathy for HIV/AIDS, these advocates bared their all and shared their stories as a testament that everyone can do their part to keep the promise and stop AIDS.

You can read the spot.ph article here, and you can see more photos and hear more stories at my website.

Editor’s Note: We’d like to thank Ana so much for joining us as a guest blogger. She’s taken us new and exciting places, and brought a unique combination of allure and advocacy to World AIDS Day. We hope she’ll drop in now and then with updates on her projects and adventures!

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Romina and photographer, Mitch Mauricio in between takes.

Romina and photographer, Mitch Mauricio in between takes.

Bali, the “island of the gods”, an indulgent pleasurable place of realization and enlightenment.

To me, Bali will be all that and more. To me, Bali is my place of liberation and re-discovered passion.

Ever since I came back from the International Conference on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP9) held in Bali last August, my head has been bursting with ideas.

During that four day conference, in the company of like-minded individuals, I could think freely and openly question views on sexual health. In the confines of the prudish Catholic culture of my country, I often face censorship – mostly, my own (self-censorship is a fate worse than writer’s block, maybe even death, for some journalists). In order to be taken seriously as a sexual health advocate, I have to choose my words carefully so that the messages of safe sex will not be selectively interpreted as just “sex”. I imagine that it is a dilemma that most sexual health advocates face.

But at the ICAAP in Bali, we were all speaking the same language. We all shared the view that in our different roles – health care practitioner, government official, researcher, and activist, and yes, sex & relationship columnist – we could influence behavior, change perceptions about HIV/AIDS and bring about a positive change.

After Bali, I began to think of more creative ways to push the envelope when it came to communicating the importance safe sex and making it sexy. And that was the inception of a shoot that we called “Dare to Bare” where real everyday people came out and boldly showed their support for World AIDS Day by wearing the red HIV/AIDS ribbon and nothing but that. There were no models or celebrities, only people who were HIV/AIDS or reproductive health advocates and dared to share the details of their experience or encounter with the epidemic.

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