There’s nothing wrong in protecting one’s self, more so in using condoms with lube during sexual activities. This is what LoveYourself, an HIV prevention advocacy group, reiterates over and over again.
Yet, the usage of condoms with water-based lubricants as protection against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) remains a taboo among many Filipinos, even to populations most at-risk to these sexual health concerns.
“The government offers condoms for free not just as contraceptive, but more importantly as a protection against contracting HIV and STIs. We just have to mobilize its distribution to ensure that we really target and reach the right market or people,” LoveYourself Executive Director Ronivin G. Pagtakhan emphasized.
Pagtakhan pointed out that “Correct and consistent use of condoms with water-based lubricants remain the most effective method in preventing the spread of HIV, but accessibility and people wanting to have access to these services is still a huge challenge.”
“A sizable number of condoms procured by the government are largely unknown and untapped by the public, hence sometimes these were put to waste unused,” he added.
Thus, Love Yourself in partnership with Save the Children introduces on Friday (22 December) the Safe Spaces PH at Greenbelt’s My Cinema in Makati City through an adult education dialogue to bring in the idea of a sustainable condom distribution supply chain that is backed-up by technology for public discussion.
Safe Space PH will be partnering with non-discriminatory and sex-positive establishments to serve as “Depots” or safe spaces where a condiment station, a receptacle where condoms with water-based lubricants are dispensed, is installed.
Safe Spaces also ensures seamless supply of condoms for distribution on these Depots.
It will also entail a heavy digital campaign for smart selling of the Depots and the program at large. In addition, Safe Space App is available on Google Play store and App Store to provide a snappy service, especially for the target population such as the youth and men-having-sex-with-men.
The Safe Space PH is a holistic solution to the barriers on active utilization of free condoms by the people.
These barriers include people’s averse to avail free condoms from the health centers or any designated areas where it is available; at times, insufficiency of condom supply on these designated areas; many people do not know that government-subsidized condoms are given for free; and many people do not know where to get these free condoms.
Love Yourself also encourages the public to visit its two clinics, which are also safe spaces not just for free and confidential HIV screening, but for free condom with water-based lubricants as well.
These are Love Yourself Anglo along Shaw and Love Yourself Uni in Taft-Buendia. Both clinics are open every Wednesdays to Saturdays from 12:00 nn -7:00 p.m., and Sundays at 9:00 a.m.-2:00p.m.