Gazini adds HIV awareness to her advocacies
Preciosa Bacalso, Mary Ruth R. Malinao (The Freeman) - October 17, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Cheers and applause welcomed Miss Universe Philippines 2019 Gazini Ganados as she entered the People’s Hall of Talisay City Hall for an HIV awareness and prevention forum on Oct. 12.

LoveYourself Inc. and the City Government of Talisay reached out to the beauty queen for the outreach program attended by students, parents, and advocates to further raise attention and understanding of HIV.

“I looked forward to this date. My team and I have been coordinating with LoveYourself for months now on our plans to initiate HIV awareness campaigns for Cebuanos. I feel that this is relevant and timely, because the incidence rate is still rising in the province,” said Gazini, who represented Talisay City, Cebu during this year’s Binibining Pilipinas pageant.

“As a Cebuana with this kind of platform, I think it’s prudent to help educate my kababayans to protect and love themselves more, and to break the stigma on HIV and other illnesses.”

During the event, Gazini was launched as the newest ambassadress of LoveYourself, joining Miss Universe titleholders Pia Wurtzbach and Catriona Gray. Just this July, Pia was in Cebu to officially launch the LoveYourself White House and walk in a fashion show and auction for-a-cause.

LoveYourself is a community-based volunteer-driven non-profit organization that caters to a wide range of sexually transmitted infections (STI) and HIV-related services, including education and prevention, testing and counselling, treatment, support and care.

Gazini will be the face of LoveYourself Cebu for various HIV awareness campaigns and programs, which she believes are vital for the youth so that they will be educated on the misconceptions about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Ronnievinn Pagtakhan, LoveYourself executive director, said that Gazini is the first Cebuana beauty queen to be part of their programs in Central Visayas and Mindanao.

“Kasi iba yung language barrier eh, iba if native language yung gamit. Mas natutuwa yung mga tao,” said Pagtakhan.

For Gazini, awareness is important so that no discrimination towards HIV patients will occur. Proud to support various organizations with advocacies for HIV awareness, elderly care, and programs for the poor and the church, she said she is serving her main purpose in life, which is to be the voice of the voiceless.

“I could not be thankful enough to be of service to the people,” she said.

Having a friend who is HIV positive, she considers the HIV awareness advocacy close to her heart. For her, the best thing to do for a loved one dealing with HIV is to be there for them.

“Accept them. Let them know that you are always there to support them in whatever struggles they have to go through,” she shared.

The HIV awareness and prevention forum was also in cooperation with Youth for Better Talisay and Talisay City LGBT Bangaw Foundation.

GAZINI GANADOS
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