Two months ago, the Department of Health (DOH) launched the search for ambassadors that will serve as the face and voice of their continuing efforts to stop the increasing numbers of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases in the country—in addition to getting existing patients to continue their treatment.
Named LHIVE FREE, the search comes in the form of a three-way pageant (open to male, female and transwomen). Fast forward to today, the agency announces the top 30 finalists (10 from each category) who are in the running to win the said competition.
Chosen as Press Favorites during the Presentation are Jearu Ed Magbuhat among the males, Patrixia Sherly Santos among the females and popular Matmat Centino among the transgender women.
“Although personality and looks are major considerations for choosing the finalists, we focused also on their commitment to the campaign. At the end of the day, what we are trying to do here is bring the conversation about HIV and AIDS in the mainstream media; sort of putting it front and center, so that people who are at risk or already have the virus will not be afraid to seek for help,” says says Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III.
In total, the agency received hundreds of entries for the search.
“Whoever will win this search will dedicate a significant amount of their time in helping spread awareness and debunk myths about HIV and AIDS, as well as promote safe sex. And we are looking for people who will put the movement high in their priority list,” he adds.
LHIVE FREE’s final pageant night will be held on September 28, 2018 at the SMX Convention Center in the Mall of Asia Complex. During which, the campaign’s current face, Miss International 2016, Kylie Verzosa, will personally crown the winners who will join her and the DOH in a series of promotional activities that will dispel wrong information and negative stigma associated with the virus, as well as bring help to individuals who are infected by it.