TRR in BBC World Service Calling

Posted by Pozziepinoy on 9:13 AM
My partner Tag  told me that when he was young, he used to listed to BBC World Service Calling, a radio show that highlights on international news, with in-depth analysis and information. Tag has a fascination with radio show that when he was young he used to staget a radio show, with him as a host in the backyard of his house in the U.S.

A month ago, with my communications with Dr. Margarita Holmes, a renowned psychologist and sex therapist in the Philippines, popular for her books, her articles in newspapers and online magazines and her TV shows; and a dear friend of the TRR Foundation, TRR was asked to be part of the BBC World Service Calling about HIV and AIDS in the Philippines. Smita Patel, the Senior Producer of BBC Radio Current Affairs, started sending me emails about her coming to the Philippines and giving an interview. We conversed over the phone and asked about the situation of HIV and AIDS in the Philippines, the age group of the affected population and the sex workers in the Philippines with HIV. She asked if she can interview the TRR Foundation and how it is helping those who have HIV and interview three people living with HIV and a sex worker who has HIV. Of course, I was glad to be of help as this will bring forth the focus of the world to the Philippines once again. But the one who was more excited was my partner Tag, who can't believe that this was happening to me and the Foundation.

In March 23, the TRR Foundation Team came to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, where the interview will take place. Together with me our the TRR Board of Trustees, Gerald, Marky and David and our Care Volunteers Cris, Row and Fer. We met Dr. Margie Holmes and Smita Patel outside the emergency ward and started to walk in and met several doctors. In the hallway, Dr. Endymion Tan, an HIV doctor of the hospital explained the process of treatment in the hospital, the challenges and how TRR helps their patients for their medical needs. He said that when the patients can't afford their laboratories, medicines and hospitalization, the doctors start calling TRR for medical assistance. 

Dr. Tan together with our Care Manager Gerald walked us to the second floor of the ward and we guided our guests to one of the rooms with four patients with HIV, confined because of tuberculosis and cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis. Outside the ward rooms, we were interviewed as to the cases of HIV that are usually confined in the hospital and the costs of treatment. Unfortunately, TRR told Smita that people still die in the Philippines because of AIDS. Smita said that nobody dies of AIDS anymore in London, unlike here in the Philippines. We told her that because of stigma and discrimination, people don't get HIV tested or people don't get early treatment for HIV and AIDS, thus when they come to the hospital, they already have a lot of deadly infections. Add poverty to the scenario, it becomes more complex.

We then proceeded to the AIDS Research Group (ARG) office where our partner for TRR Love Fund Maram Bartolome offered to have our interview in their long office table where it will be quieter. Our volunteers were then interviewed about their HIV stories, their struggles with stigma and discrimination and how they are dealing with HIV on a day-to-day basis.

After 2 hours of ward visit and interviews we said our good bye with group photos and our two guests wearing the TRR pins. Smita invited us to visit her when we are in London because they left. I called Tag about what happened and he was so excited to hear the report on air.

Sharing what we do best to others is a good way to share what wisdom we have and show the real scenario of HIV and AIDS here in the country. Opportunities like this will bring the focus once again of the world to the Philippines, my country wherein HIV cases are still increasing, where young people are still dying, with not only very limited resources for HIV awareness programs and HIV testing but also struggles with the challenges of treatment, care and support for people living with HIV.

"We act FAST when we CARE"


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