Humphrey Gorricetais one of the first Filipinos to publicly reveal his HIV-positive status after he was diagnosed in January 2008 while working as an operations supervisor in a business process outsourcing company in Manila.
Humphrey Gorriceta: "After disclosing to my family, everything changed for the better. I felt the bond of love and caring was strengthened. I started saying 'I love you' to my parents and siblings, which I felt uncomfortable doing before I came out."
The 34-year-old says based on personal experience “people are more accepting when they are HIV literate”and so, he has made it his life’s mission to educate his family, friends, people he meets in his daily life and people he has yet to meet about HIV.
Humphrey recalled an incident where he tested positive during a drug test when he tried to renew his driver’s licence. When he was asked by the nurse to come back after a week as they were going to send his urine sample to the Department of Health, he decided to explain his HIV status and conducted an ART (Anti-Retroviral treatment) 101 on the spot with his mom, medical technician, nurse and doctor in attendance to account for the false positive. He got his driver’s licence in an hour.
“People discriminate because of their lack of knowledge about HIV. It’s human nature to be afraid of what we don’t know. That is why HIV educational advocacies are very important.” Said the spokesperson for the National Federation of Filipino Living with HIV and AIDS (NAFFWA) which represents PLHIV (People Living with HIV/AIDS) community-based groups in Philippines.