Yes, I'm gay. I probably was since the day I was born. On my 21st birthday, I sort of had my debut. I came out to my parents. A little drama from mom, and some indifference from dad. An above-average coming out. Almost perfect.

Nine years later, two weeks before my 30th birthday, I found out... I'M HIV POSITIVE.

And so my story begins... I'm BACK IN THE CLOSET.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Call of the Call Center

I’m not sure really what it was, but to me so much of it seemed like damage control for one of the first news items that TV Patrol World came up with, linking HIV & AIDS with the call center industry. I think it’s just fitting that I start off with how Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the Philippine president herself, reacted when she was asked about the news on rising HIV cases in the call center industry, an industry which she has proudly taken a lot of credit for developing during her term. Willard Cheng reports.

I absolutely loved how she answered. “First of all, are they real? Are they real? Yung supposed HIV epidemic?” I’d give her a standing ovation. Of course people may have been expecting an outburst from her saying, “My God, we must do something about this!” But, no. She just said the right thing. In a case where even the Department of Health itself has not declared it to be an epidemic within the industry, she just really was not in any position to declare it as one. The PGH doctors who started the shock value of it should take note of that. Just because some of those working in the call center industry were among the HIV diagnoses made, it shouldn’t be a basis to automatically link the two.

I’m just a bit wary with the statement from Convergys, one of the call centers in the country, about how they have annual HIV testing for their employees. I do hope this isn’t anything mandatory, because that would certainly go against what’s stated in R.A. 8504. Remember, this is about health and wellness. It’s not a witchhunt.

In this next clip with Niña Corpuz, actual employees of call centers detest the generalization connecting HIV with their industry, and they’re absolutely spot on with saying it’s an individual’s responsibility, regardless of what industry he or she comes from, to protect him or herself from risks like those of HIV and STDs.

The concluding statement also works for me, when they say they would openly welcome HIV prevention and awareness campaigns in their workplace, but make clear how such campaigns should be made available to all, not just the call center industry. Bravo, guys and gals.

And this last segment of Zen Hernandez sealed the deal. Humphrey, HIV-positive and formerly working for a call center, states that, despite the fact that he used to work in the call center industry, it is a person’s lifestyle choices that matter when it comes to HIV. I actually know Humphrey personally, and do think everything he said here is accurate... really, in as much I’d like to keep up my streak of criticizing, I have nothing to say but “Great job!”

So there. Was it just me, or did all this seem like damage control? And if the resource persons who started the call center to HIV mess were actually so happy with how their initial feature turned out, why would there be a need for damage control, right? Hopefully they learned from this and will be more careful with their statements next time. Because when it comes to media accuracy, it’s actually very much like HIV... prevention works better than a cure.

1 comment:


Oh, Humphrey. :)
It's not the industry. It's the person's lifestyle.