Doctors are warning that a drug-resistant strain of gonorrhea could be more deadly than AIDS, and are urging members of US Congress to spend $54 million for the development of a drug that would fight it.
"This might be a lot worse than AIDS in the short run because the bacteria is more aggressive and will affect more people quickly," Alan Christianson, a doctor of naturopathic medicine, told CNBC.
The new strain of gonorrhea, H041, was first discovered in 2009 after a sex worker fell victim to the superbug in Japan. Medical officials reported that the medication-resilient ‘sex superbug’ was discovered in Hawaii in May 2011, and has since spread to California and Norway, the International Business Times reports.
Nearly 30 million people die from AIDS-related causes each year, and the H041 superbug could have similar consequences, according to Alan Christianson, a doctor of naturopathic medicine.
"Getting gonorrhea from this strain might put someone into septic shock and death in a matter of days,"Christianson said. "This is very dangerous."
The gonorrhea strain has not yet claimed any lives, but the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have asked Congress for $54 million to find an antibiotic to treat the strain.
In a Capitol Hill briefing last week, health officials said an education and public awareness campaign is crucial in minimizing the effective of HO41. William Smith, executive director of the National Coalition for STD Directors, said that if the ‘sex superbug’ spreads, it could quickly kill many people before a treatment is discovered. And that risk becomes increasingly more likely if Congress does not provide the funds to find a cure, he said.
"It's an emergency situation. As time moves on, it's getting more hazardous," he told members of Congress.
"We have to keep beating the drum on this," he added. "The potential for disaster is great."
In the United States, there are 20 million new STD infections each year, which results in about $16 billion in medical costs, the CDC reports. More than 800,000 of these cases gonorrhea infections, most of which occur in young people ages 15 to 24. Gonorrhea is sometimes difficult to detect, since it shows no symptoms in about half of all women. Those who fall ill to the deadly strain may not notice it until it’s too late.
“That’s what’s kind of scary about this,” Smith said.
Although health officials have widely reported that cases of H041 were discovered in California, Hawaii and Norway, the CDC has disputed those claims and told CNBC on Monday that the infection has not been confirmed anywhere outside of Japan. The CDC did, however, make an announcement in 2011 that it was noticing greater gonorrhea bacterial resistance to certain types of antibiotics in Hawaii and California.
CDC officials said that the US and Norwegian cases were treated effectively with antibiotics not routinely recommended and that these cases were mistakenly identified as H041. But the agency continues to urge Congress for research funding, indicating that the risk of infection is high regardless of where the cases occurred.
Christianson is urging people to practice safe sex and get STD tests if they are in a new relationship, since a superbug infection could be around the corner.
"This is a disaster just waiting to happen," he told CNBC. "It's time to do something about it before it explodes. These superbugs, including the gonorrhea strain, are a health threat. We need to move now before it gets out of hand."
MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III wasn't the only person of Filipino descent in this year's TIME 100 Most Influential People list.
Filipino-American Katherine Luzuriaga, one of the 3 scientists who reported the first ever recorded "functional cure" in an infant with HIV, was also honored by the magazine in its annual list.
Luzuriaga, a professor of pediatrics and medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, was cited by the magazine under its "Pioneers" list, along with fellow doctors Deborah Persaud and Hannah Gay, for their breakthrough in HIV/AIDS research.
She has been one of the world's leading scientists dealing with pediatric HIV/AIDS research, having been involved in the said field for more than two decades.
"These three women are responsible for orchestrating an incredible breakthrough: functionally curing a newborn of AIDS," Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, wrote in the group's citation.
Their study involved a baby born in a rural Mississippi hospital back in 2010, whose mother was HIV-positive. The infant was given a regimen of AIDS drugs from shortly after birth until 18 months. Five months after end of treatment, the baby was already HIV-negative.
The child, who is now 2 1/2 years old, is still HIV-free. The development surprised the world, and gave hope for thousands of HIV-positive babies worldwide.
When the TIME 100 list was released, Filipinos were abuzz only about Aquino's inclusion in it, primarily because her being Fil-Am was not explicitly stated in the magazine (TIME even lists Caracas, Venezuela as her birthplace).
The FilAm magazine was the first to report about her Filipino roots in an interview published Thursday, April 25.
Her father traces his roots to Bacolod City, the magazine said. Luzuriaga, on the other hand, grew up in Manila, and is an alumna of the International School. She then went on to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Tufts University.
"We consider this a great achievement," she told the magazine during the TIME 100 gala in New York City, adding that it is an honor "to have our work considered to be of great influence. To a scientist, that means a lot." The 3 scientists, along with dozens other honorees, were feted at the event.
Luzuriaga said their work on HIV/AIDS research will continue. "One of the things about the finding is that it points the way to new studies that we can do and we’d like to go on and continue to make progress again for pediatric HIV infection," she told The FilAm.
"Together, we are committed to eradicating pediatric HIV infection and improving child health globally,"she said in a statement shortly after the list was announced.
The list, published annually by the magazine since 2003, is a rundown of some of the world's most influential individuals, from the arts to politics to science. - with reports from KD Suarez/Rappler.com
The overwhelming evidence of the curative powers of marijuana and cannabinoids leaves little doubt that the pharmaceutical industry is behind marijuana prohibition laws. The amount of research now validating the truly remarkable nature of this healing plant is simply enormous. According to new findings published in the journal PLoS ONE, researchers have now discovered that marijuana-like chemicals trigger receptors in on human immune cells that can directly inhibit a type of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) found in late-stage AIDS.
The U.S. Patent 6630507 was specifically initiated when researchers found that cannabinoids had specific antioxidant properties making them useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation-associated diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and HIV dementia.
The Netherlands became the world's first country to make cannabis available as a prescription drug in pharmacies to treat cancer, HIV, and multiple sclerosis patients.
Medical marijuana is prescribed to treat pain, debilitating weight loss, and appetite suppression, side effects that are common in advanced AIDS. This is the first study to reveal how the marijuana receptors found on immune cells --- called cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 --- can influence the spread of the virus. Understanding the effect of these receptors on the virus could help scientists develop new drugs to slow the progression of AIDS.
Unfortunately, the researchers will use the research on the effects of these receptors to develop new drugs to benefit the pharmaceutical industry.
Marijuana researcher and activist Jason Mihaldas says the studies finally justify what the pro-marijuana community has always know. "Decades of anecdotal and empirical evidence are now being validated by the scientific community, but it's unfortunate they are using this research for their own selfish motives --- to take marijuana from its raw medically effective form to one where it will be medically ineffective with processing agents, altering what it is designed to do... heal," proclaimed Mihaldas.
"We knew that cannabinoid drugs like marijuana can have a therapeutic effect in AIDS patients, but did not understand how they influence the spread of the virus itself," said study author Cristina Constantino, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "We wanted to explore cannabinoid receptors as a target for pharmaceutical interventions that treat the symptoms of late-stage AIDS and prevent further progression of the disease without the undesirable side effects of medical marijuana."
HIV infects active immune cells that carry the viral receptor CD4 which makes these cells unable to fight off the infection. In order to spread, the virus requires that "resting" immune cells be activated. In advanced AIDS, HIV mutates so it can infect these resting cells, gaining entry into the cell by using a signaling receptor called CXCR4. By treating the cells with a cannabinoid agonist that triggers CB2, Dr. Constantino and the Mount Sinai team found that CB2 blocked the signaling process, and suppressed infection in resting immune cells.
The Mount Sinai team infected healthy immune cell with HIV, then treated them with a chemical that triggers CB2 called an agonist. They found that the drug reduced the infection of the remaining cells.
Developing a drug that triggers only CB2 as an adjunctive treatment to standard antiviral medication may hellp alleviate the symptoms of late-stage AIDS and prevent the virus from spreading, said Dr. Constantino. Because HIV does not use CXCR4 to enhance immune cell infection in the early stages of infection, CB2 agonists appear to be an effective antiviral drug only in late-stage disease.
As a result of this discovery, the research team led by Benjamin Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases, and Lakshmi Devi, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, plans to develop a mouse model of late-stage AIDS in order to test the efficacy of a drug that triggers CB2 in vivo.
Now that the scientific evidence is being made public, a concerted effort must be made from all nations to end marijuana-prohibition laws . Holding or possessing a plant should never be a criminal offense and the origins and source for these laws are now coming to light.
May 4, 2013
March 20, 2012
I almost forgot. March 29 marked my first year as a person living with HIV. Though I still lack my second CD4 count, I am still thankful for surviving a year without co-infections or a need for hospitalization (and I am still not required to take ARVs as my initial CD4 count last June 2012 was 518).
I thank you Lord for giving me another chance in life. Last year was bittersweet, but I gradually realized its essence. Extend my life, Lord, as I still have tasks to accomplish for my family.
I apologize for my faults to some people, and I thank you for the friends I met along the way. :-)
Associated Press/Johns Hopkins Medicine - This image provided by Johns Hopkins Medicine shows Dr. Deborah Persaud of Johns Hopkins' Children's Center in Baltimore.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A baby born with the virus that causes AIDS appears to have been cured, scientists announced Sunday, describing the case of a child from Mississippi who's now 2½ and has been off medication for about a year with no signs of infection.
There's no guarantee the child will remain healthy, although sophisticated testing uncovered just traces of the virus' genetic material still lingering. If so, it would mark only the world's second reported cure.
Specialists say Sunday's announcement, at a major AIDS meeting in Atlanta, offers promising clues for efforts to eliminate HIV infection in children, especially in AIDS-plagued African countries where too many babies are born with the virus.
"You could call this about as close to a cure, if not a cure, that we've seen," Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health, who is familiar with the findings, told The Associated Press.
A doctor gave this baby faster and stronger treatment than is usual, starting a three-drug infusion within 30 hours of birth. That was before tests confirmed the infant was infected and not just at risk from a mother whose HIV wasn't diagnosed until she was in labor.
"I just felt like this baby was at higher-than-normal risk, and deserved our best shot," Dr. Hannah Gay, a pediatric HIV specialist at the University of Mississippi, said in an interview.
That fast action apparently knocked out HIV in the baby's blood before it could form hideouts in the body. Those so-called reservoirs of dormant cells usually rapidly reinfect anyone who stops medication, said Dr. Deborah Persaud of Johns Hopkins Children's Center. She led the investigation that deemed the child "functionally cured," meaning in long-term remission even if all traces of the virus haven't been completely eradicated.
Next, Persaud's team is planning a study to try to prove that, with more aggressive treatment of other high-risk babies. "Maybe we'll be able to block this reservoir seeding," Persaud said.
No one should stop anti-AIDS drugs as a result of this case, Fauci cautioned.
But "it opens up a lot of doors" to research if other children can be helped, he said. "It makes perfect sense what happened."
Better than treatment is to prevent babies from being born with HIV in the first place.
About 300,000 children were born with HIV in 2011, mostly in poor countries where only about 60 percent of infected pregnant women get treatment that can keep them from passing the virus to their babies. In the U.S., such births are very rare because HIV testing and treatment long have been part of prenatal care.
"We can't promise to cure babies who are infected. We can promise to prevent the vast majority of transmissions if the moms are tested during every pregnancy," Gay stressed.
The only other person considered cured of the AIDS virus underwent a very different and risky kind of treatment — a bone marrow transplant from a special donor, one of the rare people who is naturally resistant to HIV. Timothy Ray Brown of San Francisco has not needed HIV medications in the five years since that transplant.
The Mississippi case shows "there may be different cures for different populations of HIV-infected people," said Dr. Rowena Johnston of amFAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research. That group funded Persaud's team to explore possible cases of pediatric cures.
It also suggests that scientists should look back at other children who've been treated since shortly after birth, including some reports of possible cures in the late 1990s that were dismissed at the time, said Dr. Steven Deeks of the University of California, San Francisco, who also has seen the findings.
"This will likely inspire the field, make people more optimistic that this is possible," he said.
In the Mississippi case, the mother had had no prenatal care when she came to a rural emergency room in advanced labor. A rapid test detected HIV. In such cases, doctors typically give the newborn low-dose medication in hopes of preventing HIV from taking root. But the small hospital didn't have the proper liquid kind, and sent the infant to Gay's medical center. She gave the baby higher treatment-level doses.
The child responded well through age 18 months, when the family temporarily quit returning and stopped treatment, researchers said. When they returned several months later, remarkably, Gay's standard tests detected no virus in the child's blood.
Ten months after treatment stopped, a battery of super-sensitive tests at half a dozen laboratories found no sign of the virus' return. There were only some remnants of genetic material that don't appear able to replicate, Persaud said.
In Mississippi, Gay gives the child a check-up every few months: "I just check for the virus and keep praying that it stays gone."
The mother's HIV is being controlled with medication and she is "quite excited for her child," Gay added.
Newly Diagnosed HIV Cases in the Philippines
In January 2013, there were 380 new HIV Ab sero-positive individuals confirmed by the STD/AIDS Cooperative Central Laboratory (SACCL) and reported to the HIV and AIDS Registry. This was 79% higher compared to the same period last year. Mos of the cases (93%) were males. The median age was 27 years (age range: 17-62 years). The 20-29 year (61%) age-group had the most number of cases.
Reported modes of transmission were sexual contact (376) and needle sharing among injecting drug users (4). Males having sex with other males (82%) were the predominant type of sexual transmission. Most (93%) of the cases were still asymptomatic at the time of reporting.
In January 2013, the bulk of the new HIV cases came from NCR, Region 4A, Region 3, Region 11, and Region 7.
Newly Diagnosed HIV Cases in the Philippines
In December 2012, there were 293 new HIV Ab sero-positive individuals confirmed by the STD/AIDS Cooperative Central Laboratory (SACCL) and reported to the HIV and AIDS Registry. This was 9% higher compared to the same period last year.
Most of the cases (97%) were males. The median age was 28 years (age range: 18-70 years). The 20-29 year (57%) age-group had the most number of cases. Fifty-two percent (152) of the reported cases were from the National Capital Region (NCR).
Reported mode of transmission were sexual contact (288) and needle sharing among injecting drug users (5). Males having sex with other males (83%) were the predominant type of sexual transmission. Most (95%) of the cases were still asymptomatic at the time of reporting.
Of the 293 HIV positive cases, fourteen were reported as AIDS cases, 12 males and 2 females. The median age is 31 years (age range: 23-55 years). All acquired the infection through sexual contact (4 homosexual, 4 heterosexual, and 6 bisexual). There was no reported death for this month.
Overseas Filipino Workers
Twelve of the 293 (4%) reported cases were OFWs. There were 11 males and 1 female. The median age was 29 years (age range: 23-56 years). All acquired the infection through sexual contact (6 heterosexual, 3 homosexual, and 3 bisexual).
In December 2012, bulk of the new HIV cases came from NCR, Region 4A, Region 3, Region 11, and Region 7.
MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives has passed on third and final reading a bill mandating new strategies in the fight against the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the country.
“We have very high hopes we will have a new Acquired Immune Deficiency (AIDS) prevention and control law by mid-year at the latest,” Rep. Arnel Ty of the party-list group Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers Association, one of the authors of bill, said yesterday.
Ty said the Senate is scheduled to conduct a hearing today on a counterpart bill authored by Sen. Miriam Santiago.
He said the anti-HIV/AIDS measures mandate the Philippine National AIDS Council to draw up a fresh six-year program with definite targets to reverse the average 45 percent annual increase in new HIV cases in the country since 2010.
HIV causes AIDS, which destroys the human body’s immune system and still does not have any cure. However, anti-retroviral therapy can slow down the ailment.
According to the Department of Health, HIV is being spread in the country primarily through high-risk sexual contact, predominantly male-to-male sex, and needle sharing among illegal drug users.
A total of 3,338 new HIV infections were diagnosed nationwide in 2012, up by 42 percent or 989 cases, compared to the 2,349 detected in 2011.
Once enacted, Ty said the anti-HIV/AIDS bill “will go a long way in improving the living conditions of HIV-positive people through greater access to treatment, care and support.”
“The bill also sets tougher penalties for entities and individuals who discriminate against HIV-positive people as well as those who violate their rights to confidentiality,” he said.
He said there is still time to pass the measure into law if the Senate approves its version next week.
Jess Diaz, The Philippine Star (January 31, 2012)
Posted by pinoypositive | Thursday, January 10, 2013 | Category: AIDS movie, HBO, Julia Roberts, Larry Kramer, News and Updates, The Normal Heart |
52) Julia Roberts to star in HBO film on early AIDS epidemic
AIDS movie|HBO|Julia Roberts|Larry Kramer|News and Updates|The Normal Heart|Comments
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Julia Roberts will star as a paraplegic physician treating patients early in the AIDS epidemic in the stage-to-screen adaptation of the Tony Award-winning drama "The Normal Heart," U.S. cable television network HBO said on Friday.
"The Normal Heart," set to air on HBO in 2014, tells the story of the dawning of the epidemic in 1980s New York.
Oscar-winner Roberts plays Dr. Emma Brookner, who treats several early patients infected with the HIV virus that causes AIDS. Co-star Mark Ruffalo plays Ned Weeks, an eyewitness to how the disease ravaged the city's gay community.
The film will be directed by "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy and was adapted by the play's author, Larry Kramer, an early advocate for AIDS prevention and care.
"Ryan has assembled an extraordinary cast to bring Larry Kramer's landmark theatrical achievement to the screen for the first time, and we couldn't be more thrilled to bring this important film to HBO," Michael Lombardo, HBO's president of programming, said in a statement.
"The Normal Heart" debuted on stage in 1985 in New York and was revived on Broadway in 2011, winning the Tony Award for best revival.
The movie version was originally envisioned as big screen release before HBO took it up as a television film.
More on Kramer's play:
In 1981, writer Larry Kramer hosted a gathering of six gay men and their friends to discuss the "gay cancer," and to talk about fundraising for research. This informal meeting in Kramer's home would lead to the formation of Gay Men's Health Crisis, one of the first advocacy groups for HIV prevention and care.
Kramer's play debuted at New York Public Theatre in 1985 and was revived in Los Angeles and London and off-Broadway. The 2011 Broadway revival garnered five Tony nominations, winning for Best Revival, Best Featured Actor and Best Featured Actress.
A group of researchers from Spain, France and the United States has found a way to offer some protection against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV): with inactivated HIV.
The study, led by Dr. Felipe Garcia of the University of Barcelona, showed that patients vaccinated with heat-inactivated HIV may not need to take medication for a few weeks or months.
Science News reported that disabled HIV "can awaken immune protection in some patients."
The study, published Jan. 2 in the journal Science Translational Medicine, said, "Inducing HIV-1–specific immune responses with a therapeutic immunization has been proposed to control viral replication after discontinuation of Combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) as an alternative to "cART for life."
Combination antiretroviral therapy entails taking two or more drugs to prevent the replication of retroviruses like HIV.
In the study, scientists and medical researchers took blood samples from 36 patients. They extracted each person's HIV and took samples of dendritic cells—immune system cells.
The researchers blasted the HIV from 22 randomly selected patients with heat to inactivate it. Later on, the patients received a vaccine from their own dendritic cells and inactivated HIV.
Within 12 weeks, virus levels went down by at least 90 percent in 12 of the 22 patients, Science News reported.
But most of the treated patients lost their immunity to HIV over time and their virus levels rose once more.
Science News also reported that after 11 months, only three of the recipients of the vaccine maintained the 90 percent drop in virus levels.
The volunteers of the study have been taking standard antiretroviral therapy before the trials started.
"It is likely that the person’s immune system is already damaged, and so they cannot mount a sufficiently efficient functional antiviral response [to a vaccine]," Science News quoted Statens Serm Institute in Copenhagen physician Anders Fomsgaard as saying.
"It may be more optimal to vaccinate during antiretroviral therapy," he also said.
Fomsgaard recognizes the potential for development of the new study.
Meanwhile, Garcia said that even if their study failed in knocking down HIV completely, it "would still be beneficial if it proves to be long-lasting."
A related study, published in 2010, showed that the "elite controllers"—one percent of the HIV-positive population who do not develop AIDS symptoms—could be the key to eradicating HIV.
Shaira Panela/BM, GMA News
Newly Diagnosed HIV Cases in the Philippines
In November 2012, there were 284 new HIV Ab sero-positive individuals confirmed by the STD/AIDS Cooperative Central Laboratory (SACCL) and reported to the HIV and AIDS Registry. This was 34% higher compared to the same period last year.
Most of the cases (97%) were males. The median age was 28 years (age range: 17-59 years). The 20-29 years (52%) age-group had the most number of cases. Forty-seven percent (134) of the reported cases were from the National Capital Region (NCR).
Reported mode of transmission were sexual contact (282) and needle sharing among injecting drug users (2). Males having sex with other males (82%) were the predominant type of sexual transmission. Most (92%) of the cases were still asymptomatic at the time of reporting.
Of the 284 HIV positive cases, twenty-four were reported as AIDS cases, all were males. The median age is 29 years (age range: 20-45 years). Ninety-six percent (23) acquired the infection through sexual contact (15 homosexual, 4 heterosexual, and 14 bisexual) and 1 acquired through needle sharing among injecting drug users. There was no reported death for this month.
Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs)
Thirty-five of the 284 (12%) reported cases were OFWs. There were 32 males and 3 females. The median age was 32 years (age range: 21-52 years). All acquired the infection through sexual contact (12 heterosexual, 16 homosexual, and 7 bisexual).
Bazzo Asian Bar and Resto presents singer RJ Cruz in Back to Life, a birthday party show for a cause. The show is for the benefit of The Love Fund, a project that provides medical assistance to the indigent PLHIVs (People Living with HIV).
The show will be on January 10, 2013 at Bazzo Bar, Bluewave, Macapagal Avenue in Pasay City. First show starts at 8:30 pm, and the second show starts at 11:30 pm.
For tickets and sponsorship, please contact Mr. Johnray Manansala at 09278111504.
MANILA, Philippines - We knew they were going to be there and we had this planned from the beginning.
We leaped out of the cab and onto the streets with rainbow tattoos on our shoulders, fury in our fists, and feet ready to walk the good walk. Right around the corner, we saw the first traces of them, getting ready with their huge, condemning signs and loudspeakers and T-shirts that said, "Repent and Believe."
“This is going to be good,” we kept saying to each other. It was the first time for both of us to attend a Pride March and we couldn’t stop imagining if what we see on "Queer As Folk" would match its real-life, Filipino counterpart. Walking into the grounds of the Makati City Hall, we were greeted by spicy hot drag queens strutting across a vast rainbow draping the length of an Olympic swimming pool. They were in the middle of a colorful crowd that gathered under a long, wide, and commanding rainbow flag up in the air.
But something was missing: the people outside who wouldn’t dare step inside. What fun is a gay prideanything without a protesting religious something! Fundies, they call them.
Overly passionate fundamentalists who seemed to have a lot of time on their hands and found it no trouble at all to cook up a semblance of a protest demonstration, complete with props and matching costumes. To the marchers, they appeared like monuments with whom everyone wanted a photo.
So we did, quite radically so. It had always been an entry in our bucket list and the chance presented itself.
Jake posted this photo as his profile picture on Facebook that night, and the photo caught on with hundreds of likes and shares by the next morning.
We did not expect the photo to go viral, but as we watched the numbers continue to rise, we also read through people’s comments, and so far, everyone’s been nothing but nice. We were met with waves of support. Encouraging and proud words poured in from people we knew and people we didn’t know, people who were openly queer or declared otherwise.
They shared the photo with captions commending us for our bravery. Eventually we were able to get in touch with the nice girl who took the photo for us, and it even caught the attention of J. Neil Garcia, editor of “Ladlad: An Anthology of Philippine Gay Writing."
Some commented how this was something that had to be shared. We figure that perhaps people do want to see this kind of change in society. Or, perhaps they want this narrative to be their own. It's probably a bold move they’ve been striving to make themselves. And we’re glad that we helped them get closer to it.
One commenter questioned the ethics of this photo, even if the cause was something that was shared.“Hindi ba with this picture ginagawa lang natin sa kanila yung ginagawa nila sa mga tulad natin" (Are we not, with this picture, doing to them what they do against people like us)?"
While we understood what he meant, we disagreed. We're all free to express ourselves, and this photo merely depicts that. We're all just standing up for what we believe in -- a world where we’re all at peace with each other, where we accept and respect each other’s beliefs. But quite frankly, it's quite impossible. There will always be a fight, and we have chosen ours (or it chose us), and we stand ready to absorb the ripples that these actions create.
This is not to say we are fighting hate with hate. Apart from it being a bucket list thing, we wanted to do the Pride March justice and really stand up, and not just wave around rainbow flags. We wanted to reallystand up. To shake up the scene and really make ourselves visible.
Some people go to the pride march and become who they want to become for a day, and then go home to hide back in the closet, maybe not from their friends, but from their conservative families. Some people don’t even feel the need to come out and that’s okay. But not us.
The photo reached our parents and relatives eventually, and though we were both out to them to begin with, there were still consequences to deal with. Bardo, whose parents are for the most part tolerant, was requested to have the photo taken down. But it just doesn't work that way. What happens on the Internet stays on the Internet. We have no chance to ever undo this and we knew the risks from the beginning.
We remember the time when we were still in the closet and vividly so, how much we needed to see someone do it first. We did it, as a way of showing whomever was watching that there are people who are willing to expose their underbellies to public criticism to prove that the LGBT community is nothing short of tough. - Rappler.com
Source: BARDO WU AND JAKE JEREZA, Rappler.com (12-10-12)