Pia Wurtzbach was one of the celebrities who called out the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and local news outlets in her home country on a controversial human immunodeficiency (HIV) status disclosure. Miss Universe 2015 took to Instagram on Nov. 29, Wednesday, to explain the issue.
“It’s illegal to publicly announce one’s HIV status (RA8504),” Wurtzbach captioned a black photo referring to Republic Act 8504 also known as the Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act. “What has been done has not only traumatized the men that were involved; it has also worsened the HIV situation in the Philippines.”
On Nov. 27, Monday, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. (Manila time), Wurtzbach served as one of the judges at the Miss Universe 2017 final telecast in Las Vegas, Nevada. On Nov. 26, Sunday, at 10 a.m. (Manila time), 11 men were arrested in a buy-bust operation at Room 609 of Seda Hotel at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City, Metro Manila, GMA News quoted PDEA chief Aaron Aquino as saying.
The 11 men arrested during the entrapment operation were said to be gay and two of them were suspected of selling or distributing illegal drugs. After finding out that one of the suspects was HIV positive, the PDEA and local news outlets decided to expose the suspects’ identities including their mugshots and names to the media.
“Was this really necessary?” Wurtzbach asked. “I understand that what the men were supposedly doing was illegal and they should face legal consequences. But there was absolutely no need to expose and publicly shame them.”
As an LGTBQ rights advocate and a Goodwill Ambassador of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Wurtzbach explained that she is “working so hard in educating the people properly on HIV/AIDS.” She added that it is her goal to help take away the stigma associated with the spectrum of conditions caused by infection with the HIV.
On Jan. 30, Wurtzbach passed the Miss Universe crown to Iris Mittenaere at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila. Here is a clip featuring the two beauty queens in Baguio City: