When a nightclub exposed an inquiry about HIV

July 13, 2018 - 7:00 AM

Popular hangout Nectar Nightclub’s comeback to what it described as a “disturbing” inquiry went viral and gathered mixed reactions.

Nectar, dubbed as the first and only LGBTQ+ establishment in the country, aired its grievances on July 10 over an online conversation that it said supposedly reflected ignorance that about the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV.

“As you can imagine, we were horrified that someone had the nerve to offend us while asking about a celebration with their ‘straight’ friends within our LGBTQ+ establishment,” Nectar’s social media team wrote.

“Their ignorance about HIV was appalling and the audacious and casual tempo of their shrieking insult to celebrate a party of marriage in one of our clubs when we ourselves don’t have the right to marry the person we love (here in The Philippines) was downright straight-privilege nonsense,” the luxury hub added.

The now-viral post included a screenshot of the chat on Nectar’s official Facebook page, which started as a seemingly harmless query at first.

Dear Straight Bigots-Last week, via Nectar Nightclub’s Facebook page, we received a very disturbing message. (See…

Posted by Nectar Nightclub on Tuesday, July 10, 2018

A second comeback

Nectar’s open letter to its patrons was praised by some who found its statement bold for standing up for the rights of the LGBT community.

However, some say how it was a “missed opportunity” to enlighten the inquiring person.

Those who supported Nectar countered that it should not be the role of its staff to educate others with a topic they can search about online.

Team Mag, the magazine for Filipino gay men, also shared its two cents worth on the way Nectar responded to a prospective customer.

“Nectar Nightclub’s response to a patron with zero knowledge about HIV except for hateful assumptions. Yet another glaring example of how ignorance leads to fear leads to discrimination. Yet another reason for our community to keep the love and awareness going,” the Twitter post read.

Given the various comments its Facebook message received, Nectar released another statement on July 10, which appeared to be more polite than the first, declaring its being “a safe and accepting party environment for everyone.”

It has additional links from Love Yourself Inc. and The Red Whistle to those who seek information and support.

HIV/AIDS in the Philippines

People get transmitted with HIV mostly through “sexual behaviors and needle or syringe use,” based on medical website HIV.org.

This means, it cannot be passed on through the following:

  • By hugging, shaking hands, sharing toilets, sharing dishes, or closed-mouth or “social” kissing with someone who is HIV-positive.
  • Through saliva, tears, or sweat that is not mixed with the blood of an HIV-positive person.
  • By mosquitoes, ticks or other blood-sucking insects.
  • Through the air.

The United Nations had previously recorded that the Philippines has an alarming 140-percent increase of HIV/AIDS infections, the fastest-growing epidemic within the Asia-Pacific region for the past six years.

Hoping to address this health catastrophe, the Senate was able to approve the Philippine HIV/AIDS Policy Act of 2018 last May. — Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos