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Philippines: Living with HIV

"The Light Will Guide You Through." From the website of Youth AIDS Filipinas Alliance

Blogs are increasingly being used in the Philippines to narrate the personal struggles of young Filipinos who tested positive with HIV. This promotes conversation among young people and it helps spread awareness about the reality of HIV/AIDS in the country.

If a person is not yet ready to tell others about his/her condition, setting up an anonymous blog may help. This is what Positibo007 did

I am creating this blog for you my dear friends. You will read this blog when the right time comes, but as of now, I am not ready to tell you that I have “it”

from the start, it is painful to tell a story of what happened to me…I am opening this account on the second day that I have ‘it'.

I dont want you to worry. Im ok, im in perfect health and im still living a normal life.

Life after PUSIT felt hurt when his loved ones were unable to accept the truth about him

The fact that I came out to be positive was easy for me to stomach. It's a truth. But what's hard for me to stomach is when I see people who're really special to me, unable to accept the whole fact about me.

I needed his answer. I needed to hear his voice. I wanted to know if he was going to stay with me or he was going to get on with his life

Back in the Closet introduces himself in this way

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.

Now, 9 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.

His latest CD4 count increased by nine points:

As someone currently living with HIV, it’s standard that I get my cd4 count measured every six months.

My cd4 was 493. Up nine points. Hmm. I had mixed feelings. Nine points? Nine measly points? Compared to 156 in the six-month period prior to this one? Hmm. Not something instantly impressive.

But considering this six-month period involved some failed attempts at affection, fallouts with friends, leaving the comfort zone of my old job, delving into a new profession, wrestling with the longer daily commute, a grave ARV overdose mistake, and so many other possibly distressing situations… suddenly, nine points up doesn’t sound so bad. At least it didn’t go down, right? So there. I’m happy.

Charlie wrote Manila Gay Guy about his struggle with HIV:

It’s been over a year since I’ve learned about my condition and I’m still trying to live a normal life. My perspective of life drastically changed from being the optimistic type to being paranoid and pessimistic at all times. I used to hang out with friends and socialize before but I gave up on life and now “a living dead” is how I picture myself. I ceased to engage in any relationship for fear of rejection and criticism because of my condition.

Charlie’s letter elicited many responses. Here is an advice from James

Charlie, im an HIV positive, when i first knew about it, we had the same feeling, i thought my world’s going to stop and im going to live a life waiting for my death to come. but i realize that there is more to life than thinking about this disease. We will die sooner if we keep on thinking about this disease. So let us just take our meds religiously, and monitor our CD4 counts. healthy living is our most priority. Take care charlie

Another response from Art:

Having HIV is no longer a death sentence. I know it is hard for you to be in this situation. Seek out counseling, find an HIV support group, keep yourself busy! I know it’s hard but you don’t have to wallow in self pity. You just need the medication and the right kind of disposition. Live life to its fullest

After learning that he is HIV-positive, Dr. El Roi vowed to promote Christian Living as an effective tool for HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness throughout the world

For the next two months after that terrible medical result, I have felt like I am a dead-man walking because I opted to continue working and live my life normally as if nothing happened. After that grieving moment to God and accepted the fact that I am sick and I'll be dead in 12-18 years, I realized that I need to be responsible for the consequences of my actions.

Now it had given me so much time to contemplate on things and eventually decided to turn over a new leaf and make that big change in my life……to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

Pinoy HIV Plus shares a story on how she confessed her condition to her sister

I was thinking at that time that maybe this is the sign for me to open up my situation to my “family”. So I told her. At first she wasn't really taking me seriously, but I told her that it's true and then started the story behind why I knew I had the virus. She was very supportive, I asked her to call my other sisters and so that I could tell them and they were also very supportive. Of course, there's the worry about how I was doing here now that I have this, or if Im feeling ok. I told them that nothing has changed in me, except for my lifestyle. On their part, they told me that nothing has changed, I am still their sister that they knew, that they love so much and that they're always there whenever the time comes for me to go….drama!

I Have HIV was confined at a government hospital center for two weeks to receive treatment together with other HIV patients

I told my parent's about it and we decided to tell my 5th sibling about my condition he cried when he found out about it and eventually accepted it. I told my business associates that I will be on vacation for 2 weeks so that they will not ask any more questions about my whereabouts.

When we arrived my doctor facilitated my admission and told me to prepare. She introduced me to my batchmates who will also undergo ARV medication. I was snobbish on my first day. I was only talking to my brother. I don't eat the food ration. I always asked my brother to buy our food in the restaurant.

Eventually 2 weeks is kinda long and I became close with the other patients there btw, most of the patients there are also gay. Me and my other batchmates who was starting to take ARV are getting closer day by day.

His new goal in life is

to help others with the same disease and to educate other people about the effects of the new ticking time bomb which we call HIV/ AIDS. The government just don't have time to look into it because we have a lot of problems but I think HIV is getting worst every second and every minute of the day.

The Chronicles of E underscores the importance of promoting awareness about HIV

When I became positive, I thought that it was the end of me. I was scared because I thought I was dying soon—and all the meds! I know it costs a lot to have HIV… I don't have the resources for it! And no, I cannot and will not tell my folks about it! Not yet! It was only after a few days that I found out there were NGO's and hospitals that helped people living with HIV.

Now, I ask, why just now? Why wasn't I was aware of this, pre-HIV? Do I need to be positive first before I can know all this information? Now, it got me to thinking about awareness.

Kablog! confirms that there is still stigma associated with HIV in the Philippines

I’ve said it enough times. I’ve felt it enough times. I’ve worried about it enough times. I think it’s safe to say that everyone does acknowledge that there is stigma that surrounds HIV in the Philippines.

Hell, just going to get tested, or even thinking of getting tested, you might not have realized you’ve experienced the stigma as well. What will they think of me?, Will they judge me?, Will they think I’m gay?, Will they think I’m promiscuous? and so on. It’s sad that you have to worry about things like that, rather than just acknowledge the importance of knowing one’s HIV status.

But I’ve come to realize that the stigma experienced by those living with HIV is not the same for each and everyone. Some have it bad, some have it worse. These variances along the stigma scale can stem from the smallest things, and certainly HIV being regarded as a gay disease is just one of those things.

According to health authorities, the number of HIV Ab Seropositive Cases in the Philippines has been increasing over the past years

From January 1984 to July 2009, there were 4,021 HIV Ab seropositive cases reported, of which 3,204 (80%) were asymptomatic and 817 (20%) were AIDS cases. Ages ranged from 1-72 years (median 32 years). The age groups with the most number of cases were: 25-29 years (22%), 30-34 years (20%), 35-39 years (16%). Seventy-two percent (2,873) were males.

Photo caption: “The Light Will Guide You Through.” Photo taken from the website of Youth AIDS Filipinas Alliance.
  • loren

    when i was still in university ,i planned to be a volunteer who could company some AIDS orphans ,and i told me boy friend ,he reacted very fiecely ,he told me that we would broke up if i really go ,i feel…..i dont know ,i explain to him that it’s safe ,and i can protect myself ,and it”s not a humiliation ,and i can unerstand what he was worring about ,but it’s ok. we discussed this alomst 2 hours ,and we cant persuade each other ,i still applied for that volunteer position ,but i was rejected at last ,we kept our relationship at last . but he felt a long-time nervous because i told him i had dinner with some AIDS people 3 months ago ,he almost got a little mad ,and complained why i didnt tell him much earlier.
    we broke up finnally because our values are so different from each other ,but i’m always thinking is it enough if we have enough knowledge.could we relax when we know enough about AIDS or homosexuality? i dont think it’s enough .

  • ilen

    hello guys,

    Have a blessed day ahead!!!!things seems hopeless, some may think you’re dead, felt rejected by many, others might be happy for you, but Never in the Lord’s sight you were less..the Love of the Father is unchanging,He will love you still, ..His plan for you is better than your pain and frustration.. before you born you were called by Him,you are destined in heaven and its never been late….consider it pure joy my brothers whenever you face trials of many kind its the testing of your faith-James 1:2….stand firm in Him, receive Jesus….His waiting for your return…revelation 3:20…..u’ll always be in my prayer….God Bless!!!Psalm 139…..

  • scared to lose

    My life is in the Philippienes and I have to tell her that I have H.I.V. without losing her before I can commit to a marrige with her and hope she accepts me. I am an American who fell in love with (as i call her) my Bonita. I really wish that the stigma was’nt so bad in the Philippienes and people were more edjucated. Here couples live long and happy lives with only one partner being positive and even thier children being born free of H.I.V.. Open your minds and your hearts to people some are gay some are drug users and some are promiscuous and some of us were infected by the use of infected blood in the hospital. So dont judge, I have lived with H.I.V. for 25 years and still plan on living at least 40 more. Do not look at H.I.V. as a dieses look at it as a different life style. I take one pill a day before i go to bed and have no side affects. Wish me luck that my bonita will still be my wife when I tell her in Oct. 2009

    • dexter

      what’s the pill that your taking in please?

      • buzters

        hope to find more friend to talk about this mutation

    • mine

      hi im just curious what happened to u now and ur bonita hope ur doing fine and also ur relationship i wish u all the luck

  • dexter

    am also one of you…am about to go abroad, just have known that am positive yesterday. am only 25yrs.old…i dont know what to do…am goodluking, tall and moreno…really dont know what to do…can anybody help me?

    • ilen

      hello dex….why lose hope?It’s not the end of your battle…yesterday is a broken piece of your dreams but today is a masterpiece…God’s is mindful of you…why worry when you could pray…God loves you…He knows best even things messed up…He has plans for you…in Jesus their is hope…In HIm their is freedom…Jeremiah 29:11…just surrender everything you desire…He’s waiting for you…John 15:16…God Bless!!!Everything happens for good…it may seem painful…but you will reap the joy of peace when you hold to Jesus..HE will always love you…You’re in my prayer…

  • http://www.globalvoicesonline.org countryheart

    i am a registered nurse and i recently applied for a job abroad and i passed the interview.
    i had to go trough a medical examination and it was 3 days ago when i got tested for HIV.
    just today, i called the agency and learned about the result of my medical that i have “pending HIV evaluation”.
    i am scared, but i have to face it head on and do what i have to do.
    i haven’t told anybody about this thing just yet, but i am bothered that the words “pending HIV evaluation” still linger to my ears.

  • http://www.globalvoicesonline.org countryheart

    it was really a blessing to have bumped
    into this page and it somewhat enlightened
    me to have a positive disposition so i can
    deal with my problem the way that
    i should do.
    thank you!

  • hoping

    i am afraid that i have the same disease. i need help, i’ve been paranoid about it for almost a year now and it’s killin me.. i even think of ending my life without even trying to find out if im really pisitive.. i cant handle it anymore.pls. help me, i really need someon to talk to… plsss! i dont know what to do anymore!

  • humbledheart

    I have been having symptoms of having “it” after I got involved in a one-night stand relationship. I’ve had myself tested after a week, and it turned negative. However I was advised that I should have another set of test after 3 – 6months.
    Sometime this week would be the 3rd month and I’m planning to have myself tested.
    For the past months, I’ve been experiencing symptoms that I’ve never felt before, and it bothers me a lot. And those symptoms relating to having “it”. Most of the time I felt anxious and it affects my personal and social disposition.
    I am a Christian, and GOD knows that I have repented my sins, asked for forgiveness and would love to live a normal life again. I’m asking for your prayers my dear friends that results may turn out favorably.
    Nevertheless, I will humbly accept the Sovereign Will of the Father and will continue to live according to His will.

  • humbledheart

    In addition…I am locally employed,and would like to know if I will be terminated once the company knows my condition? Will the company ever know it?
    And is there any law that protects HIV Patients towards their workplace? Just totally curious on things.

    • indoubt

      Hi humbledheart! i’m glad we are in the same boat. ^_^ I had a one night stand with this girl.

      days after I had medical examination for onboard training. since its only a matter of days, its negative of course. However, the following months i felt something is not right.. so ill be waiting for 3 months and see the results after the test… i wish i have not contracted the virus, i’m only 19 and my dream of becoming a seaman is just about to start.. T_T

      pls. pray for me. how was the result of yours?

  • good name

    I also had one night stand to a woman I met that night in a club. After 2 weeks just woke up in the morning with yellow stain on my undergarment. Was so shocked I had STD that can be cured with pills and antibiotics. But what keeps on creeping my minds is the possibility that I might be also positive of HIV. My doctor advised me to go for an HIV test after 3 months and now is the time. I don’t know what my thought is objecting me to undergo the test. So much afraid of finding I’m “+”. I was trying to see to myself the initial symptoms but can’t feel the concrete one, I maybe am a asymptomatic. I’m getting paranoid and the most hurtful feeling is I am in a relationship, after that time we had contact with my partner and had transfered the STD to her, she was cured, were both cured. But now, last day she had a fever with sore throat not severe though but it is so painful to see her possibly affected and I’m getting real paranoid. I wished, I alone should suffer it, not her, my fault, my wrong doings, why she had to suffer the consequences I alone should bear. I’m really bothered of the cost of medication in case the worst I’m afraid of. I needed to be prepared. I need to know more what else I can do. where can I go? If somebody can give me there opinion that would greatly be apprciated. Thanks a lot.

    • repentance

      i, also have a one night stand, and also experience the same symptoms of having “it”… just like all of you i want to exclude myself from others, but i don’t want to leave my family,,, what should i do…

    • repentance

      if ever we have it,, at least try to share a good lyf to others,, i will dedicate my life teaching in an orphanage or any voluntary act since may natapos din naman ako,, i will live untol i forgive myself

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