Monday, August 16, 2010


Ever since I learned about my status more than four months ago, I've began reading up on materials on HIV and related topics to beef up whatever limited stock knowledge I have of the medical condition. I can say I have learned a lot but I am not yet an expert as I am still learning more and more about HIV.

Part of the reason why I decided to learn more about HIV is that I know how paranoia and even the lack of knowledge about the virus can affect me in more ways than one, even paralyze me in fear.

And I've encountered those whose paranoia have gotten to them.

Case # 1 - Pozzie A has two kids in the same house where he lives. They're actually children of his female housemate. He is scared that he might infect them by simply living with them.

Case # 2 - OFW has had as many HIV tests as he already had after an unprotected sex with a female sex worker. All test, done within the window period and even beyond, proved non-reactive but he is still worried that he has HIV because he does not trust the veracity of the test results and efficiency of the test kits. He has lost sleep, worrying over whether he is indeed non-reactive.

These are just two of the several cases of paranoid individuals that I've encountered.

One thing that is common among the stories I've come across is that the letter writers or concerned individuals resort to self-diagnosis or base their status on the symptoms they have even if the symptoms do not necessarily mean they are positive for HIV but for other ailments. They are scared of taking the test and with this, I encourage them to take it because that is the only way they would know what exactly are they sick of and their status.

Some take the test after much encouragement and gathering the guts to do so and they turn out non-reactive or negative for HIV. Whatever symptoms they had indicated other illnesses. Others are still scared of taking the test.

Paranoia won't get anybody anywhere and can even eat a person alive. The only way to address it or stop their fear is to know one's status so that whatever it is, he or she will be guided accordingly.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It feels good

As soon as I settle down in my desk when I arrive in the office, I always check my emails first before I browse local and foreign news websites, Philippine-based forums, Facebook, and of course my blog. In one of my email accounts, it was a pleasant surprise to receive a letter from a new pozzie who had just read my blog.

It warmed my heart when he said he was inspired by my posts and somewhat found comfort as he comes to terms with his status.

As someone who has made it a personal mission to engage in HIV awareness in whatever way he can and help out other pozzies as well, especially newbies, it feels so good when you get to help those with the same medical condition grapple with it and try to move on with life even if it is difficult at first.

I also give out information on HIV and related issues when needed. I don't claim to be an expert on HIV as I am still learning new things about it day by day but whatever I learn, I share it.

It's been more than four months since I learned about my status. I still have moments of depression and I still suffer from minor ailments/setbacks either due to adjustment to the antiretrovirals or my CD4 may have dropped due to my work schedule. But I see to it that I get over my depression or get medical treatment when necessary. I get to encounter problems related to my medical condition but I get over them after awhile.

When those "bad times" strike, I remind myself of my advocacy to help others and how lucky I still am for having learned about my status early so whatever physical discomforts and problems I am going through will come to pass. Above all, I bask in the support and love of my family, partner, and friends, all of whom help me make it through whenever I am down.