Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I am a pozzie but I am still me

Don't avoid me because I have HIV, we can still hug, eat together, shake hands, and even kiss each other on the cheeks....

Don't say I cannot love someone else anymore because I have HIV, I still have feelings....

Don't say sex is a no-no for me because I have HIV, I am still human and my libido is still intact....

Don't pity me because I have HIV, I am still "normal" and can be productive like anyone else....

And lastly, don't take it against me for being careless and contracting HIV, it was a lapse of personal judgment and what i need the most is love, understanding and acceptance. :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

And so a year has passed

6:12 a.m. March 27, 2011 - In my room.

Exactly a year ago yesterday (March 26) , I learned that I was HIV positive. Well, not that it was confirmed yet that time but I came out reactive when I took the HIV antibody test at the Manila Social Hygiene Clinic. The blow-by-blow account can be found in my April 12, 2010 blog. I got the confirmation of my HIV status on April 12 but I consider yesterday as an anniversary of some sort so let me greet myself HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

A lot has happened since March 26, 2010. Coming out with this blog so I can write down my experiences, taking baseline tests at the MSHC, going to my treatment hub - Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) to have my blood and physical exams to taking antiretrovirals to going through the awful side effects of ARVs like fever, rashes that covered almost my entire body, joint pains and lethargy, going down with shingles in June last year, attending a self-empowerment seminar for HIV-positive persons, bouts of folliculitis on my scalp every now and then and severe cellulitis on my right lower calf last January 2011 that required hospitalization and a minor operation. These are just physical difficulties I went through and I haven't even talked about the emotional and psychological effects I experienced but suffice it to say, I overcame all of those.

I also met many other persons living with HIV (PLWHIVs) - the politically correct term and it feels good to know and talk to those who have the medical condition as I have and see that they are going just great. :)

Listed below are things that have I accomplished since March 26, 2010:

1. I carried out my personal advocacy of helping spread HIV and Aids awareness by joining Philippine-based forums on the topic and sharing what I know about the medical condition.

2. Advised other PLWHIVs, especially those newly-diagnosed, and family members of PLWHIVs, through email, calls, text, face-to-face counseling or peer support as some call it.

3. Practiced what I learned in the self-empowerment seminar I attended in June last year to help me cope with the emotional and physical challenges relative to my status.

4. Linked up with non-government groups like Pinoy Plus and the Youth Aids Filipinas Alliance (Yafa) and I now serve as a consultant of the latter organization. I conducted a seminar on Understanding the Media for the youth ambassadors who were trained by Yafa last January.

And how am I doing so far? I am great - just great! Indeed, being HIV-positive is not a death sentence. I am living proof that despite my status, those with the same medical condition as I have can still lead happy, "normal" and productive lives. The adjustment period (physical and emotional) can be daunting, especially for the newly-diagnosed but it will pass. Believe me, I've been there, done that. :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Almost a year

Three days to go and I mark my 1st anniversary as a HIV-positive individual on March 26. I am still gathering my thoughts and write them down when that day comes.

So far, I am doing just fine. :)