Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Living By Numbers

A month after I got my confirmatory result, I finally decided to go to my chosen treatment hub, Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Ermita, Manila. It was for me the most accessible among the government-owned hubs in Metro Manila. The other hubs are San Lazaro Hospital in Sta. Cruz, Manila and Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Alabang, Muntinlupa.

On the first Thursday of November, I asked C to go with me to PGH. We met around 9am at Robinson's Midtown. It's just at the back of PGH. We walked to PGH without knowing where to go. We entered the main lobby and found ourselves in the middle of hundreds of people. There was a very long line to get a pink/blue card. Another line was found on the second floor admissions. Then more people are coming in and out of the lobby. Some of them have been there for hours already waiting their turn to be served.

We looked for the directory and didn't find where the HIV clinic is. We asked the lady in the reception and she gave us directions (And I guess it's the wrong one). We spent the next 30 minutes walking thru the corridors of the hospital looking for the clinic. After getting lost in the hospital maze and seeing helpless patients, we gave up. We decided to return to the mall, rest and hang out there. I thought that it'll be easy to find. Lesson learned for me, research and ask first before going.

The following day, I went with a friend who tested positive and was scheduled to go back to Manila Social Hygiene Clinic for his confirmatory result. The clinic is a very old post-war or maybe prewar building. When we got to the clinic, we sat on the long wooden bench and an attendant asked us what we need. My friend said that he will just get his confirmatory result. He was assisted inside the doctor's room and I waited outside sitting on the bench.

As I wait, I saw that there were posters on the wall, basics of HIV, pictures of different STIs, artworks to remember World AIDS Day, and posters on HIV prevention and testing programs. I just read and looked at them. I freaked out when I saw the STI pictures. There's this picture of a vagina and anus with warts all over and penis with pus coming out among others. I just stopped looking because I'm starting to feel like vomiting. I sat on the bench again and waited fro my friend.

After about 10 minutes, my friend came out. He just said "Yun na (That's it)."

He was very calm. Maybe that's really how it goes. Like me, I was very calm when I walked out of ASP office and when I was alone, that's the time I cried.

Since we were already there, we both decided to go to San Lazaro Hospital. It's just across the hygiene clinic. It's not as crowded as compared to PGH. We walked to a small driveway at the back of the hospital to H4 Pavilion. It's where they receive HIV patients. It's easier to find.

When we got to H4, I was surprised. There were just about 10 people lined up to have a check-up. And air flows freely in the room. We approached the nurse's station and asked what we need to do. The nurse asked if we were new and we said yes. She was very accommodating. We gave our confirmatory result and referral letter. She asked us to fill-out a form and directed us to sit down until we are called.

The nurse called us, took our vital statistics and weight, and assigned our H4 codes. She said that these will be used to identify us. It is a requirement that the patients' identities will be confidential. Then I noticed a familiar looking guy sitting at the waiting area, 8 feet away from me. I was not too sure if it was him since he was too skinny and the person I knew has somewhat a bit of weight. I looked at him again and he looked at me. Then we smiled at each other. Then I knew it was really X. X and I have been co-members in a PLU group. The last time I saw him was over 2 years ago already.

After the session with nurse, I sat on the couch behind X at the waiting area and tapped his shoulder. He turned his head and then I said, "Kumusta na? (How are you?)" 

He the jokingly replied, "Eto, may HIV ako (I have HIV now)."

He shared his story. He said that he got pneumonia a year ago, got admitted in the hospital and that's when he found that he has HIV. He didn't go back to see any doctor since then. He went back to the carefree lifestyle, drinking, smoking and partying all night. He decided to go to SLH that day because he was already scared with what's happening to his body. He noticed that he's drastically losing weight and he won't stop coughing. I said to him that it was a smart decision to see the doctor already and did not wait to be confined in the hospital again.

The nurse called me and assisted me to the doctor's cube. There I met Dr. Arcangel. She said that she would need some laboratory results for baseline like X-ray, CBC, Urinalysis, SGPT, SGOT, etc. I don't even know what the other laboratory tests are for. She also scheduled me for my baseline CD4 count 2 Thursdays from that day. She told me that the CD4 count will determine how strong my immune system still is. If my CD4 count is at 350 or below, I will be needing to take ARVs to suppress the virus from attacking my healthy cells in my body. Having a low CD4 count equates to being prone to opportunistic infections and I must avoid that. And if it's above 350, I just need to have a healthy lifestyle. She then asked me to return after I have completed all my baseline tests and CD4 count.

After my consultation with Doc, me and my friend went left H4 Pavilion to have our laboratory tests done outside. We went to different clinics and laboratories. We went back to the social hygiene clinic for our CBC, blood sugar and urinalysis. Then to an X-Ray laboratory then to a nearby laboratory for the other tests. I had my blood extracted twice on that day. One injection on each arm. I felt sore after those extractions.

We had lunch at Jollibee, a local fastfood, while waiting for some of the results. We started talking about what life would entail us now that we are HIV positive. Financial stress is not our worry as of the moment since we found out that we don't need to pay for anything for our consultations and ARVs. If we ever get confined in that hospital due to an illness or infection, we just need to pay a very minimal amount. What we are more concerned about is our CD4 count. We were both hoping that ours is still high so we can avoid the ARVs for now. We went back to the laboratories to get our results after eating.

Two weeks later, I arrived at STD AIDS Cooperative Central Laboratory (SACCL), which is also in the SLH compound, for my CD4 count. It is where all the bloodworks like CD4 count, Western Blot, Viral Load, etc are being processed. I went alone since my friend scheduled his 2 days earlier. When I got inside, there were several people already waiting. CD4 count is only being processed every Tuesday and Thursday, and they only accommodate 20 people per day that's why I was scheduled two weeks after my initial consultation. There was a mix of age in the room. About 5 are around in their early 20s. Most, including me, are in the mid 20s to early 30s. And 19 out 20 are males. 

The assisting personnel asked us to fill-out a form.When it was already my turn, I went inside a room. My blood was extracted and was put in two vials. After the extraction, I just went out of SACCL and headed to work.

I came back a week after for my baseline consultation with Dra. Arcangel. I gave her my laboratory results and she said that it's all fine. She then pulled out my CD4 count result. 442! I was so happy that it was above 350. Dra. explained to me that it is relatively high compared to others who go there where their CD4 counts are below 100 and they have opportunistic infections. But it is still low because the normal count is at least 800. She advised me to stay living a healthy lifestyle and avoid anything that can deteriorate my health. She said that my aim now is to get the numbers higher and get it on the normal level. I agreed with her. I said that my next CD4 count will be at least 500.

I went out of the pavilion and texted all my friends. I was happy with my results because I get to avoid the ARVs. Well at least for the next few months. I am scared to come to that point because of the several side effects that people are experiencing when taking it.

My friend got his result as well. It was 280. He was already advised to take ARVs starting January. I assured him that I will be there to support him. I know that having HIV is already a major change in our lives and taking ARvs, which you will need to take for the rest of your life, is another big change.

My next CD4 count is scheduled 6 months from that day. Hopefully it's 500 plus or won't go down below 442 at the least. I know that if I stay and live healthier, I will get the numbers that I want. I can do something about it. I know I can do it.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Hi! I'm Ako and I'm Positive

"Hi! I'm <insert name> and I'm positive." 

I wish it's that easy to say to other people. Disclosure has always been an initial issue among PLHIVs aside from ARV side effects, fear of death, stigma, etc. So many questions arise if you decide on disclosing it to other people like - When is the best time to disclose your status? Who can you trust? What will happen if your friend or family know your status? Will they avoid me? Will they disown me? Will they still treat me the same way or differently? Are they going to be empathic or disgusted? And usually, like me, we often think of negative answers which add to our worries.

In my case, I have my own set of dilemmas as well. Whenever I feel like disclosing my status to someone, I think about it for a very long time and create a "disclosing strategy". Usually, I start discussing HIV in our normal conversations and I observe how they will react on the topic. Fortunately, I haven't encountered anyone who's been negative on the subject. Then I pick a perfect moment to share my story. People who knew my status have always been open minded and understanding afterwards. Maybe because they were informed prior to my disclosure or they are just simply shocked by my news. 

I have been keeping a list of people who know and I plan to disclose my status. I know that these people will never judge me, will still accept me and will be very understanding and supportive. I have already disclosed it to more than 50% of the people in the list. The list includes friends from high school, college and extended college, family, co-workers, PLHIVs I've met, and advocacy volunteers I've work with. I know it's a lot but I know they can help me as well in this journey.

As I have mentioned in my earlier posts,  The Beginning Part 1 and Part 2, I have shared it to 4 of my friends (2 from high school and 2 from college). When I received my confirmatory result, I immediately decided to tell it to more of my extended college friends. I sent a text message to them and asked to meet me for dinner the following week. I sought help from friends who know already to gather our friends.

We all decided to meet at Recipes in Robinson's Midtown. L, K, and C were there as well as 3 other friends, M, N and E for dinner. There were the usual laughs in our conversations and updates in our lives. Then when it was my turn, I said "I have news." 

The 3 newbies started to speculate like, I already have a boyfriend, I will move abroad, I have a new job, etc. But I said that they are all wrong. So again, I told my story from the very start. From the point I received a text message then went to the free rapid HIV testing then for the confirmatory. Everybody on the table was silent for a while. Then questions started to fill the conversation and I willingly answered them all. From what will happen to me, how I got it, is there a cure, etc. Afterwards, they showed their support for me. They said that we've been friends for years now and nothing will change. They told me to take care of myself and they will be there to help me out. They all decided to take the test as well.

A few weeks after that, I met another high school friend, S,  at a nearby cafe and told him my status. He thought that I was just joking. I just said, "Why would I joke about that?" 

He was shocked and did not talk for a while. After a few minutes we were back in to our normal discussions. We veered away from that particular topic. He is uncomfortable to talk about it even before. I understand where he is coming from. But he is still supportive and I know he is just worried with me and scared that I might be gone soon.

Days after Christmas, I met my high school friends again at a mall for a dinner and a catch-up. J was the first one to arrive. While waiting for B, L and S, I pulled him to a very quiet place and started telling my story again. He did not ask about anything. He just hugged me. Out of the 6 high school friends that I have, he was the least closest.  But with that hug, he assured me that he will be there for me through and through.

Just after New Year, I met up with K and C at a tea shop in Cubao. A went with us since he lives near the area. A is into the spiritual, metaphysical and paranormal being of things. After I told him my status, he was just calm. He asked me to write my wish in a piece of paper and he said a prayer in Latin (I think) for me and our other friends. I wonder now if people around us think that we're crazy. I admit that I'm not religious and haven't prayed to God about my illness for a while. Maybe because I don't want to ask him why He put me in this hard situation. I felt good after the prayer. It's as if all the pain that I'm feeling went away.

Last February, some college and extended college friends decided to meet up near my workplace for dinner. K, C, A, E, M went to the dinner. G and D came along since they also work in that area, and O went as well. The main reason why we had that dinner in that area was really for the three. Because I really planned to tell them my status, It's just that the other five friends want to be there and see our three friends as well.

After dinner, we went to a park just across the restaurant. Then the storytelling began. There were no dramas after. only hugs and comforting words from them. Then after 10 to fifteen minutes of talking about it, we were back to our fun and full of laughs conversations as if nothing happened. Maybe because I also assured them that I will be alright. I think that revelation also help D stop smoking. When we all went home, I felt how I am loved by my friends. I received several heartwarming text messages from them.

I am very thankful to have friends like them. I know them already for 6-20 years. We've been through a lot already and know each others' personal lives. If anything has changed, my relationship with them just became deeper. I can also say that my friends' lives were also affected in a good way. We are all maintaining a healthy lifestyle now, lesser night outs, drinking and smoking.

Disclosure is a way of therapy for me. Whenever I reveal my status to a friend, I always feel relieved. Maybe because they understand the situation and what HIV is. They never made me feel I am different. Nothing has changed how they treated me. I also never thought how deep our relationship is and how they can be so supportive.

I haven't disclosed my status to any member of my family yet. I am not ready and I think they aren't too. I know that they will still be there for me no matter what. I just don't want to cause any pain and worry to them. I will disclose when I really need to and when the right time comes. But right now, I can still manage my health with the support and love of my friends, and how I take care of myself. It's a different situation when it comes to the family. As of the moment, I am enjoying more time with my family and showing how much I love them. 

Thursday, 4 October 2012

527,040 minutes

Rent is one of my favorite musicals of all-time. I've been listening to their music from time to time. And of course, who doesn't know its most popular song, Seasons of Love? It's a very catchy song and has a very clear message, "How do you measure a year?".

This song has a huge impact on me now. Exactly a year ago, five hundred twenty seven and forty minutes (it's a leap year), I got my confirmatory result. 

I received a text message from the QC Bernardo Social Hygiene Clinic telling me that my confirmatory result is ready and I can come to the clinic anytime to claim it. I immediately texted my friends who knew my status (four of them). I decided to come the next day before I go to work. Two of them went with me since we live near each others' places.

We got to the clinic around 8am. We sat at the reception area to wait for Dra. People are starting to arrive too. Most of them are women and about 5 men. All of them are working in local clubs and bars. An attendant started to call them and asked them to sit in front of a television. A man is showing some video and started to talk about sexual health while one by one is being called to the laboratory for their check-up.

Then Dra. arrived. I approached the nurse's table and asked if I can already see Dra. to get my result. She entered Dra.'s room and asked me to come in. I went inside with my friends. Then Dra. asked if I wanted them to be there. I simply said yes.

She pulled-out a stack of envelops. There were about fifty or more letters. While searching for mine, she frustratedly told us, "Tignan niyo to. Ang dami nang nakatambak dito na mga result. Hindi nila kinukuha. Halos araw-araw ko na sila itext. (Look at these. There are a lot of unclaimed results. I almost remind them everyday about it.)" 

I was just silent. I was nervous with mine plus, I'm thinking why they are not claiming their results and what's happening with them right now.

Then she handed me a white envelop addressed from San Lazaro with a code number. I opened it and began reading it. There were checks and there were terms I can't understand. But what I understood in the entire paper was the one written below, POSITIVE. I just looked at my friends and frowned. There were no tears falling from my eyes. Maybe because I've prepared myself for this moment the entire 3 weeks of waiting. 

I looked at Dra. I asked what I needed to do next. She told me that I need choose a treatment hub. She suggested PGH, RITM and San Lazaro since these are the hubs located in the Metro. There are also two private hospitals but it might be costly in the long run. She said that it's good that I already know my status as early as now  so I can take actions how to take care of myself. She also told me that to strengthen my immune system by taking a good rest, lessen stress, eat healthier foods, avoid alcohol and smoke, etc.

But what made me feel at ease was when she told me that I wasn't going to die. Contrary to what majority thinks. There are people with HIV for 10-20 years who are still living normally and very productive. As long as I take care of myself, I'll be OK. Stories that we know who've died early are due to late detection and neglecting to live a healthy lifestyle.

People are scared of HIV because they think they will die immediately. But not me. I am not afraid of HIV's attack on my body. I choose to live longer and healthier. I will fight it for my family, friends, loved ones, myself and my dreams.

A year after my confirmatory, I could say that I'm still fighting. I've lessen my night outs. And if I do go out, I come home by 12am or 1am. I haven't smelled cigarette smoke for months now because I'm avoiding people who smoke and my friend smokers move away at least 10 meters from me. I stopped drinking or I just take 1-2 sips every 2-3 months. I've been eating home-cooked and healthy foods. Seldom I go to fast foods. I've been regularly taking my daily dose of vitamins. I've been sleeping 6-8 hours a day on weekdays and 8-10 hours on weekends. I never forget to be thankful of all my blessings. I've appreciated more my life and other people. 

I've never felt healthier, happier, more loved and more blessed. So many things have happened in one year and I could consider this one of the best years of my life. No tears have fell out from my eyes since my initial testing. Maybe because I've learned to make my positive status a motivation to see life positively and to make the most out of it, be an inspiration for others to not lose hope in their struggles, and to live life with love in my heart.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The Bucket List

When I was in high school, my kuya (big brother) gave me a notebook made out of recycled paper. I really don't know what to do with it since I'm not fond of writing my thoughts or scribbling my ideas. But still, I was thankful for his gift. So what I did was to write down 100 things I want to do and achieve in life. Given my very young age, I just wrote things like visit Boracay, have 50,000 pesos in my bank account, graduate with honors and visit countries like USA, Hongkong, Singapore, UK, and the rest of Europe etc. Mostly the entries are of a very young child with high hopes and dreams. I don't regard if these are possible or not. This list made me strive and work more. It served as my motivation throughout the years. It always reminded me that there's a very bright and long future ahead of me.

I haven't had the chance to revisit the list. I have to look for it, update it and laugh at some entries i put in it.

I did a similar list with a new notebook. But this time, I was considering my time left in this world. I wrote it a day after I've found out I was positive. I separated entries according to categories, travel - places I think are still achievable for me to visit, financial - like setting up a different account for my medical needs in the future, a life and memorial plan, and personal - things that are of value of me and to whom I'll pass it on (almost a will).

I know it's a bit stupid. It's like setting a deadline for myself. It's like a spur of the moment thing, to write what I feel like writing while my emotions are still high.

After writing a second version of my bucket list, I felt relieved. I closed the notebook and never had the chance to open it again or maybe I'm just scared to feel again what I've felt while writing it.

The Beginning part 2

I was staring blankly at the paper. I felt blood rushed through my veins. All the memories, my "adventures", from the past are now filling my head. The counselor just said, "Take your time." And that's when my tears flowed out of my eyes. 

I felt disappointed of myself. I felt I betrayed myself. I've been reading a lot about HIV and participating in advocacy activities before. I should know how to protect myself. I should have been extra careful. I should have not engaged in risky sexual behaviors. I should have not been promiscuous. I should have not gotten this disease. 

What would others think of me? What will my family feel? Am I going to die already? Will my friends still be my friends? How's my work? Who infected me? Was I infected a long time ago or just recently? Have I infected someone too? Am I dying already? Those are just the questions that came up to me and I cannot answer at that moment.

After 5 minutes of not talking, I finally faced my counselor and asked, "What do I need to do?" He told me that my blood will be brought to the QC Social Hygiene Clinic for a syphilis test and to San Lazaro for another round of HIV tests (ELISA and Westernblot). He said that I should wait for another 10-15 days for the confirmatory result. I was not ecstatic to hear this because I know that it's just less than 0.1% chance that will be negative. So again, I am already prepared for the worst.

After talking to the counselor for about 15 minutes more, I stood up and went back to the reception to see my friend. I was still teary-eyed. I felt that people are looking at me. My friend asked, "How was it?" 

I just replied, "Let's go."

He stood up and walked with me out of the ASP office. While walking down the stairs, I asked him, "Kumusta sa 'yo (How was yours)?" 

"Negative, mam." he said. I happily replied, "That's good."

Then I knew what's next. He asked me, "Eh sa 'yo?" 

"Ok naman.", I answered back. 

We walked to my car and drove away from the building. I took out my phone and called another high school friend. "Ano balita (What's the news)?" he said when he answered the call. "Mamaya na. Asan ka (Later. Where are you)?" I asked. He then said that he was just at home. I said that we will go to his place. He knew that we were taking an HIV test.

I was not talking to my friend inside the car. I knew that he already knows that mine is not ok. When we arrived at my friend's place, I asked if we can go to UP and have isaw. They did not resist.

When we arrived in UP, we bought some isaw (barbequed chicken intestines) and other stuff. Rain started to fall. We ran into the car and sat there. Then my friend B, started to ask. "Ano nangyari (What happened?)" 

I looked at him, he got my look and said "OMG! Totoo (True)?" I just nodded.

My friend L, who went with me, said, "Sabi na eh. Naramdaman ko na nung palapit ka sa reception. (I knew it. I felt it when you were walking back to the reception.)" 

I just said "Oh well."

Then me and my friends hugged. There was no drama. I knew and felt that they will be there for me and will not judge me. I know them for over 15 years now and I know I can trust them.

After our conversation, I dropped B again back to his home and told L that we'll meet my other friends in Starbucks in Roxas Boulevard. 

My groups of friends are vast and they know each other. We have overlapping mutual friends from high school, college, etc. That's why my circles are linked.

We arrived at Starbucks around 6pm. We usually go there to play boardgames or just hang out. We started to play and it's like nothing happened to me earlier. I was feeling fine the whole night.

We finished about 10 or 11 pm. When we walked out I told 2 of them to stay. I cannot not yet tell another friend because he was with his boyfriend and I was feeling ashamed. When the 2 left, me, L, and 2 more (K and C) sat on the curb of the parking lot. 

I started my story from when I got the text message, decided to take the test, had the test and got the results. After telling them what happened, one friend said, "Aww. We'll be here for you." 

I just asked them to support me in my journey and they were willing to support. Again, not much drama happened. Maybe because I knew and felt that they are sincere and they will never abandon me as their friend.

I went home afterwards and went straight to my room. I thought of what happened that day. It wasn't sinking in. So many thoughts are entering my mind, my plans, family, friends, work, etc. until I fell asleep.

Monday, 1 October 2012

The Beginning part 1

I never thought I will have HIV. I thought I was well-informed and knowledgeable of the dreaded virus. But no, my life changed one Saturday afternoon.

Weeks before I decided to have my first HIV test, (Yes, I never had any HIV test before because I was afraid to find out the truth) I received a text message from someone I had sex months ago. The text message was a GM (group message) sent by one of the NGOs advocating HIV/AIDS awareness and was forwarded to me by the guy. It said in the message that there's a free VCT (Voluntary Counseling and Testing) for HIV and syphilis. I always receive this kind of text message from people who work on this advocacy and usually, I don't bother going to them since 1) I thought I was safe. 2) I was scared people might see me. 3) I am not ready for whatever result I might get. But this time, I felt a little shiver on my spine since I got the text from the guy whom I haven't contacted since the last time we've met. I thought of going to this screening but again, I decided not to.

Thursday before my HIV test, I received another free VCT invitation from someone who works for AIDS Society of the Philippines. This time I was fully decided that I will take the test. I forwarded the text to one of my closest friends from high school and asked if he would like to come with me, and he said yes. So we decided to go to the ASP office the coming Saturday since the testing that time was done every first Friday and third Saturday of the month.

Friday before my HIV test was a normal busy day at work. After work, I went to the Ortigas Home Depot to have dinner at the dampa with former co-workers. It was a fun catch-up with them. After the dinner, I went to the nearby karaoke venue for a co-workers birthday. She rented adjoining rooms to accommodate all her guests. I didn't stay too long since I have to meet a friend after. About midnight, I met my gay friend and decided to go to the nearby gay club, O Bar Ortigas. We really had a good time since it was his first time there. I had few bottles of my favorite liquor. We ended the night around 3 or 4 am and went home. During these moments, I completely have forgotten about my scheduled testing the following day. My high school friend just reminded me and I just enjoyed the night like it was my last.

The following day, Saturday, I picked up my friend around 10am then we went to the ASP office located at the Scout area. When we got there, there were some people sitting on the reception area. 

The guy who works for ASP saw me and said, "Uy XXXX! Ano ginagawa mo dito? (Uy XXXX! What are you doing here?)" 

"I'll have the test." I replied.

He escorted me and my friend in a room. He gave us some forms to fill-out. Then discussed what the process will be. He said that a pre-test and post-test counseling is required. He discussed the basics of HIV, the definition, HIV transmission and prevention, etc. He also said that the testing procedure, from blood extraction to having the results, will take about 20-30 minutes. While he was talking, I was starting to get really nervous. I somehow expected or psyched myself that I am positive. I felt that it will help me to accept the worst once I already got the actual results.

After the orientation, me and my friend went back to the reception area and an ASP counselor called me. He assisted me to his pod, chatted a little since I know him and started the pre-test counseling. He asked me some things from my past like countries I've traveled, if I engaged in any unprotected sex, my last sexual encounter, if I have taken any tests before, etc. He asked my why I haven't taken the test before, why I was hesitant. He also asked me if I was ready for whatever the result I might get and what I will do if the result wasn't good. At that moment, my mind was stuck. I only prepared myself for the worst result but I haven't thought of what will happen to me after. I also asked him if my alcohol intake the night before has any effect on the result and he said no. i was like trying to find some loopholes just in case my test wasn't in my favor. 

After the counseling, he asked me to go to another room and have my blood extracted. I seated on  a couch beside my friend. He went inside the room first then me. I am not afraid of needles. I think I have a high tolerance for pain, physically and emotionally. After the med tech extracted my blood, she asked me to wait in the reception area for my results.

I sat beside my friend. there were about 6-10 other people including 1 female in the reception area. And some are being called already for their results. I was looking and observing them if they were happy or sad. Apparently, all have poker faces. I really can't tell what they are feeling.

While waiting, me and my friend pulled out a newspaper. An article and pictures from the recently concluded Miss Universe was featured and we started talking about it until my friend was called out by his counselor. And I was left alone in the reception.

After a while, I was called by my counselor. I went to his pod and sat. He was holding a folded paper and said my name with a different tone, "XXXXX...." I was just staring at him and waited for the next words that he said. He gave me the paper and saw what was written... REACTIVE. I was just looking at the paper for about 5 seconds and then gave a big sigh.

To be continued...

Open Book

I'm really not the writer type of guy and I don't know where to begin. That's why it took me a while before I started to work on this blog.

This is my life and story as an HIV positive Filipino guy. I hope I will inspire readers, PLHIVs or not.