Archive for aids

Pride and Secrets

Posted in friends, HIV, Personal, pozzie life with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2010 by iamhivpositive

It’s time. I told myself…

My friend, Madam, and I were walking along T. Morato when I suddenly felt the urge of telling him about my status. It was just so timely, it was gay pride and the theme is World Aids Day. I took a deep breath and tried to open my mouth but the words did not come out. I was… scared?

Madam is going to the States hopefully by next year and he told me that he is quite nervous about the medical examination that he is going to have. I asked him why and he said that the medical examination is ok, but he is dreading the HIV test! I asked why again and asked him if there are any possible risks that he might turn out positive. He said yes.

In the event, they was a van were rapid HIV testing is being conducted and I asked him if he would like to have it right there. He said no, he said he’s scared. I told him, it’s going to be alright and that I am going to be there with him, I even lied that I had mine just 2 weeks ago and there is totally nothing to be scared about. For the 3rd time, he said he was scared… I asked him why is he scared and he told me that he doesn’t know how he will react if ever that it turns out positive… Seeing the expression in his face stopped me from pushing in taking the test.

Our other friend, Hotelier, sent us a message informing that he is already in our meeting place. Yep, we decided to meet up and go out after I joined my first ever Gay Pride as part of the Yoga For Life contingent. He joined us in a bit and we decided to head to Starbucks. After ordering we took the table near the entrance so we could also see what’s going on outside. Madam started talking about an ex boyfriend who is trying to win him back after his long disappearance until we ended up talking about HIV again.

I don’t know what’s gotten into me but I suddenly blurted it out to both of them. They thought I was kidding then when they saw that I was serious, they became quiet and looked at me. The two of them have different reaction, Madam was a slightly emotional whilst hotelier was just very cool about it – I think. I explained to them everything, told them the story from the very beginning. How it all started. They were just listening… and I appreciated that. I even felt like crying. Madam tried to inject some humor in our very serious conversation to lighten it up a bit. I also smiled.

Our conversation ended with them asking me to go to a videoke and just belt it all out… which I did. I am happy that I have two more friends who accepted me wholeheartedly without judging me. I am happy that they support me and treats me the same. I am happy because I was able to talk about it again. I was happy that I am slowly becoming more open about it to the people around me. I am happy that night…

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6 Months after

Posted in HIV, Medical, Personal, pozzie life, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2010 by iamhivpositive

At the start of November, I started waiting for a text from the SAGIP clinic of PGH. It has been six months already and it’s the time for my next CD4 test. 2 weeks have passed and still no text from my doctor or from the nurse so I decided to call them. Once I was put through to the clinic, the nurse told me that there are no available slots yet and they’ll just text me if there is a slot already. She asked for my number to double check if what they have on their chart is correct.

I sighed. I’m getting disappointed with how they are handling us their patients. But I tried to look at the bigger picture, it would really be difficult for them to schedule us since we are just sharing the machine from other “schools” (treatment hubs). And so I waited for another week until I can’t help myself and again gave them a ring.

The nurse told me that there is still no available slot for the CD4 test and that they are prioritizing the “baseliners” (first timers in taking their CD4 test). I felt… unimportant? So does that mean that since I am a second timer I should not be prioritized? My health is also at stake right?

She then asked me if I am willing to go RITM since there is more chance of me getting a schedule there. Even though that RITM is quite far from where I live, I said yes. I would rather travel far than wait for a schedule from SLH. It might be too late already before I get a schedule. And so after 2 days, I received a text message from the nurse telling me that I was scheduled Tuesday before 9am next week.

I woke up really early that day because I don’t want to be late. A friend asked me if I want to hitch a ride since he is also going to RITM that day. Lucky me considering all the trouble that I will be facing if ever I go there alone. I haven’t been to Alabang yet and I’m quite slow with directions. Hehehe.

We arrived early in RITM and so we decided to stay in the cafeteria first. The first thing I noticed about RITM is that it is isolated. It’s the only building, I think, in that area of Alabang. It was very quiet and there were a lot of trees that will give you a very calm feeling.

My friend went ahead and guided me to the clinic. He was greeted by the nurse I’ve been reading and hearing a lot, ate Anna. Her warm smile could really make you comfortable and homey. She asked me if I was with my friend and I said yes, she then asked me to sit beside her and got my recommendation letter. While she was reading the letter, she kept on telling me that life goes on… and I smiled.

Once again, my friend ushered me to the laboratory where they will have my blood extracted. The nurse who’s going to facilitate was quite young and I can tell that she is still a student. I smiled at her and told her not to make it hurtful. She smiled back. As expected, she had a hard time in extracting my blood since my veins easily pops (pumuputok) or as they say, “sumasayaw”. After roughly 15 minutes, I was on my way back to the clinic. I was happy that at last, I am done with my CD4 test all I need to worry now is just the result.

Wanna know my latest CD4 count….? From 759 6 months ago…. It’s now…. 795!!!!
Yehey!!!! I though that my CD4 is going to drop since I am not taking ARVs. But I was wrong, thanks to Centrum, Vit. E with Selenium, Poten Cee and most of all YOGA for boosting my CD4 up!

Drug ‘can greatly reduce risk of HIV infection’

Posted in HIV, Medical, news, pozzie life with tags , , , , , on November 26, 2010 by iamhivpositive

A drug used to treat HIV-positive patients may offer gay and bisexual men some protection against contracting the virus, the authors of a new study say.

Trials of the combination drug Truvada among nearly 2,500 men suggested it could reduce the chances of male-to-male HIV infection by 44%.

Those using the drug regularly could further reduce the risk of infection, it was claimed.

The study is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Pills and condoms

Truvada is the trade name of a drug manufactured by the California-based company Gilead Sciences Inc which combines two antiretroviral drugs, used to treat Aids.

But this new study looks at whether it could be used to prevent HIV infection in the first place.

Almost 2,500 gay or bisexual men were randomly selected in Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, South Africa, Thailand and the United States. Half were given the pill, half were given dummy tablets.

All the men were also given condoms and counselling on safe sex.

What the researchers found after about a year of testing was that the drug appeared to cut male-to-male HIV transmission by 44%, when the group taking the pill was compared with the placebo group.

Those who took the pill regularly were deemed to have reduced their risk of infection further, by up to 73%, and blood tests were run to confirm this relationship between pill-usage and protection levels.

The research was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the federal US body, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The pills were donated by their manufacturer.

NIAID director, Dr Anthony Fauci, conceded more work needed to be done, but called the results impressive.

“This has been done in men who have sex with men. We need to know if we get similar results in women as well as in heterosexual men, which we have reason to believe we will,” he told the BBC.

“We also need to get a long term view of were there any toxicities. We didn’t see anything that was significant but we need to follow that for a long period of time.”
Questions and concerns

The trial does of course raise questions and concerns. Is it possible, for instance, that the results were skewed by greater condom use in the group that took the pill; and won’t such findings encourage some men to dispense with condoms altogether in favour of a drug?

There is also the issue of prohibitive cost of Truvada, which retails in the US for around $36 a day, and which makes the drug unaffordable to many possible users.

Dr Fauci argues that the two groups were fully randomised and says that drugs can only play a complementary role in the war on HIV. Condoms and fewer partners, he said, remain the first line of defence.

“We’re hoping that if this does become a useable tool in prevention, then the associated counselling will complement the effect of the drug and stop people becoming cavalier about it and say ‘now I have a pill I don’t have to worry’.

“That’s exactly the opposite of what we want to happen. We want to add something rather than have it replace something.”

Sir Nick Partridge, chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, called the trial results “potentially significant”.

“It’s vital that we expand the ways we can prevent HIV transmission, particularly amongst those most at risk,” he said in a statement. “This trial proves that HIV treatment will have an impact on prevention, but that it’s not ready for widespread use yet.

“Three major hurdles are still going to be its cost, the risks of drug-resistant strains of HIV developing and taking a drug treatment every day.”

By Neil Bowdler
Science reporter, BBC News
source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-11820963

YOGA FOR LIFE W A D 2010 activities

Posted in pozzie life, yoga with tags , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2010 by iamhivpositive

Yoga for Life invites everyone to celebrate World AIDS Day (WAD) on December 1 (Wednesday) by lighting 108 candles to symbolize the faith, hope and love of the HIV community and to support this year’s “Light for Rights” WAD theme. We will conduct a special kirtan session, one of the oldest sacred music traditions in the world, to express our common gratitude and promote our continued effort to achieve stillness of mind and spir…it.

Please bring 1 pocket notebook and a pen. A vegetarian dinner will follow to also celebrate Yoga for Life’s 6-monthsary and the upcoming wedding of Charmaine Cu-Unjieng (co-founder).

December 1, Wednesday, 7:00-9:00pm
Conference Rm., 28th Floor, Medical Plaza Bldg.
25 San Miguel Ave., Ortigas Center

We would also like to share our love and support to the bigger community affected by HIV and AIDS through the following activities:

Yoga for Life Goes to RITM – Celebrating Life through Yoga and Meditation
December 3, Friday, 3:00-4:30pm
Executive Lounge, RITM
( yoga mats will be provided )

Yoga for Life Joins the LGBT Pride March

December 4, Saturday, 2:00pm
Tomas Morato, Quezon City

See you there, Namaste

Paulo Leonido +63917 388-9658
Charmaine Cu- Unjieng +63917 540-4247

Travel!

Posted in etc, Personal, pozzie life, thoughts, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2010 by iamhivpositive

If there is one thing that I would really love to do but can’t, besides going back to school, it will have to be traveling. Believe it or not, I haven’t been anywhere outside Metro Manila ever since I was in High School? Except of course when we have team buildings in Pansol, Laguna or in Puerto Galera, but whenever we have that, it’s still more of work and less of relaxation. I would want to just travel and just relax… or just have some personal time to think and reflect…

A friend from Canada who just arrived here in the Philippines went to the office and told me that she is planning to go to Boracay. She saw an ad in the internet and is recruiting some more people to join her so that they can avail of the very affordable promo rate. I got excited, I’ve never been to Boracay myself and would want to go there for a holiday! I told her I’m in and she asked me to recruit 2 more since we need to be 4 in the group to avail the package. I did not waste my time and immediately asked some friends and even on Facebook. In just a matter of 2 hours, we’re complete!

Next day, there was a message in my facebook inbox from my friend that she found a better offer, same rate but instead of going to the crowded and busy Boracay, it’s going to be the jaw dropping and relaxing Coron, Palawan. (sorry bout the adjectives, lol) The reason why I said yes to her when she offered this trip to me was because of the destination. I really wanted to go to Boracay… after all, I heard a lot of stories meeting their soul mates in that lovely place. After a little bit of convincing and showing me of the breath taking pictures in Coron, I agreed. It’s a deal and we are leaving by the end of the year…

I’m happy that somehow I already made a start with my plan of traveling. Coron, is a good 1st destination and I just have to make sure that I’ll bring a camera, sun block and enjoy! Hopefully next year I could do this again… no, I will definitely do this again! Who knows I might even go outside of the country since I have been out of the country yet… =)

I think it would really be nice to see other places… beautiful places, meet people, experience other culture and also rediscover myself… so that before I finally close my eyes, I will be filled with beautiful picturesque images of the places I’ve gone to and memories… I won’t let what’s in me to stop me from traveling and experiencing everything that is out there… I’m ready to pack my bags and start moving….

23

Posted in etc, Personal, pozzie life, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2010 by iamhivpositive

The countdown started… 27 days to go before my birthday. Yep, I’m turning 23 in a few weeks time and I’m HIV positive.

This year has been very eventful… I dated a lot of guys, had lots of sex, met a lot of wonderful guys, fell in love, was in a relationship thinking, finding out I have genital warts, being admitted in the hospital alone, went under the knife 2x to have the warts removed, found out I have HIV, learned yoga, learned to love myself more now and so on and so on…

A lot of people will be disappointed if ever they knew that in the age of 22, I’m already a pozzie. Some people might even stay away from me and judge me because of it. But right now, I don’t care. Not that I’m proud of it, but I know myself… and I fully accept the new me. And I know the real story… I’m turning 1 year older and I’m stronger, more optimistic and has a lot of love to give… and with that, I believe that is more that just being a young adult living with HIV… it makes me… me…

My trainees asks me, what do I want to happen in my next year… I answered with strong and healthy body, happiness, peace and serenity… corny no? Maybe if they asked me last year I would say, I want to have a laptop, the latest gadget, a car, a fat savings account, lots of boys, a hot boyfriend… not that I don’t want it anymore, let’s just say my priorities changed… I changed…

This year has taught me a lot of lessons in life… and I learned it in a very hard way… I stumbled this year, stumbled really bad, but as cliche as it may sound, it doesn’t matter how hard you hit the ground, it’s how you stand up and try to walk again that would define you as a man…

Again, a few weeks from now, im turning 23… and I have HIV…

Petition to Replenish Global Fund – repost from “moving on from 46479”

Posted in Medical, Personal, pozzie life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2010 by iamhivpositive

if you are taking advantage of the free ARVs in the philippines or would like to take advantage of it when your CD4 falls below 500, then we need your help.

the world leaders are meeting up in new york, usa on oct 4-5, 2010 to announce their financial contributions to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria for the next three years.

in order to maintain, accelerate and effectively implement its programs, Global Fund needs usd20 billion.

we need to ensure that the world leaders uphold their promises to provide treatment and care to the millions living with and/or affected by HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. let them know that we are watching them. let us demand that they commit the usd20 billion needed by Global Fund.

show them that we care for the millions who will die without the Global Fund programs. do this by following the link and signing the petition.

http://www.globalfundreplenishment.org/sign-on-letter/

please send it to your friends, families, colleagues and networks and encourage them to sign up too.

500,000 signatures are need by thursday, sept 30, 2010!

the petition will be delivered to world leaders at the Replenishment Meeting, and is one of a number of actions that will be occurring around the world in the lead up to the meeting.

for more information on how your participation will make a difference, go to http://www.globalfundreplenishment.org.