The official blog of The Project Red Ribbon Care Management Foundation, Inc. (TRR).


    TRR Love Fund is the arm of the foundation which provides medical assistance to the financially challenged PLHIV.

  • Care assistance for HIV Test

    The Care Assistant Program involves assistance to HIV testing and HIV and AIDS Treatment hubs in the Philippines. Our volunteers schedule the client to the clinic or hub, assist with the procedure in the clinic or hub and conduct peer counseling


    With the TRR Hotline Numbers, our volunteers answer concerns and inquiries about HIV and AIDS, do counselling, refers clients to nearest HIV Testing facility, HIV and AIDS Treatment Hub and government and NGO organizations for support


    The foundation volunteers conduct one-on-one counseling either on the phone or in person. They also conduct group counseling


    The support group talk (SGT) is a program that involves giving HIV lectures by guest speakers, discuss topics about HIV, care, treatment and support, discussion issues related to HIV


    The foundation's outreach program is geared towards providing support to our fellow PLHIV's in the HIV and AIDS Treatment Hubs. Volunteers hand out of donations of medicines and special gifts to PLHIV, give inspirational talks by invited guests to a group of PLHIV, bonding over snacks or meal, visit the sick who are confined in the hospital

  • Referral System

    As part of treatment, the foundation's referral program involves our volunteers referring clients to specialized doctors who are HIV friendly. The foundation has it's own list of specialty doctors of low cost for the indigent PLHIV.

  • Online Support Group

    The foundation has a private Online Support Group in facebook. This group of advocates, supporters, counselors, health Workers and PLHIV

  • Home Health

    Aside from client counselling, the foundation volunteers also do family counselling and home visitation for awareness and continuance of care.

  • Health Fitness

    The foundation believes in holistic approach to treatment and care, thus inclusion of these programs: yoga, dance, swimming, jogging and running, boot camp workouts


    As part of awareness and education program, the foundation organizes its own national events to coincide with the international AIDS events: World AIDS Day and International AIDS Candlelight Memorial

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Never Been Sick Again!

I am so conscious about my health now. At the early sign of an illness, I treat it accordingly. I take a lot of rest. My priority is now my health and if ever I would feel that I would come up with something, I will opt to be absent from work. That is my commitment to my body and my responsibility to Tag.

Today is my 114th day and I've never been sick. No fever, no cough or flu (knock on wood). I had bouts of beginning illness but I fortify myself fast with vitamins and lots of fluids to flush everything out. I am very particular with hygiene and cleanliness. I CAN'T be sick. I won't allow it like before. I also cant be so tired from work. Tag even told me that I can't have long hours at work and so far I am doing what he tells me to do. I work for self preservation and fulfillment. I work also for money but getting sick is a financial burden so whats the point. So I just don't allow it.

Up to now I am still tracking all my ARV's, my daily signs and symptoms and my daily intake. So far so good. 100% adherence, no signs and symptoms nor side effects and I still know the actual days that I am on ARV's. This is an easy way to report to my doctor during my consultation with her next March.

Cleanliness is a priority. tag and I deal with a lot of people and to protect ourselves from the "carriers" of infections, we still do our routinary alcohol air spraying. It is really better than lysol sprays and it smells so good.

The key to overall health is paying attention to detail. First fortify yourself with the right food and exercise, then clean your environment. Avoidance to illness is a must so be vigilant. Take the necessary protection and trust me everything will be ok!

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Losing My Belly

I was so fit before I got sick. When I was hospitalized I started to lose 15 pounds. When my pneumonia cleared after a 2 weeks, I started eating again, up to 7x a week. At that time I told myself that I have to look good and feel good again. After a month, I gained all the 15 pounds back. Then I started with the ARV's. I figured that with the side effects (maybe I might lose weight), I started my voracious eating again. I needed to fight the side effects. I gained another 15 pounds. The fat gathered around my belly, my legs, butt, arms and legs.

When I started working, I started to focus on weight loss again. But with the foundation that I have before, I guess it wasn't as hard as I thought. At first, I dieted but I started to get weak. I opted then to be more physically active. So far, my belly fat has been reduced and my body weight is slowly going down the scale. I feel good. The plumpness of my face is still the same but most of the people that I know said that I look better.

I am slowly going back to eating again, healthier this time with lots of protein and veggies and fruits. I am also starting to run again and doing programs in the gym. My job is tedious so that is part of my daily "burning" activity.

Summer is coming and the beach is just around the corner so I might as well tone up. My upper abs is showing already and I still have 2 more months to shed off that excess fat!

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"HD" Dreams

I wasn't noticing it until lately when I realized that I really am having vivid dreams. I tell Tag about it and courtesy of the efavirenz, my vivid dreams are so fantastic.

Really, I am enthusiastic about it. Recently, I realized that my dreams are pretty crisp, like watching HD movies on TV. Now I call my dreams as my HD dreams because I really feel that I am part of the dream which is so great. Am I crazy to love these dreams? Maybe, but my dreams recently are great. This morning, my dream was star studded... and the theme was Mama Mia. It was a musical. I even woke Tag up to tell him that I was dreaming. This morning I had a good smile on my face when I woke up. There were times that the theme was so funny that I laughed even in my sleep. It is interesting though because there were times when I can remember my dream and there were times when I can't.

I noticed that my "HD" dreams happen when I eat past 6pm or when I feel bloated after my last meal. I take all my ARV's at 10pm and I eat my last meal on or before 6pm. This is so because, to minimize the side effects of efavirenz (one of my ARV's), my empty should be empty prior to taking it. Researches show that it takes four hours to digest the food entirely, so my 6pm schedule for my last meal is perfect for my 10pm ARV schedule. Dr. D even said that being meticulous with the time is a good thing.

There were times that I take my meals past 6pm and those were the times that I experienced having my "HD" dreams. Last night Tag and I left the restaurant at 7:30 where we had dinner so I knew that I was was past my 6pm. That in turn resorted to me having my "HD" dream this morning.

Before I was scared to have vivid dreams. I thought that the dreams that I will have are nightmares and scary stuff. I guess having a happy disposition in life, having a positive outlook, having a happy and peaceful work environment and a loving family help in creating a good dream. Now I am not scared anymore. I anticipate the next "HD" dream.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Don't Be Scared!

So you got your result and it says your positive. You get confused. You blame yourself. You cry and hibernate. You feel like your life has come to an end.

Don't be scared! Like me, I've experienced the worst. I was sick before I got my result. I may think that I was already on my death bed. But I struggled to get out of the rut. I fought back. I was scared at first but I opted to think positive. I chose to survive and now, I am back to my previous life. I still have the virus but I am not allowing it to get me sick again.

Don't be scared. Treatment is around. There are HIV hubs which will help you out. The HIV meds are free. Doctors don't ask for professional fees. For the lab tests, PhilHealth will take care of it.

Don't be scared. Your loved ones will still be there for you. You don't have to disclose your status to everybody because that is your right. You just be responsible to your sex partners and that's about it. Your secret is safe.

Don't be scared. There are people around who can help you deal with the pain and the suffering. Your questions can be answered by fellow "pozzies" or positives who too are living with the virus. You are never alone.

Don't be scared. As long as you follow your doctor.. as long as you do your job in protecting yourself from infections... your life will go back to normal again.

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Alarming Rate

Newly Diagnosed HIV Cases in The Philippines

In December 2011, there were 268 new HIV Ab sero-positive individuals confirmed by the STD/AIDS Cooperative  Central Laboratory (SACCL) and reported to the HIV and AIDS Registry. This was 54% higher compared to the same period last year. This increased the total number of cases to 2,349 for 2011.Most of the cases (94%) were males. The median age was 27 years (age range:16-59 years). The 20-29 year (62%) age-group had the most number of cases. Forty-eight percent (128) of the reported cases were from the National Capital Region (NCR).

Reported mode of transmission were sexual contact (238) and needle sharing among injecting drug users (30). Males having sex with other Males (86%) were the  predominant type of sexual transmission. Most (97%) of the cases were still asymptomatic at the time of reporting. 

Of the 268 HIV positive cases, nine were reported as AIDS cases, two were female and seven were males. The median age is 32 years (age range: 19-58 years). All acquired the infection through sexual contact [heterosexual (2), homosexual (4), bisexual (3)]. Of the AIDS cases, there was one reported death for this month; a 19-year old male

For more details check out: Philippine HIV/AIDS Registry

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My 113th Day

Today is my 113th day of taking ARV's. Everything's fine now. No more side effects, no dizziness, no itching, no vivid dreams. So far so good. In just 7 days, it will be my 4th month of taking my cocktail, namely tenofovir, lamivudine and efavirenz. I am proud to say that I have never been late or have missed my scheduled intake of my meds. Really, all my set up timers worked wonders for me. Now, it is like a habit which I can't dismiss.

Up to now, I am still taking my daily cotrimoxazole and my weekly azithromycin. I am back to work and I am pretty conscious about my health and my dealings with people. My priority is my health. If I sense that I am getting something. I stop, take a rest or take  some preventive cures fast. I am more mindful now. I should know better... that while I am still taking my meds, I should be conscious that I still have a virus inside me.

Everything really went back to normal. My life is coming back to it's previous state, except that sex life is a different scenario now. But it is fine, really. Love envelops everything and love is always there as I have Tag by my side and my family who are always there to support me.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Sore Throat

I woke up today with a mild sore throat. Oh no. Back to 2000 mg of vitamin C fast as  used to do before to prevent the virus from spreading. I can't allow this to happen and I will do everything to prevent it.

Last night's dinner in a crowded place was the culprit. Smoke was everywhere and I wasn't able to pay attention to it. My fault. I left my guard down. this can't happen ever again. After all the accomplishments of my immune system, I can't regress back. I just can't.

So today before I regret it, I have to do the following again:

1. Take vitamin C later again.
2. Eat citrus fruits.
3. Drown the virus with lots of water, a gallon perhaps
4. Rest when necessary. have a good night's sleep.

The sore throat is usually the first sign of a coming cold. I should know.. and I should learn better now. There is still time. And that I should be my priority today.

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Seeing a Dear Friend

When I was in the hospital a dear friend of ours kept on monitoring my health thru Tag. When I came out, she sent food twice to our place. It was heart warming, knowing that there is somebody who knows my condition, who somehow cared.

Last night we had dinner with her in a restaurant. We greeted each other with hugs and there was a sign of comforting in her eyes. Our conversations were all about the past happenings, but I guess she was polite not to mention about my virus. I liked it better that way. Nothing has changed and I felt the I am truly back in the mainstream, back in the social world and that there was no pity or hatred or any untoward emotions left for me, that would haunt me.

There were times we talked about hospitalizations but not focusing on what was the cause of them. I believed in her sincerity when she said that I looked good. Well. I really felt good at that time and seeing somebody else who knew my condition, who seemed to be fine after all, made me feel even better.

Love is around us. Unspoken but can be felt. It was gratifying on my part. I know I am back.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Happy Working Again!

Today is my 17th day of work. I am happy. I am glad that I am back. Now I know what the doctors told me when they said that HIV/AIDs is like having diabetes only... that eventually, everything will go back to normal as long as you strictly take your medicines on time and you take all the necessary precautions not to get sick.

On my first day of work, I was a little apprehensive. Of course, people asked me what happened and I just told them about my liver issue (which I did have) and that my doctor wanted me to take a break from work (which she did). I just omitted the root cause of my problem but nobody dared to ask. I know they were glad that I am back and working again with them.

I also thought that I lost all my skills since I had been gone for 4 months to be exact, but everything came back fast. After an hour, I was the same... really, it was just like a walk in the park or just riding a bike once more. My skills all flooding back in and then, I knew that everything will be ok.

Of course before I started working, Tag reminded me to be careful and to be cautious in dealing with people because I might catch something again, like colds or flu. I am taking his advice seriously. I can't afford to be sick, now that I am back. I know my immune system is still weak but working makes my mind to relax and help me more in dealing with the virus inside me. I know my responsibilities to myself, to Tag and our families.

I am back. That is all I can say. It gives an inner happiness that even I can't explain!

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Health Tips

Once you find out that you are HIV positive, your priority will change to health. You can't take it for granted anymore. You have to find ways to prevent illnesses and to be healthy, physically, mentally, emotionally and socially.

Here are some tips on how to be healthy:

1. General Physical Fitness

    a. Eat healthy. Have a balanced diet of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Eat fruits and vegetables to get your natural vitamins.
    b. Stay active. Exercise regularly or just do a regular physical activity on a daily basis. It can be a 30 minute walk, stair climbing, biking. You can also do sports or any recreational physical activities.
    c. Sleep or rest for at least 8 hours. Take naps when tired.

2. Prevent illness

    a. avoid crowded places
    b. use hand sanitizers or wash your hands regularly with soap
    c. clean and sanitize your home
    d. avoid or limit eating or dealing with uncooked foods
    e. have a good oral and body hygiene
    f. bring alcohol in your bag to sanitize your work space
    g. wear masks if going to a hospital or public transportation
    h. be particular with drinking water.

3. Emotional and Mental Fitness

    a. Find time to relax.
    b. Have a hobby to distract you from your illness
    c. Read and be knowledgeable to calm your nerves
    d. Go out of town or travel
    e. Attend mind and body group exercises like yoga or tai chi

4. Socially

    a. Talk to somebody that you can trust. Your loved ones will always be there for you.
    b. Have a social or support group where you can vent out your feelings
    c. When you are strong enough and with your doctor's approval, go back to work
    d. Help others. There is an inner peace when you reach out your hands to others who are in need

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Loving Family

I am blessed. With Tag by my side and families who are very supportive, I am so blessed. I am not alone with this fight.

Ever since I came back to work, I am receiving messages from my sisters and nieces. "Don't work too hard"... "Get plenty of rest"... "Eat right" ... "Always be careful". Those were the warnings that they tell me. Loving messages? Hell, yeah. Messages of concern coming from loved ones. I needed that because I am the type of person who would eventually forget but having a good habit, knowing that I have a virus in me all the time, learning from the mistakes from the past, I sure will be more careful. Our environment is not safe for an immuno compromised person like me. I know there will be opportunistic infection -carrying individuals out there and I have to be always on guard.

By the care and love of family members, I get stronger. I now I am not alone. The message is clear and simple. The message of love is there.. It is easy to fight when a lot of people care.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Listen to Your Body

Listen to your body and always be reminded that...

We are immuno compromised so we must always take care of our bodies. We should always be reminded that by taking our ARV's, we must also remind ourselves that there is a virus inside of us and any infection can hurt us... any infection can make our CD4 levels go down because the infection itself can trigger the replication of the virus.

We are immuno compromised. We should practice what we have learned in the past. NEVER, never get sick.. and the best way to do it is to prevent it from happening. We should always go back to the basics... the basics of preventing illnesses. We owe that to ourselves. We owe that to our loved ones.

We are immuno compromised. We can go back to our normal lives but we have to be more vigilant about the different illnesses and infections around us. It is the only way we can strengthen our selves.

We are immuno compromised. We can't afford to get sick. ARV's are free but the treatment for OI's is costly. It's a battle that is hard to win when we are financially unstable.

We are immuno compromised... and getting sick puts us down, emotionally, socially and physically. It drains all our source of positiveness that we badly need for our daily battles.

You know what to do... so do it.. but always be reminded that we have to be more cautious.. we have to be more observant.. we have to be more protective of ourselves.

Listen to your body!

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Feeling Good!

I feel good. I called a poz today and helped him with his current health status. Sorry but I can't reveal what we talked about but these were the things that I wanted him to do and to think about:

1. Start paying again his PhilHealth --- this week!! We all know that Global Fund will end this December and the ARV's will be paid for by PhilHealth starting next year. I told him to pay off 1 year (100 per month = P1,200 per year) or 2 years so there won't be any problems later on. Once under PhilHealth, you can reap the benefits from OHAT. See my previous blog:

PhilHealth: OHAT

2. If with doubts with the current doctor, seek for a second opinion. I then recommended my private doctor. I told him that he has to believe in his doctor because really, half of his life depends on him/her. I called my doctor and she said she will see him next week!

3. Learn everything while he is still recovering. Study. Ask. Talk to people.

4. Be positive. No more regrets. The past should be forgotten but we all should learn from it.

5. Set a goal. If you want to go back to work/school or go back to a normal life, try to do what I did:

    a. Follow your doctor. When you have a scheduled appointment, make sure to ask your doctor everything! Prepare everything the day before.

    b. Prevention is the key. Read all the techniques on how to prevent the occurrence of OI's. Try to have vaccinations-- ask your doctor what are the necessary ones for you.
    c. have a good diet plan
    d. Exercise
    e. talk to people to vent out your emotions

6. Believe that you're going to get well. The power of the mind is tremendous. make use of it!

Every day is a new day.. and the way we should think of it.. everyday should be a great day!


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My Pledge

I talked to Ate Ellen from ARG about my mission.. of helping financially a pozzie who is really in dire need of help while on treatment. She said she will do the screening for me in RITM and will let the poz call me and ask for assistance. She told me that I can help paying his or her Philhealth so the poz can be in OHAT fast or help with the baseline tests.

I told her my predicament. I was sick before and luckily we were financially flexible. Now starting this year I want to help. I want to help one person a month ... a person who really has nothing at all.. no work and no family support. Ate Ellen said there are some patients in ARG who can be candidates but she will screen them. I am glad that that my mission of helping pozzies with their possible steps to treatment is coming to reality.

I am excited!

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What's Going On?

I am sorry that I have not been blogging as frequent as before. As I've said in my previous entries, my life is coming back to normal again. I just had my 1st out of the country travel and I really felt alive. Like what I've said too, I owe this to my following diligently my doctor's orders and my positive attitute of getting well. Now, everything is paying off. I am back to work which is I love the most. I travel once again. I work out hard again. I am on a diet program now. I go to places that was once forbidden to me but of course, now with a lot of caution.

Last Monday, I went to RITM to get my 2 shots. My second hepa B and my meningococcemia vaccine. There were 4 poz there waiting but I went straight to Ate Ellen. She was shocked to see me and told me that she never received my text. Letlet greeted me too and told me that Dr. D was really attending to me as she got my medicines last month to be delivered to me. It seems like ARG was busy so out of the blue I handed Letlet P500 and asked her if she can send somebody to get a cake for them. Well, they are really friendly to me there so I know my obligation as a sign of gratitude.

Ate ellen came back and told me that there were no vaccines available and she then asked me if I am willing for her to administer them at home. I told her ok and left her with my address. Good thing she knows my condo so I told her that I will wait for her late afternoon or evening. Tag drove me back home.

I went back to work that afternoon and at 6:30 pm Ate Ellen texted and told me that she was in front of the building. I went down to pick her up and told her to administer them by the poolside. She was good in injecting. The hepa B vaccine costs P650 while the meningococcemia vaccine costs P2800. I gave her a generous amount for her services. I was glad that I was done with my vaccinations for the month. My next and final hepa B shot will be by June but I told her that I will ask Dr. D if she would advice me to get the other vaccinations. I don't want to get sick anymore and the vaccines are way cheaper than getting hospitalized.

I feel a lot better now. I believe the ARV's plus the vaccinations are doing wonders for me. I don't get sick anymore. Tag had 2 bouts of colds and luckily his virus wasn't passed on to me. My next consultation will be on March when I will have all the lab tests done again and my CD4. I am very optimistic that everything will be ok.

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Friday, January 6, 2012

It's the Law!

100% Adherence

I am proud to say that for 94 days now, my adherence to the ARV's is 100%. Never skipped a dose. Never been late.

How do I do it? I have 3 timers in the house. Two in my phone: its regular clock alam and an app alarm. In the house I have an alarm clock. These 3 give me the exact time, that is 10 minutes before my 10pm schedule to take my so called "vitamins".

I promised myself not to miss or be late for my schedule. No excuses, whether I am home or I am out for dinner or a movie or even while travelling. I know my obligation. I became meticulous about it. It is habit forming. It has become a part of my biorhythm.

Taking the pills on time also reminds me that I have HIV/AIDS and this makes me appreciate life, to live life healthier and to love and give love when I wake up.

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HPV Vaccination

When I was in RITM last month, while having my vaccinations, Ate Ellen told me that I should get an HPV vaccination too. So by next week I'll be getting it together with my hepa B 2nd shot and my meningococcemia vacinnation.

I researched about HPV and this is what I got from the net:

What is Genital Human Papillomavirus (HPV)?
Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus. Most sexually active people in the United States (U.S.) will have HPV at some time in their lives. There are more than 40 types of HPV that are passed on through sexual contact. These types can infect the genital areas of men, including the skin on and around the penis or anus. They can also infect the mouth and throat.

How do Men get HPV?
HPV is passed on through genital contact—most often during vaginal and anal sex. HPV may also be passed on during oral sex. Since HPV usually causes no symptoms, most men and women can get HPV—and pass it on—without realizing it. People can have HPV even if years have passed since they had sex. Even men with only one lifetime sex partner can get HPV.

What are the health problems caused by HPV in men?
Most men who get HPV (of any type) never develop any symptoms or health problems. But some types of HPV can cause genital warts. Other types can cause cancers of the penis, anus, or oropharynx (back of the throat, including base of the tongue and tonsils.) The types of HPV that can cause genital warts are not the same as the types that can cause cancer.
Note: Anal cancer is not the same as colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is more common than anal cancer, and is not caused by HPV.

How common are HPV-related health problems in men?
  • About 1% of sexually active men in the U.S. have genital warts at any one time.
  • Cancers of the penis, anus and oropharynx are uncommon, and only a subset of these cancers are actually related to HPV. Each year in the U.S. there are about:
    • 400 men who get HPV-related cancer of the penis
    • 1,500 men who get HPV-related cancer of the anus
    • 5,600 men who get cancers of the oropharynx (back of throat), but many of these cancers are related to tobacco and alcohol use, not HPV.
Some men are more likely to develop HPV-related diseases than others:
  • Gay and bisexual men (who have sex with other men) are about 17 times more likely to develop anal cancer than men who only have sex with women.
  • Men with weakened immune systems, including those who have HIV, are more likely than other men to develop anal cancer. Men with HIV are also more likely to get severe cases of genital warts that are harder to treat.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Most men who get HPV never develop any symptoms or health problems. But for those who do develop health problems, these are some of the signs and symptoms:

Genital warts:
  • One or more growths on the penis, testicles, groin, thighs, or in/around the anus.
  • Warts may be single, grouped, raised, flat, or cauliflower-shaped. They usually do not hurt.
  • Warts may appear within weeks or months after sexual contact with an infected person.
Anal cancer:
  • Sometimes there are no signs or symptoms.
  • Anal bleeding, pain, itching, or discharge.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the anal or groin area.
  • Changes in bowel habits or the shape of your stool.
Penile cancer:
  • First signs: changes in color, skin thickening, or a build-up of tissue on the penis.
  • Later signs: a growth or sore on the penis. It is usually painless, but in some cases, the sore may be painful and bleed.
Cancers of the oropharynx:
  • Sore throat or ear pain that doesn't go away
  • Constant coughing
  • Pain or trouble swallowing or breathing
  • Weight loss
  • Hoarseness or voice changes that last more than 2 weeks
  • Lump or mass in the neck
Is there a test for HPV in men?
Currently, there is no HPV test recommended for men. The only approved HPV tests on the market are for screening women for cervical cancer. They are not useful for screening for HPV-related cancers or genital warts in men.
  • Screening for anal cancer is not routinely recommended for men. This is because more research is needed to find out if it can actually prevent anal cancer. However, some experts do recommend yearly anal cancer screening (anal Pap tests) for gay, bisexual, and HIV-positive men – since anal cancer is more common in  these men.
  • There is no approved test to find genital warts for men or women. However, most of the time, you can see genital warts. If you think you may have genital warts, you should see a health care provider.
  • There is no test for men to check one’s overall “HPV status.” But HPV usually goes away on its own, without causing health problems. So an HPV infection that is found today will most likely not be there a year or two from now. 
  • Screening tests are not available for penile cancer.
You can check for any abnormalities on your penis, scrotum, or around the anus. See your doctor if you find warts, blisters, sores, ulcers, white patches, or other abnormal areas on your penis—even if they do not hurt.

Is there a treatment or cure for HPV?
There is no treatment or cure for HPV. But there are ways to treat the health problems caused by HPV in men.

Genital warts can be treated with medicine, removed (surgery), or frozen off. Some of these treatments involve a visit to the doctor. Others can be done at home by the patient himself. No one treatment is better than another. But warts often come back within a few months after treatment—so several treatments may be needed. Treating genital warts may not necessarily lower a man’s chances of passing HPV on to his sex partner. If warts are not treated, they may go away on their own, stay the same, or grow (in size or number). They will not turn into cancer.

Cancers of the penis, anus, and oropharynx can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Often, two or more of these treatments are used together. Patients should decide with their doctors which treatments are best for them.

Are there ways to lower my chances of getting HPV?

A safe and effective HPV vaccine (Gardasil) can protect boys and men against the HPV types that cause most  genital warts and anal cancers. It is given in three shots over six months.

Condoms (if used with every sex act, from start to finish) may lower your chances of passing HPV to a partner or developing HPV-related diseases. But HPV can infect areas that are not covered by a condom—so condoms may not fully protect against HPV.

Because HPV is so common and usually invisible, the only sure way to prevent it is not to have sexual contact. Even people with only one lifetime sex partner can get HPV, if their partner was infected with HPV.

I heard about a new HPV vaccine – can it help me?
If you are 26 or younger, there is an HPV vaccine that can help protect you against the types of HPV that most commonly cause problems in men.  The HPV vaccine (Gardasil) works by preventing four common HPV types, two that cause most genital warts and two that cause cancers, including anal cancer. It protects against new HPV infections; it does not cure existing HPV infections or disease (like genital warts). It is most effective when given before a person’s first sexual contact (i.e., when s/he may be exposed to HPV).  
CDC recommends the HPV vaccine for all boys ages 11 or 12, and for males through age 21, who have not already received all three doses.  The vaccine is also recommended for gay and bisexual men (or any man who has sex with men), and men with compromised immune systems (including HIV) through age 26, if they did not get fully vaccinated when they were younger. The vaccine is safe for all men through age 26, but it is most effective when given at younger ages. 

The HPV vaccine is very safe and effective, with no serious side effects. The most common side effect is soreness in the arm. Studies show that the vaccine can protect men against genital warts and anal cancers. It is likely that this vaccine also protects men from other HPV-related cancers, like cancers of the penis and oropharynx (back of throat, including base of tongue and tonsils), but there are no vaccine studies that have evaluated these outcomes.

I just found out that my partner has HPV …
What does it mean for my health?
Partners usually share HPV. If you have been with your partner for a long time, you probably have HPV already. Most sexually active adults will have HPV at some time in their lives. Although HPV is common, the health problems caused by HPV are much less common.

Condoms may lower your chances of getting HPV or developing HPV-related diseases, if used with every sex act, from start to finish. You may want to consider talking to your doctor about being vaccinated against HPV if you are 26 years or younger. But not having sex is the only sure way to avoid HPV.
If your partner has genital warts, you should avoid having sex until the warts are gone or removed. You can check for any abnormalities on your penis, such as genital warts. Also, you may want to get checked by a health care provider for genital warts and other sexually transmitted disease (STDs).

What does it mean for our relationship?

A person can have HPV for many years before it is found or causes health problems. So there is no way to know if your partner gave you HPV, or if you gave HPV to your partner. HPV should not be seen as a sign that you or your partner is having sex outside of your relationship.

I just found out I have genital warts … 

What does it mean for me and my partner?
Having genital warts may be hard to cope with, but they are not a threat to your health. People with genital warts can still lead normal, healthy lives.

Because genital warts may be easily passed on to sex partners, you should inform them about having genital warts and avoid sexual activity until the warts are gone or removed. There are ways to protect your partner (see above).

You and your partner may benefit from getting screened for other STDs.

If used with every sex act, male latex condoms may lower your chances of passing genital warts. But HPV can infect areas that are not covered by a condom—so condoms may not fully protect against HPV.
It is important that sex partners discuss their health and risk for STIs.  However, it is not clear if there is any health benefit to informing future sex partners about a past diagnosis of genital warts because it is not known how long a person remains contagious after warts are gone.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Never Give Up!

I know it's hard. You just found out that you are HIV positive or your doctor just told you that you have AIDS. I feel your sadness and shock. I've been there before. I was bedridden. I also had feelings of regret, of anger. I was mad at myself. But look at me now. After 4 months of rest, I am back to work. I am functioning as a normal individual again. The reason for this is simple. I fought. I fought hard to regain my life back. I fought hard to be strong to face the reality and to heal myself. I fought hard, even though there were uncertainties, I believed in my doctors and the treatment.

I know it is a big challenge, but you can get through with it. The situation is just overwhelming but you can do it. I've talked to a lot of pozzies who had a hard time too at first but they are all functioning well now. You too can. The hardest is just the start... the acceptance. Once you are done dealing with it, you can move ahead and start to plan your medical treatment with your doctor. It is also becomes easy when you are on the ARV's already after a couple of months that you will feel that the medicines are just your regular vitamins. Then life goes on.

You can do it. We have done it. Just don't give up. Fight for health. Talking to someone eases up the burden. There are counsellors everywhere (I know someone who can talk to you anonymously). I know pozzies who can answer your questions. You can read the blogs about HIV/AIDS.

I know that you feel you are at the bottom of the well or at the end of the dark tunnel. All you have to do is to look up and look at the light. There is hope at the end of it. Just don't give up!

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Lose 16 Pounds

I gained 20 pounds of body fat when I started to take ARV's. I devoured food basically, like 7 meals a day because I was thinking that I need to look healthy and that the HIV will make me thin. The ARV's that I am taking are such a help as they stimulated my appetite even more and for 3 months, I kept on eating and gaining weight.

Since the 1st of January of this year, I started my workout and diet program again. I guess it is an intense program because I was able to lose 4 pounds already because when I weighed in this morning, I was down by 4 pounds. Yehey, 16 pounds to go then.

So target date is the 31st of March and by then I should be back to my 150 lb weight again. Here is my program:

1. Cardio: 2X a day: treadmill, stationary bike, cross trainer, swimming or outdoor walk/jog.
2. Strength training for an hour: 2 body parts pus abdominals
3. Low carb, high protein diet
4. Drink a gallon of water, no sodas, no salt.

Extreme? Yes but I am used to that. Anyway, it is good for me. It's for my health. The body will just take it's shape!

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Ocular Manifestations of HIV

This morning I woke up with mild pink eyes (i.e. sore eyes here in the Philippines). My previous doctor in PGH -SAGIP said that the eyes can also by the  weakened immune system. So I did my research and I got this article from the web:

Ocular manifestations of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection are common. Approximately 70-80% of HIV-infected patients will be treated for an HIV-associated eye disorder during the course of their illness.

In general, the CD4+ T-lymphocyte count has been used to predict the onset of certain ocular infections in patients who are HIV positive. A CD4+ T-cell count below 500/mL is associated with Kaposi sarcoma, lymphoma, and tuberculosis. A CD4+ T-cell count below 250/mL is associated with pneumocystosis and toxoplasmosis. A CD4+ T-cell count less than 100/mL is associated with the following:
  • Retinal or conjunctival microvasculopathy
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis
  • Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) retinitis
  • Mycobacterium avium complex infection
  • Cryptococcosis
  • Microsporidiosis
  • HIV encephalopathy
  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy
The predictive value of the CD4+ T-cell count for ocular complications in HIV infection has been called into question by reports of CMV retinitis in patients with CD4+ cell counts higher than 200 cells/mL. These patients reportedly were taking highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). While such findings may argue against the protective effect of an increased CD4+ cell count, the possibility that the CMV retinitis preceded the recovery of CD4+ cell count was not ruled out. Thus, whether a reconstituted T-cell count will serve as a better predictor of specific ocular infection is under active evaluation.

Despite these uncertainties, the CD4+ cell count has remained the predicting parameter for the occurrence of specific ocular infection in patients who are HIV positive, at least until antigen-specific tests of T-lymphocyte function become widely available.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Third Monthly Report

Today is my 90th day of taking ARV's. It is my 3rd month of getting treatment for my HIV.

If people will ask me how I am, as promised that I will tell the honest truth, this is my current status. Up to now, I still wake up at 2am (4 hours after taking my pills) and I feel hot especially on my back. I am already in front of the airconditioner but still the body heat wakes me up. Occasionally I feel itchy in the areas on my back, my upper arms and upper chest especially when I feel hot. Applying a moisturizer helps and frequent showering with a moisturizing soap. I believe that alcoholic beverage makes me itchy too, as I experienced it with just drinking wine during my new year's eve dinner. I usually feel that my body is heating up when my ears start to itch. Well, it's an alarm for me to stop whatever I am doing, take a shower or apply a moisturizer to cool it off.

Aside from those, I don't get sick at all. Unlike before, I don't have frequent diarrhea or colds and flu anymore. My only concern now is I am getting fat and starting this year, I promised myself to lose 20 pounds. Currently I am eating less carbs and focused more on meat. I do cardio twice a day and lift weights in between. I eat more fruits and vegetables too.

I am still on cotrimoxazole once a day, 800mg and azithromycin once a week, 1,250 mg. My cocktail is tenofovir, lamivudine and efavirenz. I haven't missed any dose and still has not been late for my scheduled intake.

When it comes to vaccinations, I will be having my 2nd shot for Hepa B this month together with the HPV and meningococcemia vaccine. I want to finish it all because it is cheaper to be vaccinated that be hospitalized. I finished my pneumonia vaccine and flu shot last month.

My next consultation will be on March where I will undergo all the lab tests again including my CD4 test. I'll do all the tests before I go back to my doctor for my next refill of my ARV's.

I'll give another report on my 40th day so people will know in detail what has been ging with me as I live my life with AIDS.

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Living Positively With HIV

Alarming Rate

According to the Department of Health National Epidemiology Center, there were 212 new HIV Ab        
sero-positive individuals confirmed by the STD/AIDS Cooperative Central Laboratory (SACCL) and reported to the HIV and AIDS Registry. This was 89% higher compared to the same period last year.

Most of the cases (94%) were males. The median age was 28 years (age range:17-73 years). The 20-29 year (58%) age-group had the most number of cases.  Fifty-eight percent (124) of the reported cases were from the National Capital Region (NCR).

Of the 212 HIV positive cases, three were reported as AIDS cases, one was female and two were males.
The median age is 27 years (age range: 26-31 years). All acquired the infection through sexual contact [heterosexual (1) and homosexual (2)]. Of the AIDS cases, there was one reported death for this month; a 26-year old female.

For the full report check the link below:

DOH-NEC Report November 2011

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Just Waiting

When I got sick, I promised myself to help one person every month to support him or her with the financial burden of getting the initial lab tests and or CD4 test. They are really costly especially if one is self-supporting. I know the problems facing those people who haven't told their families yet about their disease and the problem of financing their health is one of them. I've been there before but was lucky enough because Tag and I saved a lot on an emergency fund that covered all my hospital bills and medical expenses. We came to realize that my virus is costly at the start and have been bothered by the fact that some people can't really afford them.

I am blessed that I am alive and it's payback time. I am here and still waiting for the first person who would seek my help. It would really be an honor. Just email me and we can talk. I know it's hard but consider me as an option. I am more than willing to help.

Life is precious. Don't waste it. Live your life to the fullest. Enjoy the things that would make you happy. Build your future. Having the virus is not the end of the world. Fight until you overcome it, fight until you can come back and start living your life again!

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New Year, Second Life

Yesterday was my 89th day of taking my ARV's and was the day that I went back to work. I was so excited, that I was trembling and sweaty when I entered the office. I couldn't believe that I was back.. I can't believe that I was there. I rubbed my eyes, almost pinched myself. I was back to circulation.

Days ago, I decided to live my life again. My support system was great but I have to stand up on my own now. I need to feel that I am no longer sick and that I have overpowered the virus within me. My long rest have empowered me with much knowledge and love that I know basically the things that I need to do and the things that I have to be careful about. With mental and physical preparedness, I am back to being a productive human being, a more loving partner and a more responsible individual. I am back.

Everybody who has my virus can revert back to his or her own life, like me. Just follow the simple rule: follow what your doctor says.

I learned a lot from my 4 months of rest. If you want to get well, don't be hardheaded. Don't get sick. Stick to adherence and have the habit of not being late. Take all your medicines on time. No excuses. Believe in the ARV's and think all the time that they are our lifeline. Monitor and report your condition no matter how small your symptom may be. Do whatever you can to finish your lab tests and get the results fast. Read and be informed about the do's and the don'ts. Help your body by sticking to the goal of being healthy by eating right and exercising.

I strengthened myself by preparing emotionally. Talk to people who have the virus too. Chat with them. There is a group of Filipino pozzies who can talk you out of self pity and remorse. Love more. Give love back especially to those people who loved you more while you were sick. Be generous to those who are needing. Appreciate life and enjoy the beauty of it.

I am living again. I started standing up on my own. I removed all my "crutches". I treat my AIDS as an ordinary disease now, like diabetes or hypertension. I am still on my journey and I am expecting more struggles later on, but life is not life without them. I want to face them all head on, without fear. This is my second life and I am ready!

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