PLHIV Story: Story of Charlie Brown & Snoopy

Posted by Pozziepinoy on 8:01 AM

Hi PozziePinoy,

CharlieBrown here.

My partner Snoopy and I have been together for nearly four years. I took my first HIV test a few months after we became a couple when I suspected that I have a symptom of it (cough that wont go away for more than a week) even though I practiced protected sex with him and my previous partners/BFs. I got my results the next day and tested non-reactive. The cough disappeared as well after taking cough meds. Our mistake at that time is we took a bad assumption that since I'm negative, he's also negative.

Fast forward 2013: He was having recurring fever for weeks and having a terrible headache, and eventually started to vomit anything he eats. We got into several clinics and the diagnosis was fever of unknown origin. The IM doc suggested that we should see an Infectiouos Diseases doctor, so we saw one at a local private hospital.

Part of the series of tests the ID doc requested is the HIV test. At the ER, he filled up the test consent form, and the nurses there took a blood sample. After a few days during his hospital admission, he was diagnosed with an Opportunistic Infection and he also tested positive for HIV. It was a shocker for both of us and we were deeply saddened when we heard the news. The ID doc promptly advised us to be admitted as soon as possible at RITM (she said it's protocol for his condition) for immediate treatment.

After a month in confinement, he was discharged and on home meds. The vomiting and headache did not stop though. He got back to RITM for his first check up two weeks after he was discharged and got his ARVs as well. Three days after taking ARVs, he got fever of up to 39c. I was concerned about this since he's not allowed to take paracetamol (as per info on the booklet given by OPD Annex). So I called ARG that day and asked for advise regarding his fever. The person who answered the call said the fever is of another cause since his ARVs (Lamiv, Efav,Tenof) does not have a testing phase and suggested to have him checked at RITM. He was admitted again and had a special lab test taken a day after. And to my surprise, according to his doctor, his OI has re-occurred and so his three-week confinement at the hospital again. After another series of antibiotics and tests, eventually his condition went ok and was discharged two weeks ago and now back home and slowly regaining his appetite to eat and recovering the weight he lost during his second confinement. The OI has become manageable and hopefully he is on his way to full recovery.

With me, his supportive brother, and his loving mom (his mom does not know his HIV status though) we hope to hurdle this chapter of our lives a lot easier. The only challenge now is his treatment and his will to get well because there are still times he gets depressed and occasionally  tells me that he is already tired and is short of telling me that he is giving up. We remain strong for him (both physically and emotionally) so that he can get his strength from us. I visit his home everyday to eat lunch together and take a quick afternoon nap on the same bed and cover ourselves in the same blanket and cuddle during this time of bed weather.

Regrets? The only thing I regret is I did not push him to take the HIV test when we still had the time, way before his OI showed up. I told him things could have been different if we both had the test and we could have had him on ART, thus could have prevented this OI from occurring. 

With your blog, both of us learned more about HIV even if it was too late for Snoopy. I could  not stress further and push all of our brothers and sisters out there to take the test now and prevent it from spreading by practicing safe sex, always. The spread of HIV should stop through proper education and vigilance of everybody in the community.

On my part, I got my last test last week, and it is non-reactive. It was my third test so far and every time it shows non-reactive I feel that I am given the chance to correct the past and advocate the importance of the taking the test to my colleagues who still does not (and hesitant to) know their status. I am actually just waiting for a colleague to set a specific date so I can accompany him to a nearby lab for the test. And for me, I will have my next test in six months time just to be sure, even if I tested negative a week ago and if he gets better, me and Snoopy will join a support group for PLHIVs, to let Snoopy feel further that he is not alone in this battle.

I could only hope that things will get to normal eventually despite his status and if I may get a line from a Mariah Carey song: we will make it through the rain.

PS: I caught a cold  and a very runny nose (due to my allergic rhinitis and a perfect timing of rainy weather) last Sunday, August 18, so I was not able to visit him for two days now to prevent him from catching cold as well. When my condition improves in a day or two, I will visit him and we will be able cuddle each other again under one blanket. :-)


Charlie Brown.

NO PLHIV is alone with his or her struggle with HIV!"


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