MY HIV Test Experience: Value Your Life

Posted by Pozziepinoy on 12:10 PM
Hi Pozzie Pinoy.

This is my story.

I am in a discreet monogamous relationship for many years now. We only do foreplay and have never done penetration yet. It's not an issue with me at all.

With the advent of SmartPhones, dating and social sites have also sprung up. I got interested in Grindr and installed it on my phone without my partner knowing it at all.  Casual chats then became casual meet-ups which then led to casual sex. It was August of 2013 when I started having casual sex with several men that I met via this application. From August-December 2013, I've had casual sex encounters with 7 different men in total. In all these casual sex encounters, I insisted in using condoms always. They were all protected penetrative sex but we also pleased each other orally, unprotected.

A week after my 1st encounter in August 2013, I got a fever overnight. I just shrugged this off as stress-induced. Then people started noticing a drop in my weight as I was getting thinner. I initially dismissed this since I was also going to the gym regularly to tone my body. Then just this December 2013, I started to piece together all that has happened to my body since August. I felt afraid and anxious. I started reading about symptoms  
of HIV and how it can get transmitted. I became very afraid. I started reading about how people found out about their HIV and what led them to know about it. Then this January 2014, I started becoming more paranoid because I felt a lump behind my left ear and I was feeling a strain in my throat whenever I try to talk and swallow. Then, I read that swollen lymph nodes is one of the symptoms of HIV infection. I became paranoid more than  
ever. I had sleepless nights and if I ever I slept at all, it was a dreamless sleep and it felt very shallow after you wake up the following day.

Jan 10, the day after the Feast of the Black Nazarene. I went to Quaipo and prayed to the Black Nazarene for healing. I went into confession after 7 years and confided to the priest my guilt and irresponsible indiscretions. The priest advised me to have myself tested immediately.

Jan 12, Sunday. I decided that this was the day. I could not live afraid always. I had to confront my demons and face the consequences of my actions. I have to get myself tested.

I arrived in RITM Malate around 10am. There were at most 5 people waiting in line when I arrived. I  signed a consent form for voluntary HIV testing and waited for 15 minutes until a counselor was assigned to me. Like what you and the others mentioned, they were very professional. The counselor briefed me about the test and HIV and AIDS for the next hour. After which, I was ushered upstairs for my blood extraction. I was told to go back after 2 hours to get the results. I decided to go to the Quaipo church to attend mass. The next 2 hours for me was exruciating because I felt like hanging in a limbo. You think of all possible scenarios and different events come into your mind. You think about your family, your partner, your friends, your loved ones, your work and career, and your future. During that time, I only had one prayer and that is, "Lord, Thy will be done and I shall be healed." I then surrendered everything to Him.

I went back to RITM Malate around 1:30pm. There were already a lot of people waiting in line. I asked the receptionist about my results and told her my number. I waited until the counselor assigned to me became available. We went inside the counseling room and in his hand was a white envelope. I knew that that envelope contained my future. The counselor assured me that whatever the results are, he will be there to help me. He handed me the envelope and I saw two white papers. The first paper was the most important one - HIV test. I took it out and inhaled a deep breath. It read NEGATIVE and NON-reactive to the Rapid ICT test for HIV-1 test and HIV-2 test was not done anymore because of the negative result of the HIV-1 test. I exhaled a long breath of relief and shook the hand of my counselor. It felt like the world was lifted off my shoulders. I took the second paper and it was for Hepa and Syphilis tests. My hepa test registered NON-reactive for the Rapid ICT. However, my Syphilis test registered reactive for the Qualitative RPR test. Despite this, I am still grateful. My counselor told me that it's curable and I need to get injected with  
penicillin for the next 3 weeks on my buttocks. I obliged and got my first shot on that day. I will be coming back to RITM Malate for the next 2 weeks for the next 2 shots.

Even if my SY test registered reactive, I still feel blessed. For me, this is an eye-opener and this SY-positive result will always be a reminder for me to always be responsible with my actions and never put my life and future in compromise. I am still lucky because Syphilis is curable. This was a life lesson that was almost learned the hardest way.

I still plan to return after 6 months just to be sure about my results. As for casual sex, I am done with it. I have a loving partner who I love and loves me in return. I do not need to know what else is out there because I already have what others only dream to have in their lives.

As for those people who are still afraid to get tested, do this for yourself. Give yourself a favor and get tested. You cannot alter anymore whatever you have done in the past. The best thing to do is act for your future and surrender everything to Him. It's frightening but that's what we should face because of our actions. As the priest told me, "If you value  
your life and You want Him to know this, get yourself checked and tested. That's the best thing to do and what He wants you to do."

I hope this encourages the others to also become proactive about HIV testing. I end my story with this quote from Mandela: "Courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."


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


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