My HIV Experience: Life Continues Even with HIV

Posted by Pozziepinoy on 2:42 PM
I am XXX and I wanna share my HIV story...

I am part of a group that promotes HIV awareness and during one of our mass testings, I decided to be one of the first ones to take the test. When the results came out, it was discussed by my counselor and confirmed that I have strand 1 HIV. I wasn't really that shocked or surprised when I found out. Unlike some na naiiyak, nasa-shock, or nagbe-breakdown, I was somewhat stoic. Naalala ko na lang kung saan ko possibly na-acquire yung virus. Nagsisi ba ako after remembering that? No. As in parang wala lang sa akin yung news that the dreaded virus is inside me na. During the wrap-up of our mass testing, when the stats were being announced na, I told a close friend who is sitting beside me that I am one of those that turned out reactive, again in a very stoic way. Emotionless. Patay na bata. Went home and almost had a hard time sleeping because of it.

Pero kinabukasan, everything was back to normal. I completely brushed off the fact that I have the virus. I was in denial. I lived my life the way I'm living it. Work, drink and go out, partee and play... As in tinanggal ko sa utak ko na may nakakamatay na virus sa loob ng katawan ko. I was in complete denial. Even when I was handed the confirmatory results na by one of the coordinators from RITM, wala lang. I just kept that envelope in my files and brushed it off my mind like a useless ex boyfriend.

I lived my life as normal lang, parang wala lang talaga. The only time I discussed it is when I was with my two best friends (girls). I told them that I have the virus but stopped there. no discussions whatsoever. Just told them that I am HIV positive. Yun lang. Parang for the sake of knowing lang. As in talagang di ko binigyan halaga yung danger nung virus.

Fast forward to recent. I now have a boyfriend (I told him my status, pero yun lang. No further discussions) and he was supportive of my denial of having the virus. We live our lives normal, parteeing almost every two weeks (naging bonding moment na namin to). Hanggang sa napansin ko nang unti-unti nang bumabagsak katawan ko. Parang mas mabilis na akong mapagod. I'm starting to lose weight. Pero sabi ko, epekto ng drugs to, this is not because of the virus.

Around February this year, nagsimula akong magkaroon ng ubo. Umabot na ng two weeks pero parang hindi pa rin gumagaling. I decided that I will go home muna (I live with my partner in his place) so my family can take care of me. When I went home, my mom had me x-ray'd and then when we went to a doctor, the doctor suggested that I get confined in the hospital, but first he asked me to have cbc. When the CBC results came, sobrang baba ng hemoglobin, hematocrit, and rbc count ko na kailangan na daw akong salinan ng dugo. So I was confined, 3 bags of blood ang isinalin sa akin, plus a lot of iv antibiotics and meds for my cough. While all of this is happening, meron din akong diarrhea. So my doctor made a very risky move that could actually lose his license. There was a plebotomist na pinadala to get my blood sample. It's to check daw my blood kung ok na. Then the next thing I know, my mom knew that I have HIV (one thing i never want to happen!). Apparently, the blood sample they took from me was tested for HIV and since it turned out reactive, it was now forwarded to RITM for confirmation.

That's it! Sa sobrang galit ko, I immediately requested that I get discharged from the hospital as I felt that I was not being treated medically-correct and professionally. I told a good friend (who is an HIV advocate, let's just name him Peter) about the situation and he immediately went to the hospital, arriving there just in time of my discharge. He talked to me, to my mother, and to my partner (he was there when I was discharged) and discussed how the rusty doctor's illegal move actually saved my life. He assured my mother that I will be all right and that he will be helping me in getting the right treatment I need.

So back in manila, Peter brought me to a clinic that specializes in adult diseases like HIV. A series of tests were done including CD4 count. A few days after, I went back to the clinic and was informed that I have active tuberculosis and that my CD4 count is 52. With all the other illnesses I'm feeling in my body (diarrhea, some stomach cramps, numbing of my feet, shortness of breath), technically, as the doctor said, I can already be considered in AIDS stage. This really shocked me, but Peter and the doctor assured me that "the world will not lose me now."

Now, I am taking treatment meds for tuberculosis and was also given some meds for my stomach cramps (which also solved my diarrhea). Been taking the meds for two weeks now before I start taking ARV's. I can say that I am starting to feel better each day, though nagsisisi pa rin ako kasi hindi na sana darating sa ganito kung inagapan ko lang ang sakit ko.

I guess the lesson of my story is to avoid denying the virus once you found out that you have it. Act on it agad. If needed, get a lot of support from friends. Wag nang hintayin na dumating sa part na napapansin mo na physically that the virus is starting to eat you up. Because we don't want to end up na malalaman na lang natin na bilang na mga araw natin, or worse, yung bigla na lang poof, goodbye world. Scary as it may sound, pero posible.

I'm very thankful na somewhat eh naagapan pa yung sitwasyon ko. Now I am positive that I will still enjoy life and do a lot of things, especially when I start taking my ARV's na.

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