I am Pinoy Positive, a young man from the Philippines living with HIV. Aside from running the halls of the hospital for more than 3 years as an ICU nurse, I also run half-marathons in road and trail races. I was diagnosed March 2012 just as my career in the healthcare industry was about to take off. I was set to work abroad, but HIV did not permit me to do so.
I can be reached through the following sites:
Personal blog: www.pinoypositive101.blogspot.com
You can read Part One of my story here.
I had already received my work visa to go abroad, and my departure date was set for April 12. However, during my medical exam on March 29, I was diagnosed positive for HIV. My remaining two weeks in the Philippines had already been planned. However, because of the diagnosis, I was left with much confusion as to what to do with my life. I wouldn’t be able to work abroad, and I had already resigned from my job I had held for more than three years. HIV deprived me of a great career and a lot of other possibilities.
I was advised not to seek treatment right away because I only had the ELISA test, an HIV screening test. I had to wait for another three weeks before the results of the Western Blot test came out. I was almost certain that I was going to be positive for the confirmatory test as I thought back to my past sexual experiences, though a little part of me hoped that the initial result could have been caused by something else.
Those three weeks of waiting for the confirmatory result were one of the most agonizing periods of my life. I had difficulty sleeping at night, and I found myself crying every time I woke up. I also had suicidal ideas. At work, I had access to narcotics and other dangerous drugs. I had thought of injecting myself with large doses of narcotic analgesics and jumping off a building. That way, I would have been drowsy as I fell, and unconscious when I reached the floor. I fear pain, and I wanted a quick, painless, and sure death.
I told myself that if ever I get hospitalized, I would secretly mix my intravenous infusion with a high dose of Valium. It would induce sleep, and I’d eventually die of the overdose. I have this fear of death, yet I wanted to die badly.
For a time, I had thought of myself as invincible. Why would I fear anything when I was sure of dying in the first place? I chose to walk home from work even if was already in the wee hours of the morning, unmindful of possible robbers. I invited danger. I told myself, it is more of a sin to end my own life than for others to end my life for me.
In every suicide attempt thought, what kept me from doing the deed was my family. How can I ever abandon my younger brother, who even in our 20’s, would still invite me to play arcade games with him in the mall just like in our younger years? And my mother who chose to be away from her family to work abroad? And for the record, she has worked for more than 30 years in the Middle East.
No one from my family and friends knows that I have HIV. But deep in my heart, I know I have already disappointed them for allowing myself to contract the disease, and I would just hurt them even more if I let HIV rule my life. I acknowledge that I made numerous mistakes in the past, but I would not allow HIV to dictate how my new life would be.
After a certain period of time, I started blogging, and created alternate accounts in twitter and facebook. I have interacted with fellow pozzies, and got inspired by how they have handled their lives, and eventually became successful ,especially in their careers. They made me realize that although the journey would not be a walk in the park, it would be beautiful in the end.
In one gay social networking site, I created an account with the aim of making fellow Filipinos aware of the increasing HIV number of cases in our country. I especially encourage HIV testing, and was surprised to receive replies from people asking me where to get themselve’s tested. And I do get pleased when I receive messages that their results turn out non-reactive to HIV and other STIs. Recently, there were a couple who tested positive, but still were thankful for the early diagnosis. They are currently under treatment in an HIV hub.
Today, I am picking up the pieces. Slowly but surely, I know I will be on track once again. HIV is just a tiny bump in my life. My journey still continues, and life has still lots to offer. Being positive with HIV, ironically, brought a lot of positivism in to my life.