Positive Pinoy: my personal journey with HIV.

I was diagnosed last March 29, 2012 in a time that I was supposed to leave the country in a couple more weeks. I had my medical exam, and the result returned POSITIVE. From then on, my journey with HIV began.

Read More

What's New?: gateway to useful links on local and international news and updates about HIV.

A summary collection of medical articles, research news, and science breakthroughs on HIV/AIDS, STIs, and other related diseases.

Read More

HIV 101: Basic information for the newly-diagnosed.

Understand the basics, know the facts, and take care of yourself. This section contains basic information about HIV/AIDS.

Read More

Social Media: going viral against HIV/AIDS and other STIs.

The entrance of social media in spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS has gone viral. Famous personalities and the common man alike showed their support not just to HIV education but also with regards to the lives and struggles of the LGBT community.

Read More

Health Events: listing of wellness and advocacy events for HIV-positive individuals and friends.

This section contains a summary listing of knowledge-sharing events on HIV, mass HIV testing, and other wellness events that will strengthen the overall health of HIV-positive individuals.

Read More

26) Short Trip to Manila

Five months after leaving Manila, I finally returned, but only for a few days. My aunt booked me a flight with her to help fetch my cousin who recently took her board exam.

A lot of things entered my mind as I was on the plane. First, I know I got the disease in Manila. Until now, I can’t pinpoint who I got the disease from. And to be truthful, yes, I engaged in random hook-ups when I was still living alone. Worse than that, I neglected to practice safe sex in some occasions.

Shortly after diagnosis, I actually tried to search in facebook and another gay social networking site the people I had sex with in the past. I wanted to know the person who might have infected me. It came to my knowledge that an ex-boyfriend died of liver abscess this January, and another one I dated died of meningitis last October 2011 (click HERE).

Coincidentally, on my second day in Manila, while riding in a train going to Ayala, a Chinese-looking guy beside the door caught my attention. I stared at him trying to recall where I met him, and he stared back. Well, his height was a giveaway; I had sex with him before. Although we did it several times, they were all protected sex. But why did I see worry in his eyes? Or maybe paranoia was just playing tricks on me. We were still staring at each other when I headed towards the door of the train. We were beside each other, catching glances, but there were no exchange of words.

Is knowing who infected me really that important? I had protected sex with him, but why worry?

Maybe some questions are better left unanswered. I'm guilty of dwelling too much in my not-so-distant past.

Surely, there’s still pain in my heart. I had a promising career in Manila, and I was two weeks short to going abroad until I was diagnosed HIV-positive before my departure date. One night of sex turned into a lifetime of regret.

Me, working as a nurse here is purely accidental. I was visiting an ex-bf in Manila when he heard from his friend that a new hospital is going to open soon, and then he encouraged me to submit my resume. And that is how the story of how I worked for more than three years in that hospital started.

Manila was my stepping stone. I built my dreams here. As my workmates started to resign and eventually landed jobs abroad, I started to solidify my qualification by passing several international exams. I was a good nurse, but not a good employee. But eventually, I attempted and successfully gained my manager’s trust and confidence. My promotion came at the time that my visa abroad also arrived. And I chose the latter. Of course, one of my dreams is to work abroad, and secondly, I want to provide a better life for my family.

But because of HIV, I lost both ---- my job abroad, and my work in Manila. I lied to my family why I wasn’t able to go abroad. I isolated myself from my friends and co-workers. I went back to my province, and made sure to have no, or at the very least, minimal contact with people I know there. Up until today, my family thinks that I went home to rest since my papers abroad is still being processed. And they like it that way knowing that work abroad can be very tiring and embracing a foreign culture is difficult.

My plan of going back to Manila in search for work is nearing. I have mixed feelings. I’m a new and changed person now. Well, mostly new point of view since I already know my limitations and the purpose of me going back. It’s much clearer to me now. I still have this fear of what awaits me there, but I hope I’d still be as motivated and dedicated as I was in my previous job. Fingers crossed. Manila, be good to me please the next time I return.