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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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45) MMK Reflections (MMK: Pulang Laso episode)

Maalaala Mo Kaya (Would You Remember) is the longest-running drama anthology series in Philippine television. It has been on air since 1991. The show accepts stories from letter senders, and picks exceptional ones to present in TV format. To mark World AIDS Day, their episode this December 1 was entitled Pulang Laso (Red Ribbon).

It is quite rare for a TV station in a conservative country like ours to present a story involving a sensitive topic such as HIV/AIDS.

The TV episode elicited various reaction from people on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. While some commended the daring move of the TV network to raise awareness regarding HIV through the drama series, others remarked about it harshly.

The HIV community also weighed in. One person said that the show should have focused on Allan (Joem Bascon) as an HIV advocate, rather than spending too much air time on the love story. Another one criticized that Kevin (Carlo Aquino) shouldn't have died, and the episode should reflect that HIV/AIDS doesn't immediately equate to death. Another viewer said that there was a lot lacking, like the absence of pre and post counseling on the HIV test, as well as the absence of treatment and interventions for Kevin. Sadly, one HIV+ viewer dismissed the episode as trash and said that the show should have produced a story with another topic.

Harsh remarks, I should say, particularly coming from fellow HIV+ people. Personally, I found the episode great in that both homosexual relationship and HIV/AIDS are not often discussed on Philippine television. With a platform such as Maalaala Mo Kaya, the episode has reached out to millions of loyal Filipino viewers in the country and abroad.

People should be aware that TV has its limitations in presenting a complex story, as air time is usually just a little over an hour. Filipinos love melodramas and tearjerkers, but this one still attempted to educate viewers by subtlety inserting information about the signs and symptoms of HIV, the importance of being faithful to one's partner, the need for safe sex and regular HIV tests, and more importantly, it gave the viewers hope that despite having the disease, people living with HIV can still have normal and productive lives.

Overall, the show raised the level of awareness of the Filipino people with regards to HIV and AIDS. The show trended over Twitter. Links to the episode have been posted on Facebook. A lot of people were talking about it. And for me, this is a good sign. When people start to talk, they will eventually seek out information. One HIV counselor even said that he assisted several patients in getting HIV tests, and they confessed to him that they did so after watching Maalaala Mo Kaya's World AIDS Day episode.

As for the others who bash about the episode, I believe that they should start writing their own personal stories for TV airing next year. I am just so disappointed with some of the responses of other HIV+; they can be brutally arrogant like there's some sort of a contest or search for the best HIV+ person in the country. Please, it's World AIDS Day. Let's unite instead.

To read the complete article, please click HERE.

This is my third article with PositiveLite.com, Canada's online HIV magazine. Visit their site by clicking HERE for valuable stories, news, and other information about HIV and people living with it. 

First article: Meet Pinoy Positive

Second article: Suicidal Thoughts

Third article: MMK Reflections

Thank you PositiveLite.com for giving me the opportunity to thank ABS-CBN TV network, the show Maalaala Mo Kaya, director Nuel Naval (@directfromncn), the main actors Carlo Aquino (@carloaquino11) and Joem Bascon, the writer, and to all those were part in the creation of the Pulang Laso episode.

Thank you for making World AIDS Day more meaningful.