Friday, November 29, 2013

Living with HIV AIDS in Cagayan de Oro

Iam sharing this story of Mr. Grey Hu (not his real name) who is HIV positive and a resident of Cagayan de Oro City.  He shared his life story in Outrage Magazine and has given me permission to reprint his story in DiscreetBai blog.  Thanks Grey Hu.

Grey: Facing each day as a miracle unfolding
Call me Grey (not my real name). I am from south of the islands of the Philippines – Cagayan de Oro. I am HIV-positive. It’s been two months since I knew my result. 

I call it as my Dark Age or simply “restless days”. I had a wonderful and simple life here in the province but I chose to work in a big city for better opportunities. Financially, my family can provide for me and my brother the things we ask for; but young as I was, I wanted more – I wanted freedom and to live independently. And so I had a very different life, and yes, I loved it. But while I enjoyed it so much, I forgot the things that matter. It was then that I got really depressed, so that I clung to short-term happiness. I became promiscuous. I enjoyed the ‘short times’ with some random guys. I had several flings and it became a pattern... a pattern of my life that I never wish happened, though it did happen and not that I ever regretted it happening.

In October 2011, I decided to come home. I was having the best and worst days of my life then. I needed to learn to love myself and to embrace the people who matter to me. I got sick most of the time then – from fever to coughing, until I was diagnosed with shingles. My self-denial did not help me. I was sick on and off until November 2012, and my family was starting to worry. I kept my composure and never thought of having the virus. In fact, I was still active in my sexual life – and, worse, I remained unsafe even then. I continued living my my life as if it’s the last day of the world for me.

Earlier this year, I got ill again, and I lost weight – around 10% of my body weight. It was the turning point in my life. I realized that I was indeed sick and that it may be something serious.  

I remember earlier, on February 2012, when I got mild TB and confined in a private hospital in CDO, where I was enrolled to DOTS for free meds for TB – that moment in my life, I learned to value my family more as they were there when I was about to quit life. They did not judge me, just cared for me and gave me unconditional love. My tita, who is like my second mom, was always hands-on during those awful times. My nurse cousin was there to check on me. My mama was always there praying for my recovery. My best friends who knew my situation were there too. God became my refuge during those times. He was there and together with my family. I disconnect myself from the world for five months then, and I celebrated each day as if my last.

By mid-May, I got better and better each day. Loving yourself more is my weapon in that fight. I recovered so fast and it was amazing. A second life, indeed. 
On May 28, I contacted my peer counselor from the city health department. I told him that I will take the HIV antibody test. I took it as God’s grace and courage to take the risk of getting tested. It was a risk I knew I would carry for a lifetime. In the afternoon of that same day, I got the result. I expected for it to be positive – I somehow knew I am positive. And my suspicion was proven right. As the doctor was discussing with me about my case, I just listened and thought of the things I did. I told him I needed to accept my status because I made a choice. No regrets for me now. I am now ready to face what life has brought me. This is a rebirth for me; a call for service.

It is true that one of the most difficult situations I ever dealt with is accepting my status day by day. But I became better eventually, and more loving of myself. I was indeed whole now. I dealt with this with openness and I embrace it unconditionally and with God’s grace.

My family still matters to me now. My best friends and my new friends from the advocacy molded me to become strong. I now need to choose the people who I want to share my life with.
Blaming doesn't help at all. Dealing with it with open arms and continuing living and stopping worrying do. Yoga helped me a lot, too, and being with optimistic people.

And now I hope to somehow become a voice to my fellow PLHIVs, advocating for love and for inner peace. 
Yes, it may not be always easy – it took me two months to write this! But to other PLHIVs, remember that you are loved. I am praying for all of us. Let us join together and build a new “us”. 

Last week, I had my CD4 count, and the result was too low – it’s only 56. I know it’s just a number. I will start taking my medications this week and I know this will help me. But already, I am better and better every day. Every day is a miracle. I am now ready to face this battle.
At the present times, I am launching my advocacy for HIV & AIDS awareness : The project Oxygen. You can check me online, thru facebook. 




Anonymous said...

Thank you Dbai.



complicated said...

Dear Discreetbai, asa nga hospital or laboratory magpa HIV test?pila pud ang bayad?confidential ba na?thanks

DiscreetBai said...

If you want to get tested for HIV do it in Northern Mindanao Medical Center or the Provincial Hospital. The NMMC is the newest HIV AIDS treatment hub in Mindanao. You can also get tested in CDO Medical Center and Polymedic Hospital. I am not sure how much it costs but last time I inquired it was 500 Pesos at Medical Center. Try calling the hospital if you are too shy to ask personally. Before you get tested you will be required to answer a questionnaire. Answer it as honestly as possible. Include your contact details. DO NOT WORRY. All HIV tests are confidential as required by law. The HIV AIDS Law of the Philippines assures the confidentiality of the infected person.

Anonymous said...

confedential? the fag nurses and doctors in Northern Mindanao Medical Center will start gossiping once they knew who got a HIV AIDS.

DiscreetBai said...

There is already a law protecting the privacy of a HIV AIDS person. Even the media can not divulge the identity of the person. If someone does, they can be sued in court.

If you do not trust fags then look for straight doctors or nurses. Besides who are you going to trust? It is best to get tested than not get tested at all.

Anonymous said...

i used condoms while fucking unless i know the are young and virgin no rubbers needed.

will i get AIDS from fellatio? and fingerin a butthole?

lately a gay guy lick my ass. that's the first time it happened to me. i don't know if i like it but i want somene to lick my asshole again so that i can decide if im really a fag.

DiscreetBai said...

It is advisable to use condoms all the time, whether virgin or not. You can still get other diseases with anal sex like hepatitis, typhoid fever, cholera and others.

Yes you can still get HIV AIDS from oral sex. Unless if you are being sucked, then the chance is close to zero.

No you do not get HIV AIDS if you finger a butthole. Just make sure no soreness, blood or semen is involved.

Anal rimming (anal licking) can be pleasurable to some. However one has to prepare for it. You have to clean your asshole thoroughly. Porn actors who do anal rimming prepare themselves before a shoot. Actors undergo enema or anal cleansing to make sure all "foreign objects" are removed from the ass. If the ass is not cleaned enough, the person rimming can get hepatitis, typhoid, cholera and others. And I do not advise you kissing after an anal rim....for obvious reasons.

Read blog page on Sex (Oral and Anal)

You do not decide to be gay or not. You feel it. If you are sexually attracted to the same sex then you are gay.

Anonymous said...

that's confusing.

if someone suck my dick I won't het AIDS but suckin someone might infect me.

fingerin a cornhole might cause soreness & it will hurt and be bloody.

God with the ever increasing AIDS infected people here in CdO I wil always be afraid to have sex and have some sexy time I wish mawala na yung libog ko. Bili na lang ako ng sextoys or just masturbate.

DiscreetBai said...

HIV AIDS virus is found in the blood and semen. That is why the guy who receives the semen is more at risk than the guy giving out the semen.

When fingering someones hole you have to make sure your nails are short and trimmed to avoid scrapping the hole. Use water based lubrication or better yet use a disposable latex glove to be safe.

Anonymous said...

Naa bai hiv testing sa NMMC Hospital during week ends?

DiscreetBai said...

I am not sure but just inquire through telephone if you want to be anonymous.