Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Not On The Same Boat

Being a “newbie” in the growing population of HIV infected people (I’m not proud that I'm the latest addition in the statistics), I try to find strength and encouragement from people who have been through this same situation as mine. By talking to them and knowing their stories, it gives me hope that I can also make it.

I met a guy from Planet Romeo, also a pozzie, and we had this little conversation. At first, he seemed fine. A pozzie looking for same, for friendship or whatever. But as we went along our talk, he appeared to be a bit different from the other pozzies I have talked to.

Here is what transpired in our chitchat. (This conversation is verbatim. Those words in bold pinkish font and in parenthesis are mine. They are my comments, or things I wish I told him, but didn't.)

R: I finally found you. I’m R**. (Let’s call him R.) I hope we could talk and know each other. Just like you, I’m one of the "gifted."

me: Paanong naging ako yung hinahanap mo? :)

R: We are of the same kind. :D

me: I see. Since when did you learn?

R: Just last year. And I also felt the same way you did. That's why I know. But nonetheless, I moved on and lived normally.

me: I see. Thanks! I just knew it last week.

R: Yeah, I just read your blog. It was nice by the way. I hope I can meet you some time.

me: Thanks! What's your story? How did you know you got the virus?

R: There was this time when I felt feverish, but it’s something different. Plus, I don’t get sick normally. After a long time I got curious. So I got myself tested. And boom! Haha. I knew it. As a matter of fact, it’s my anniversary. Haha.

me: Anniversary mo ngayon? Parang ang hirap at this time of the year when all the other people are happy. But you did. Nalampasan mo yun. I know I will too.

R: It’s not a reason to stop you from living your life like you used to. Sa totoo lang, it’s my reason to get what I want, to fulfill my dreams. Can we exchange numbers? Please. (I wanted to ask him sana how HIV made him fulfill his dreams, but I didn’t bother.)

me: Sure, yours?

R: 0917******* What's yours?

me: Got it. F****** here... 0915******* You are from where, by the way?

And then he sent me a text message.

R: Hi F******. R here. Ako yung kausap mo sa PR. From Blumentritt ako. Ikaw ba?

me: Yup, saved your number already. From ***** here.

R: Saan sa *****? Kahit wala akong alam diyan. Hehe!

me: Seriously? Malapit lang ang Blumentritt sa ***** ah.

R: Yes I know that. Kaso hindi naman ako sa Blumentritt talaga. Retiro talaga ako. (Ahh, saan ba talaga kuya?)

me: Ahh, hindi ko na alam diyan.

R: Haha! Alam mo yung lechonan?

me: Nope, although lagi ako may nakikita na biyaheng Retiro along Rizal Avenue.

R: Hehe. Diyan nga ako lagi dumadaan pauwi. Malapit sa Chinese yung amin. So saan ka sa *****? Sino kasama mo sa Pasko?

me: Basta somewhere in *****. I’m with my family, dito lang sa bahay.

R: Ahh! So do they know?

me: No, they don’t even know I’m gay. Kaya patay talaga ako. Hehe!

R: Ok lang yan. Suportahan kita. Mwah! (Where did that come from? I’m sensing something in here. Let’s try to divert the conversation to something more interesting.)

me: Haha! Thanks! What’s your latest CD4 count?

R: I haven’t actually. I didn’t continue with the consultation or what. I’m living as it is. Pero alam ko 100+. Pero hindi aabot ng 137, (which I think is the normal count.) How about yours? (That phrase in the parenthesis, not mine. Gulat much lang!)

me: Ah ok. Bakit naman? Well, 137 is not even near the normal.

R: Sorry naman. Almost a year na ako tumigil eh. Are you taking the medication? Why? Coz I felt a bit in denial or ashamed. Plus, ang hassle pumunta doon. Furthermore, I don’t want to be treated or to treat myself like I’m severely sick. Hopeless. (Emphasis mine.)

me: I think you’ll be more sick if you don’t get the treatment. Saan ba dati mong treatment hub?

R: True, but I don’t feel different at all. Besides, hindi ako pwede noon kasi anemic ako. Sa may DoH. Ikaw ba? (Please correct me if I’m wrong, pero according to people I have asked, 3 lang ang treatment hub dito sa Manila, and DoH is not one of them. And, Retiro to DoH, hassle na for you?)

me: There are treatments for anemia. Sorry, but I find you suspicious. (Eto na! Nagtitimpi. Huwag nang patulan.)

R: Yup, but I took the natural way. Haha. Suspicious? In what way? You think I’m lying about me having it? Do you even what to talk to my mom about it and how she nags (in a caring way) me every day about it?? (So you think AMALAYER? Kidding aside. Again, this is verbatim. I just copied whatever he sent me through SMS. And I didn’t quite understand the last part.)

me: I’m sorry, but that’s how I feel. Well, I respect your decision not to go under treatment. Pero parang I think that’s giving up. I still love what’s left of my life and I’m gonna do what it takes to preserve it.

R: Who said I’ve given up my life? If I did, I would have taken my life. But I decided to live my life without hesitations. I don’t want to be treated poorly or hopeless. That’s why I’m doing my best to live my life. I’m trying to attain my dreams. And I didn’t close my mind about the treatment. I just can’t right now. (Not taking the meds would be like taking your life subtly. And who's treating us as poor, or hopeless?)

me: Kaya nga may treatment eh, kasi it will help us. Bakit mo naisip na hopeless case ang pag-inom ng gamot? (I no longer like this conversation.)

R: I’m not saying that medicine is hopeless, though it’s not a cure. I just don’t want to be thought hopeless. To be thought sick. Saan ka ba nagpatreat?

me: I’m not gonna argue with you. Maybe we really have different perspectives on this matter. Enjoy the holidays! (Nakikipagtalo na eh, not argue pa ba yun?)

R: Then maybe you could help me do the treatment. Let’s help each other.

R: Can you be my reason? (Yun oh, biglang ganun.)

R: Huwag ka naman mainis or what sa akin. I already planned to have my blood count this 26, my birthday and the day my Mom learned about it. Then if possible, immediately go under treatment, for you and for myself.

I didn’t reply after that last text message.

Was I too mean? Did I misinterpret him? I don't know.

I’m sorry but I don’t want to be with people with lots of negativity. We are definitely not on the same boat. And more definitely, I would not want to be traveling with him on the same stream. That’s not the path I would want to go.

I want to live a positive life! I am HIV positive, after all.



  1. I don't think you were mean. Mukha lang talagang iba ang nasa isip ni R. I hope when he reads your post, matatauhan siya.

    I'm no counselor, pero I think R should be his own reason to undergo treatment, and not anyone else.

    1. exactly! :) walang ibang pwedeng tumulong sayo kung hindi ang sarili mo lang...

  2. You'll receive more messages like that. I'm sure he's poz din, but he thinks he's healthy (possibly beacause wala pa syang nararamdaman) kaya he doesn't want to get treatment. Forgive him if he doesn't know what's normal, it's not unusual for some pozzies not to know. Some don't even know the names of their ARVs. :) You'll learn to be more tolerant in time. :)

    DOH by the way is just a stone's throw away from San Lazaro. Baka dun sya nagpatingin and he MIGHT have felt being treated poorly.

    But you are right, surround yourself with positive people. You'll get strength from them, and living life with HIV will be as easy normal as normal. :)

    1. baka nga, we don't know kung ano naging experience niya, kaya i don't want to judge him... :)

  3. I'll be blunt about this.
    I think he's a danger to himself and to society.


    Foyn! Toning done...

    I think he's risky. If he's not getting treatment and adequate management, and he still "live my life without hesitations", i wouldn't be surprised to find out that he still engages in sex as freely as he likes. and by "freely" i also meant unprotected.

    You're not being mean by not replying. But, seeing where he stands, I think it wouldn't be bad to be there to rub some pozzitivty in him. Being positive doesn't mean staying away from the negatives, does it? I think it's how you can revert signs from nega to pozzie.