Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Contact Tracing

This entry is mainly for those who frequently ask me how I got the infection. I always answer them, malamang through sex. Although, may possibility rin naman na through needle stick injuries ko na-acquire. May pagka-clumsy rin kasi ako sa work. Natutusok ng karayom na nagamit na sa pasyenteng hindi ko naman alam ang status. Pero very minimal naman ang risk of transmission through needle stick injuries. So, sex pa rin.

And then they’ll paraphrase the question. From whom did I acquire the virus?

Ah. That’s a difficult question to answer.

I really don’t know from whom I got the virus. Hindi na ako magmamalinis. I was promiscuous before, mapaglaro at mapusok. Pero one thing is for sure, whoever the guy is, malamang sa PR ko lang siya nakilala. I have never met any random guy from the streets, malls, movie houses, spas, not even in clubs or bars. Takot ako makipagtitigan. Kapag may tumingin sakin, binabaling ko agad-agad ang tingin ko sa iba. Sabi kasi ng mom ko, “Don’t talk to strangers.”

Until recently, medyo lumevel up ako. I managed to make eye contact with a stranger nang matagalan. It was actually my first time. We didn't end up talking with each other pero para sa akin achievement na yun kasi nga first time ko.

I was with a friend, having coffee in a coffee shop somewhere in the University Belt. This week lang ito. While we were conversing, I immediately noticed the barista. He's cute, looks clean, and boy-next-door type of guy with a little angst on the side. Edi tinignan ko siya and boom! He looked back. I didn't know what has gotten into me. My eyes remained fixated on him. And then I smiled before I looked at my coffee and sipped from it.

Nung medyo wala na siya ginagawa, I saw him talking with another staff. In a gay man's point of view, I noticed some hints that he is one of us.

Badly, hanggang ganun lang ang nangyari. Pasulyap-sulyap. Landi lang! Pero, what I didn't expect was when I was about to leave, he said, "Thank you po, sir. Come again." A lot of people come and go pero no one was greeting them. Kaya nagulat lang din ako when he did that.

He's not one of my suspects. Nakwento ko lang siya.

Going back, I have started to experience the symptoms just recently (later half of 2012). I even got tested by a friend sometime in August and showed that posibleng nasa window period pa lang ako. So it could mean that most probably, early on that same year ko lang siya nakadaupang-palad. Therefore, my choices were narrowed down to three.

I was still single when I met PM in PR. He’s about my age and we have the same height (5’10”). He’s tall, dark, and uhm… a customer service representative residing in Blumentritt, Manila.

We actually met the first time last June 2011, and nasundan ng nasundan hanggang we had our 3rd meeting this March 2012, at his place. And to make the story short, we made out every time we met. We were inconsistent. We had protected and unprotected sex.

And palagi na lang nangyayari na few days after may mangyari sa amin, nagkakasakit ako. Hindi ko alam kung paranoid lang ako or pure coincidence lang talaga.

Minsan, kumokonsulta siya sakin about his health. He was having recurrent fevers daw kasi. And another time, may nakapa siyang kulani sa leeg niya. Matagal na daw and hindi nawawala that it bothered him. Pina-biopsy niya daw but I never learned about the result anymore. Lately, I realized that those symptoms maybe related to HIV infection.

And then I met JS, early April 2012. Again, he is also from PR. He’s 21 years old, a bit thin, and shorter than I am. He is also a customer service representative, taga-Sampaloc, Manila.

To make the story short again, we met at his apartment and made out. There was no penetration, just oral sex.

After the fun, as we were lying on the bed nagpapahinga, I noticed a note posted on his wall.

“Don’t forget to take your meds, anak. Palakas ka ng resistensya.”

And so I asked kung ano yung sakit niya. He said he was hypertensive. At age 21? Kung sabagay, actually pwede naman. However, I wasn’t contented with his answer that’s why I asked what his meds were. He could not answer. He said he forgot what they were sa dami daw ng kailangan inumin. I didn’t argue na lang with him.

Lately, it came up to me na posible din na nagpalusot lang siya about being hypertensive. I should have inquired more. Pero useless na rin. Nauna nang may nangyari before I knew about his condition.

And lastly, my recent ex, TJ. Nagkakilala sa PR ng December 2011 and naging kami ng late April 2012. I was monogamous in the relationship. I just don’t know about him. Since naging kami, he was the last person I had sexual contact with. How about him? I don’t know if he had other extracurricular activities while we were together. Kaya, I’m not too sure about TJ’s status. Until recently, I’ve learned about his infidelity kaya I decided to end the relationship already.

Well, they’re all speculations. I have no proof or strong evidences to support my claims that I got it from one of them. Posible din na wala sa kanila and sa ibang guys I've met before them ko pa nakuha.

Now that I have enumerated them, this is a good starting point to do contact tracing. Track down all the people whom I have sex with and tell them to get tested too. Kasi ang pwede lang naman na nangyari diyan is, either I got the infection from them, or I passed on the virus to them.

Theoretically speaking, it is necessary para they’ll be able to know their status too and thereby stop the spread of the virus. Noble deed, indeed! Pero it’s not as easy as it seem. Case to case basis pa rin talaga. I can’t tell TJ. We are not in good terms. And as for PM and JS, I don’t have their numbers anymore. Though I still see them in PR until now, I no longer talk to them.

Besides the contact tracing issue, I really don’t care now and it doesn't really matter now who infected me. As the saying goes, “Let bygones be bygones.” Ayun, the saying still goes on and on pa rin. Hirap i-explain. Maganda lang kasi pakinggan. :)

Life is too short and too precious to waste on thinking about it. Concentrated na ako ngayon in surrounding myself with positive vibes, and keeping myself as healthy as possible.

Live. Laugh. Love.

I meant to write a detailed story of how we made out, but I decided I wanted this to become as wholesome as possible. Tsaka matagal na rin kasi nangyari yun. I forgot what really happened already. Next time na lang, if I have found myself a new story to tell. :) 


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