A friend made & a flight delayed

03.26.2018

I was particularly restless knowing that the flight will be delayed for at least 2 hours.  You sent me a message on Grindr asking If I was also in the airport.  I told myself, “Hell! No, I won’t screen anyone in the middle of the airport!”   But you just asked if we can have coffee and smoke.

I said yes.

You came to the smoking lounge and I was surprised.  I saw you earlier with a big group at the check-in counter that held the queue.  I was really irritated with your group since you were holding the line. Sorry.

We went over the the coffee shop and chatted.  I made the effort of talking about HIV and giving you as much information as I could knowing I won’t be able to screen you (plus I checked in all the screening kits).   You were asking questions.  You were like, “What’s CD4?” and “What’s undetectable?”.  I told you more stories about the community. You asked about how I came about going full time in the advocacy.  It was a good chat.

You’re a nice guy.

After an hour. we went back to the lounge.  And you lit your cigarette and said, “I’m positive”. I casually asked since when, and you said December 2017.    You told me about your monogamy with your ex with whom you just broke up last Feb. Apparently you said, he disclosed that he’s been positive for 5 years.  You were sure you got it from him since you never had sex with anyone and you were negative as of  January 2017.  I chose not to probe.

I was glad you disclosed. I can only hope we can be friends since you seem to want to know more about the community, and about HIV. And about living with HIV.

Thanks for trusting me.   I will disclose as soon as we meet, I didn’t want to steal your thunder by saying, “me, too” when you suddenly disclosed.  You had so much  frustrations and pain, and love, for your ex that I opted to hold back from disclosing.

I will see you soon again.

 

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The Innocent

03.25.2018

Normally, I can screen-reactive someone for HIV and not get affected but you, you were different.

I had a day of 7 non-reactive cases.  I ended my day at the gym and you suddenly messaged me on Grindr. You were less than 25 feet away and I was wondering if you were inside the gym. You weren’t.  You were downstairs, you said.

I waited for you outside the gym and you said you were coming up.  But you changed your mind and said, maybe some other day.  I insisted.  You wouldn’t go up to the gym so I went down to the 3rd floor where you were waiting. I got there and I received a message from you, you’re at the 5th, and that you’re sorry for the mistake.

I ran up the stairs to the 5th and found you at the couch in front of the elevator,  You smiled and your eyes brightened up as I approached you. We went up to the room.

You’re 19.  6th in the family.  Your parents are both deceased.  You work to sustain your own education.  You only had two sexual encounters, both of which were with your boyfriends.  Your last negative test was October 2017 and you broke up with your first boyfriend in November.  You have been with your current partner for three months now.

You were reactive.

Your eyes were sad.   Your voice trembling when you speak and you just listened mostly. I tried to let you speak so I can listen but I ended up doing most of the talking.  I can’t take my eyes off yours.

You were sad.  Like most of the other cases, you were sad.

But I felt you. Your sadness.

Yours pierced right through me.

You had to go since your uncle was waiting downstairs.

You made me promise that I won’t leave you.

You promised you will seek treatment.

You came back early the next day to meet your case manager.  I told myself you were serious about your promise, as I was with mine.

But your eyes were sad, still.

One day,  I hope to see that same brightness in your eyes, and that big smile.

I will be back in Cebu. To see you.

And things can only get better.  Things will get better.

Hold on.

 

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6 babies, 3 oldies, 8 hours- and a lifetime

03.18.2018

Sorry can’t post pics of the kids, but I assure, they’re all cute. All kids are. =)

Spent Sunday with Christina and Nato.  We were exhausted, but it was worth it.

200 pm

Baby Ren, born Feb 01, 2018, parents 15 and 21 yo both positive, well the father is yet to get his test results as of today.  Baby Ren has been in the hospital the past week due to dehydration but as of today,  his mom said she doesn’t have watery stool anymore.  She is yet to take the PCR to confirm her HIV status but she’s on Zido drops.

Various donors gave diapers and Nestogen

300 pm

Baby Prince, 5 yo positive boy currently discharged from the hospital due to measles.  He lives with his HIV+ mom, his grandma, and 6 other kids.  His mom was last checked w/ a very low 1-2digit cd4 and she has yet to fully recover her strength.  Biological dad is somewhere… somewhere.

Various donors gave diapers and Lactum 3+

345 pm

Baby Choi, 4 yo positive girl recently discharged also due to measles.  Choi lives some 2-3kms away from Prince.  I wasn’t able to chat with the grandma since the road was so narrow I had to drop the 2 off and u-turn and wait somewhere.   I did see Choi from the car, she has rashes all over. Mom’s dead already.

Various donors gave diapers and Lactum 3+

430pm

Baby Liz, born Jan 20, 2018.  Parents, both positive, seem to be very happy with the progress. Mom has been on ARV since November 2017 while dad is yet to start ARV,   Baby Liz is rather underweight/size for her age, but she consumes a 350mg-milk pack in less than 3 weeks.   They are also able to get breastmilk once a week at the chapel.  They are renting a 10 sq. meter room for PhP3,500/month. Liz had her PCR last week but is yet to get the result.  Baby Liz is on ARV drops.

Various donors gave diapers and Bonna

545 pm

Baby Shane, born Jan 22, 2018, the chubbiest in the bunch.  Parents (27 and 20 yo) both on ARV.  They live in a (barely) 8-10 sq. meter room.   Shane is yet to take the PCR since dad is waiting for his next salary so he can bring them to San Lazaro.    Shane lives some 4-5 kms away from Liz.

Various donors gave diapers and Bonna

700 pm

Baby Sean, born March 01, 2018.  Tiny Sean was fast asleep when we got there but both parents (21 and 23yo) are on ARV.   Sean is on Nevi drops but is yet to take the PCR.   They live with grandma and dad’s sister, who I must say is VERY beautiful. Dad’s 2 digit Cd4 had him on Azithro-Cotri prohylaxis but he’s doing fine.

Various donors gave diapers and Bonna

So yeah, thanks to all the donors, most of whom I believe are anonymous and donors who don’t wanna be mentioned.  But we’re grateful for the all the help.

 

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Baby Steps to Helping Others

03.11.2018

nothing grand.

it doesn’t have to be a thousand people.

no one’s counting.

talk to someone.

listen.

share a warm smile.

give a tight hug.

or simply listen.

spare some money

or spare some time,

reach out

and listen.

it doesn’t have to involve the Senate,

spread optimism

without patronizing…

be sincere

but be tactful.

openminded,

and open options.

baby steps,

ain’t have to be a big leap.

just baby steps.

it will go a long way.

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FREE HIV SCREENING…

03.10.2018

where people don’t want to or cannot go to a clinic for HIV test….

where perceived stigma is overwhelming and people don’t want to go to a laboratory

where HIV can be discussed in a private setting

where HIV screening can be done in 20mins or less

where link to treatment is a priority when needed

where screenings can be done in a car, your place or mine, Starbucks, a park, bar, restaurant- anywhere you prefer

COMMUNITY-BASED HIV SCREENING

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missing him

02.18.2018

i dreamt of you

it was so real

when i woke up

i thought you were here

but no.

it’s been 20 years

i miss you, pa.

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updated philippine treatment hub list 2018

 

here’s an update as of 02.21.2018

DOH 2018-0031 Memo with treatment hubs 1

 

 

 

01.31.2019

you may download here updated list of HIV treatment hubs

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counseling non-reactives

01.27.2018

knowledge of human behavior helps us make informed decisions. – the good doctor

on the issue around cutting down efforts around counseling for non reactive clients so to save time….

without probing during counseling, we cannot understand the whys of human behavior.

without understanding the whys, we cannot give options

without options, we cannnot promote behavioral change

without behavioral change….

well…

the cycle will just go on and on.

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when Volunteers are down

01.21.2018

thing is…we have to be strong in front of others.

and we cry alone at night.

we do not have the luxury to join others in their fears.

we have to be their fortresses.

their strengths.

but who is ours?

when we are down…

who comes running to us?

we have to be there for one another.

no one really cares for the carers….

the other carers themselves.

be strong.

but never be numb.

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a dream.

01.07.2017

a positive people support group.

not based on social class

or region.

does not mind negatives in it.

not based on one’s treatment hub.

no organizational territory.

no age or gender discrimination.

with sense.of ownership.

mature.

fun.

well-informed.

shared responsibility.

no internalized stigma.

and don’t forget

this is my dream.

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