She had you over two years ago but then, she wasn’t on treatment. You ended up HIV+. Her immune system eventually gave in, she died July last year. She left you with your Aunt. She left words not to let you without treatment. She left words to take good care of you. She had her infection from her partner–your dad. Your guardian said your dad allegedly infected another (partner) woman before who already died. Your dad is also dead.
Auntie has I think 4 or 5 children of her own. She recently “paid” for her granddaughter whose mom sold for three thousand pesos. And the kid is also with your Aunt. Your Uncle drives a tricycle when and if there’s an opportunity. Your Aunt makes Papaya Soap with Glutathione and sells it at the public market for ten pesos a piece, sometime being able to sell 40-50 pieces on Sundays, most of the time selling 4 or 5 pieces a day. Your Aunt tears up every time she talks about your struggle. She tears up talking about your pet “Chicken” and your morning routine, talking to the pet. She tears up about the hardships you went through. She tears up about everything about you. She loves you.
You live in a shanty built over what seemed like a slope East of Manila. We had to go down the slope through a make shift stone-stairs to get to your house. You have two dogs at home, you have your cousins, your niece, your guardians. Not your parents.
No one knows. I can’t tell which is worse, your being born with HIV or your down syndrome. No one knows. You will be taking ARVs for the rest of your life. You may need to go to a special education system but your Aunt cannot even afford your milk.
Your very little stolen smiles showed signs of hope. Your stares showed signs of “who the f*ck are you”. Your face showed signs of struggle at such young age.
But your soul will forever bear the spirit of an angel. Broken at such young age, but made whole by your undying baby faith.
You. CD4 300+, TB+, Liver enzymes went up, Sodium went down. Now, you’re this chubby baby, CD4 600+… Keep the faith up. You need Milk. but your milk cost 1100+/can which will last you 5 days only. You need love. You need more faith. You need more prayers, more strength. What can I say,at such a young age, you’re pretty needy. You made me smile, you made me remember a baby blood brother of yours who passed away last year.
You are a bundle of joy, and hope.