I Want To.

04.03.2017

I want to write.

I have been wanting to write about things, maybe my trip to Baguio up north

Or my day in the Congress hearing for the AIDS law Amendment, or maybe my day with some close friends in Tagaytay.

Write about advocacy and activism and how they are different, and tell people that helping others is not necessarily an advocacy in essence.

I want to write about counseling people or maybe the very basics of helping people.

I want to write about my meeting with Eunice forward save the children or with the Department of Health or with the different City Health offices.

I want to write about that wonderful experience of having met many young legislators during in the fellowship night of the Robredo Foundation gathering.

I want to write about my relationship with my mom or maybe my brothers or maybe my cousins or maybe my friends.

I want to write about friends that I haven’t seen for so long and I am not even sure if I would ever see them again, or at least see them the way I used to see them

I want to write but my want to write is not my priority.

There are needs that I have to do so for now, this is what I need to write.

I just need to write the things that I want to write.

Maybe I’m just bored.

It’s almost two in the morning.

ūüė°ūüė°ūüė°

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+he prodigal son(?)

03.14.2017

It wasn’t so long ago when you used to earn monthly six figures and money was not an issue. You are able to buy anything you want. You are able to give your mom anything she asked. Or wanted.

It wasn’t so long ago.

Until you decided to give it all up for an advocacy that you thought needed you. An advocacy that can never give you the life you got accustomed to. ¬†Since then, your partner had been shouldering more than half of all the expenses — house rental, groceries, incidentals, car mortgage — and you would only pay for the utilities at home.

It wasn’t long ago when you would easily give your mom any financial needs she had, especially if she had medical issues. Laboratories. Medicine.

Today is her birthday. And unlike the not so long ago birthdays, she hasn’t been feeling well for days now. She needed meds and you had nothing to spare. ¬†Good thing your brother from New York sent in some money today for her birthday.

And you feel bad. And your mom feels bad. ¬†Your mom sent you a message yesterday saying you didn’t care about her.

Are you a bad son? You put strangers ahead of your own mom’s needs.

When a stranger needs laboratories and medicines, you would scramble to find means to help them.  When your mom needs something, you would stand in some corner in utter silence unable to do anything.

Are you a bad person?

Who would dare judge you? Knowing you have given so much for an advocacy without anything in return… and here you are, unable to comfort your own mother.

Are you a bad child?

You grew up¬†in a household where you are able to eat and buy anything you wanted. ¬†You knew about your parents’ financial struggles when you were in high school and in your pre-med– that is why you opted to tell them that you won’t go into internship anymore and that you will just go to work in some paging company. ¬†But they didn’t know you in fact finished you pre-med. ¬†And they didn’t know you went through business school. They didn’t know you finished your masters. The didn’t know much about you.

And just like before, you mom doesn’t know anything about you now.

Are you a criminal?  In the process of wanting to help strangers in a highly stigmatized and marginalized community,  have you actually sentenced your mom to death?

I don’t quite know how to end this blog.

I really don’t.

……..

….

..

.

 

 

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January 2017, HIV AIDS REGISTRY OF THE PHILIPPINES

03.12.2017

*Data courtesy of the Epidemiology Bureau of the Department of Health

In January, 2017, highlights were as follows:

844 new cases, an average of 27 per day

  • 36% came from the National Capital Region
  • 18% came from Region 4A
  • 427/844 were 25-39 y.o. population
  • 19 cases were 50 years old and above
  • 90/844 were AIDS cases, more than 10%

806/844 were male

  • 789 of 806 were infected from unprotected sexual contact
  • 245/789 reported bisexual contact
  • 15/789 reported injecting drug use
  • 2/789 were infected from mother to child

Among the youth:

  • Two hundred sixty-one (99%) 15-24 y.o. were infected through sexual contact (27 male-female sex, 161 male-male sex, 73 sex with both males & females), and three (3) through needle sharing among IDU.
  • 51 adolescents aged 10-19 years were reported to HARP. All were infected through sexual contact (9 male-female sex, 28 male-male sex, 14 sex with both males & females).

Overseas foreign worker

  • Sixty-five (65) OFWs were reported in January 2017, comprising 8% of the total newly diagnosed cases.
  • 58 male: 7 female

People who Engage in Transactional Sex

  • 27 cases reported to have accepted payment for sex, 265 of whom are male
  • 38 cases reported to have paid for sex, all male
  • 14 cases engaged in both accepting payment and paying for sex, 11 were male

9 pregnant women

  • 7 of 9 cases were 15-24 years old
  • Since 2011, a total of 158 pregnant cases were reported. More than half (54%) were from the age group 15-24 years old

33 reported deaths

  • 30 (91%) were male and 3 (9%) were female
  • Fifteen (45%) of the reported deaths belong to 25-34 year age group, 10 were 15-24 age group and 8 were adult aged 35-49 years old.
  • All were infected through sexual contact (6 male-female sex, 12 male-male sex, 15 sex with both males & females)

For the full report:  EB_HIV_January-AIDSreg2017

(((Also see the list of recent HIV care providers in the link above)))

 

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tRix on +he floor

02.27.2017

A small fundraising event was staged at the Jeespot Comedy Bar by Trix. Friends from different orgs gathered to support the show: Sustained Health Initiatives of the Philippines – SHIP, Pinoy Plus, The Love Project, REDx and HIV Awareness Campaign Group — leading to the SRO success of the event. A new support group, Bi Plus, was also represented.

trix

The proceeds of the show were given to the positive community to purchase basic meds like azithromycin and fluconazole. In 2016, HASH – HIV & AIDS Support House, Inc released more than 1200 tabs of azithro and more than 500 pcs of Fluconazole.

A “small” fundraising

I saw some posts on social media saying that it’s a small time event, I agree, this is relatively a small fundraising event for such an effort put out by the volunteers and the performers of the show. ¬†I must however salute the effort of everyone who worked hard for the show. We’ve had other bigger fundraising events with so much less effort, but I will never undermine the effort of the guys who worked hard for the show.

So yeah,  kudos to Toshi, Jason and Trix!

 

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That Voice In My Head

02.20.2017

Today was one of those days.

One patient to another.  One case to another.  One report to another.

One file to another. One document to another. One chat after another.

Now I sit in utter silence, staring blankly at my screen,  fingers slightly trembling.

Today was one of those days.  Hectic. Heavy. But empty.

I visited the clinic today.   I had my blood drawn for some blood chem and CD4.  I was told that my latest viral load turned out undetectable.  I was also told that my persistent cough was one of 4 things: allergy,  infection, acid or cancer.

We already ruled out the first two. We’re on acid treatment now. Doc will look at my xray ASAP.

*Silence

Where’s that loud noise in my head? I miss him.

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A Bro+her’s Love

02.03.2017

A couple of weeks ago, your brother sent a message saying “need help”.  It was a typical message we would regularly receive in need of medical assistance.

What hit me was how obvious your brother’s affection is for you.  He did not seem to care about stigma or discrimination. All he wanted was to get meds for you.

We sent the meds through LBC and for a guy, your brother was rather sweet. He sent several messages thanking us. He sent this pic (which I of course cropped).

And just like that, I thought everything was okay. You looked like you were doing okay. At least the pic told me you two were fine. Happy.

A few minutes ago, your brother messaged me saying you’re gone. I wanted to ask him why. How. What happened.

But I can feel his pain. So I held back and extended my condolences.

The pain your brother must feel is so much. The pain of a brother who fought for you, and with you.

The fight is over. You rest as you very well deserve. Your brother, although in pain, will bring with him your memories.

I salute you for giving us a good fight.

I salute your brother. Period.

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December 2016, HIV AIDS REGISTRY OF THE PHILIPPINES

2.2.2017

Here’s the December 2016 Philippine HIV registry as released over the weekend:

eb_hiv_december-aidsreg2016

dec2016-harp

Some highlights were:

  • 750 new HIV infections noted
  • 36% of the cases came from the National Capital Region, 10% came from Region 3
  • 72/750 cases were known to be¬†AIDS¬†cases according to the report
  • 721/750 cases were male
  • 241/721 cases reported bisexual contact
  • 221/750 cases were from the youth sector (15-24y/o) while 20/750 were 50y/o & above
  • 34 cases were noted to be adolescents (10-19 y/o)
  • 3 pregnant women were found to have HIV
  • 53 cases (9%) were overseas foreign workers
  • 66 cases reported to have been engaged in transactional sex; 61/66 cases were male
  • 23/66 accepted payment for sex, 34 paid for sex while 6 cases reported both having paid and having accepted payment
  • 37 reported deaths in December 2016

So, again, please get tested. If you have questions about screening, you may reach various organizations and volunteers out there. Some are:

If you’re on twitter, here are some counselors:

@dvocateHIV @edbusim @tomasito153 @fauxpositif @sutilako @tgp_moshimoyaho @Nak_ng_Tokwa @angelosmith123 @marcy_oculto @micocrisostomo

 

For questions, kindly email HASHCOMMUNITYOPERATIONS@gmail.com

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TosHi shares AJ’s S+ory

01.23.2017

Toshi is a volunteer peer educator from the Manila Social Hygiene Clinic and has been an active community advocate for HIV prevention and treatment. ¬†He recently sent me this story and with his permission, I would like to share a story he wrote about “AJ“.

The story is about AJ, diagnosed in 2015. It tells us about the struggles and issues of AJ as he transitioned from diagnosis to treatment to accepting his status — or has he really?

I think it’s one (just like Mico’s) of the many inspiring stories that highlights a person’s struggles and how he eventually gave back to the community to which ¬†he belongs.

…..AJ was going to be positive on the outside–positive in his mind, positive in his attitude, in his focus, in his whole outlook. He was going to change to being mentally positive!

AJ had made the decision to be positively positive.

AJ was diagnosed in 2015. CD4 then was 31.

His latest CD4 is at 386. He is healthy. He is positively positive. He serves the community.

READ MORE ABOUT THE STORY HERE:

my-positive-friend-toshi

 

 

For questions, kindly email HASHCOMMUNITYOPERATIONS@gmail.com

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Juan Posi+ive Movement

01.17.2017

Juan Posi+ive Movement

A new support group was launched in Angeles City in Pampanga last October, 2016.  They have been around for a few months now and they are an active member of the  Regional AIDS Assistance Team of Region 3.

SERVICE OFFERED

They offer HIV Counseling and referral for Testing in partnership with the rural health unit (RHU) of Angeles. They have an office located near SM Clark:

Co-founders Simon and Wayne are working hard to get the group off the ground and eventually registered with the Security and Exchange Commission.

REGION’S SERVICE DELIVERY NETWORK (SDN)

I have personally accessed the region’s service delivery network and I have seen it in action. ¬†Through the region’s HIV coordinator Joseph¬†Manlutac, ¬†we are able to refer patients for assistance coming from the region. ¬†He has shared a list of (satellite) treatment centers and If I am not mistaken, Region 3 is one of the regions with the most numbers of treatment satellite clinics. ¬†It’s SDN is also able to provide, based on my experience, financial assistance to its positive clients through the region’s DSWD¬†(coordinator is Mr. Armont Pecina) ¬†and blood assistance through the coordinator, Mr. Daniel Mangahas.

Mr. Manlutac remains to be the point person to coordinate to if there is a need to access the service delivery network of region 3.

HIV Testing in Angeles

For HIV test in Angeles, Juan Posi+ive Movement may be contacted through 0917-3068423.

The Region’s Centers

 

There are other new clinics that opened that are not yet in the list, some of which are the ones in Malolos (Bulacan Medical Center – Luntiang Kanlungan), Cabanatuan, Guiguinto Bulacan (Gintong Kanlungan). There’s also one in Iba, Zambales.

 

 

For questions, kindly email HASHCOMMUNITYOPERATIONS@gmail.com

 

 

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(un)Real Advocacy

01.12.2017

They say  advocacy is being able to institutionalize certain protocols or policies into the entire system. Hardcore advocates would Define advocacy as something strictly related to policy lobbying. 

How do we really Define real advocacy?

When a positive comes out and tells his stories to the world? 

When someone goes out of his way to help out patients in need of assistance?

When certain groups advocate for policy changes where new policies to help out the positive community and those affected by the virus?

When you post something about HIV hoping that some people read about it and start talking about it?

When you’re able to convince a friend to take the test?

When you at the end of the world aids day celebration?

It doesn’t matter how other people would Define what you are doing, what matters is you’re able to reach one person out there, save one life and in the process you know to yourself that you were able to do something, or anything,  about the issue.

You know to yourself that you did something and that you did not choose to sit in silence

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