Yes, I'm gay. I probably was since the day I was born. On my 21st birthday, I sort of had my debut. I came out to my parents. A little drama from mom, and some indifference from dad. An above-average coming out. Almost perfect.

Nine years later, two weeks before my 30th birthday, I found out... I'M HIV POSITIVE.

And so my story begins... I'm BACK IN THE CLOSET.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Another Angel has brought me another angel. Let’s call him U. I’ve been bitching a bit about how few Filipinos there are on, and how few of those few seem to be active. So several weeks ago, I just dropped by the site, and picked out a few to whom I sent some messages. I sent pretty much the same to each. I think I sent maybe four or five. I just said a simple “Hello” and asked if they were open to being friends.

A week passed, no word. Until I got a response from one guy. One of those simple faceless profiles that others might just brush off. But I would not be that choosy. Let’s call him… U.

U and I exchanged a few messages, after which we traded messenger IDs. We finally got the chance to chat, after which we graduated on to talking over the phone. We interrogated each other, discovering we lived in the same city. U admitted he wasn’t working, having to resign due to the stress at work which was affecting his health. It reminded me of C, who I’d also met thru We then came to the HIV part of the introduction.

Interesting how he found out he was HIV positive. He was already in a relationship with someone when they decided to get tested together. He says he’d only had unprotected sex a couple of times before. His boyfriend’s results came out the next day, while his took a couple of weeks. I admitted I knew that feeling. So there it was, U was poz, while his boyfriend was negative. A tragedy probably more shocking than my incident with my Mojo. U had mentioned that their mixed serostatus had forced them to shift their relationship towards companionship. But really, the best part of the story was that they’re still together as we speak. I admit, that gave me hope for my own relationship destiny. With a bit of envy, of course. Hehehe.

So anyways, we got to figuring out how far on the HIV path the other was. Apparently, he was further along, already being on ARVs since last year. We even compared CD4 counts, mine being 343, was lower than his current 350+. Almost the same. He was registered at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Alabang, but had also been to the San Lazaro Hospital once before.

He was repeatedly expressing concern about the fact that I was still not on ARVs, despite being advised to. I expressed my concern, which he understood. But still he emphasized how important it was to start fighting the infection as early as possible, which I understood.

Apparently he had been through a similar situation, where he was putting off getting started on medication, needing to concentrate on his career. Until the time came that his health was noticeably declining, then he really needed to start on ARVs. As such, his wise words for me were, “as soon as possible”.

Our relationship is in the building stage, we had spent a number of nights on the phone together sharing stories and information, and have even managed to meet this last weekend to catch a movie together. He was a good looking guy, very decent and presentable. Cute actually. A bit on the serious side. But it was nice. Comfortable.

We caught a screening of “The Dark Night” and enjoyed every minute of that evening. I did, at least. I felt we could’ve spent even more hours chatting the night away, like dogs being let loose to play. But of course, being that we were both immunally-challenged, we needed to head on home to get some much needed rest.

We walked across to where he could get a ride, and talked some more, letting more than a handful of jeepneys pass us by. He asked me if I was hungry, which I was not, it being that I’d usually be asleep by that time. It was a bit of an awkward time, I wasn’t sure if he was waiting for me to invite him over to my place or what, but obviously I had given it some thought. Hehehe.

He finally grabbed a ride around midnight, and I started walking home. I was already thankful for the time and sympathy that U had given me, but it was relieving enough that I had received a text message from him when I got home. This was not to be just a one-night-stand. And the fact that we still hung out over the phone the nights following that meeting tells me there will be much, much more to look forward to from us. I like U.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Buzz!

the buzzIt’s been almost three months since I started this blog. I admit I’m not blogging as often as before, but probably because I’d been dealing with blow after blow of new discoveries, new issues, new problems, and new learnings, especially back in May. My learning curve has tapered off a bit by this time, but I know more is to come.

I was so shocked when I received my first comment from you guys on this blog. I never thought I’d get any feedback, let alone any readers. At this point, three months after, I probably have almost every sort of reader I could get. Every kind of person, from the poz and the not, from in and around the Philippines to beyond our humble shores, and from guys I’ve actually had the chance to meet to those who chose to peep from behind anonymity.

Initially blogging seemed to be a one way thing, where I bombard you with my information, and stuff it all down your gut. But it has evolved into more. So much in fact, that the online interactions I’ve made here have needed to break through the confines of the blogging world, and have spun off onto the e-mail, sms and instant messaging networks.

So this is for those who want to get in touch with me through IM. I’ve put a widget on my sidebar which will show if I’m online on Yahoo! Messenger or not. I tested it out a bit before finally putting it up, and so far it works fine.

Right now, I am .

I realize it’s pretty ironic for me to be treading the line that separates anonymity from notoriety, but I’m taking the risk of outing myself to maybe be of assistance to others who need support, sympathy, knowledge, or maybe even just entertainment.

I know at times I’ve been doubted, contradicted and maybe even dissed, but I’m just thankful for the time that’s been taken to hear my little story. Because in spite of that, I value most the sympathy and support that I get from you guys… it’s absolutely overwhelming. So if you wanna get in touch with me for anything… anything at all… just drop me a Buzz!

Three months doesn’t sound like much, but it’s been 90 days of introspection and being thankful for everything good I have. This blog has made my life a bit easier to live. So actually, more than being 90 days of keeping this blog alive, it’s more like this blog has been keeping me alive.


Monday, July 21, 2008

My Virgin

da coconut nutAnother week has passed. I’m still not on medication. Time has flown so fast. I just realized that it’s been a month and a half since I was last at the H4 Ward of the San Lazaro Hospital. A month and a half since I found out my CD4 count. A month and a half since I was recommended to start on ARVs.

For now, I’m trying to go on with the other parts of my life. Work. Family. Friends. Life. All that, while trying to stay healthy. I’ve been doing pretty well, considering it’s the rainy season. No major ailments. No fever. No flu. I’ve been taking my multivitamins regularly. And something else. A virgin is helping me out.

Now before you wonder, I’m talking about Virgin Coconut Oil, or VCO. An uncle of mine gave us a bottle of it last Christmas. I had no idea what to do with it, so it had been sitting on a shelf since December. Until last month, that is.

I had stumbled onto articles online about the anti-AIDS benefits of virgin coconut oil. They repeatedly refer to a Filipino doctor, Dr. Conrado Dayrit, father of former Philippine Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit, who investigated how a component of VCO, Lauric Acid, could inhibit, delay and reduce the spread of HIV. I’m not really sure what further studies are being done to this day, but there is little noise being made on the possibilities of this seemingly innocent fruit.

I remember what Maestro Ryan Cayabyab said in his song, Da Coconut Nut: there are so many uses of the coconut tree indeed. Considering this country I live in is a paradise of coconut groves, it should be reasonable to expect more studies to be done.

Although these are still just studies being done, and there seem to be no conclusive results and no therapeutic claims, I’ll take my chances. I would have loved to be a guinea pig for studies like this. I would love to be an instrument towards discovering a cure for the rest of those like me.

I can only hope that VCO could indeed fight, if not totally wipe out HIV. No harm in trying. Who would’ve thought I’d need help from a virgin?


Monday, July 14, 2008

Movie Review

It’s been a good week. No biggie. Nothing extremely good, nothing extremely bad. When the weekend came, no real plans. A former buddy of mine sent me a message inviting to have “fun”, but of course I had to decline, under the alibi of “dating somebody”. I find that excuse to be most effective for me right now. I cannot just tell them that sex, orgies and slutting isn’t my thing. That would be the surprise of the century. There would have to be some reason for me to mellow down this much. And there is a reason, and you guys know it. It’s just not that easy a reason to blurt out.

Saturday morning, I got a text message asking if I’d like to go watch a movie that afternoon. It was someone I had encountered online, but never met before. A movie? Innocent enough, right? It would be overly assuming of me to think this was more than just a movie. So I agreed. He even told me he’d invite another guy along, which to me, made it much safer and easier to get away from, should anything more happen.

So I left the house braving the rains and got to Greenhills just on time. We met. He looked good. We needed to walk right into the movie, so we didn’t have much time to talk before that. Not much talk inside either, as we seemingly concentrated on the movie. Silence. But it was comfortable. There was only one incident of attempted physical contact inside, when he put his hand on my knee in the latter part of the movie. It was a bit unexpected, I wasn’t sure if he was being cheeky. Not that I didn’t like it.

We walked out when it ended, and he asked that I accompany him to the mall to buy something. Sure. I had nothing against it. At least I wasn’t just sent off, right? He asked if I had plans that evening, to which I said no. Then he told me he wanted to see the other movie that was also showing. I didn’t get it right away, but he wanted to see it that evening too. Hmm, two movies in one night. Well, it’s been a while since I’d watched one movie at the cinemas, let alone two. So, I agreed. And on we went.

Still no talking. Probably because it was another good movie. But the previous attempt of his hand on my thigh went… further. He caressed my knee again, held my hand, and kissed it. I didn’t know a proper way to stop it. I’ve never needed to. Needless to say, groping in movie houses is improper. And needless to say, we were improper.

Ok, so it didn’t go much further, which is a big WHEW for me. We grabbed some coffee after the movie, and he dropped me off near where I live. The evening was good. I admit it made my weekend. But walking home, I realized that I was in a dilemma.

I know I have HIV. And I will tell some people eventually. But I maintain that this should be on a need-to-know basis. So who needs to know? People I had encounters with before, people I trust and people who deserve to know. It seems, definitely, new acquaintances do not need to know, unless we’ve built up enough of a friendship to deem them to need to know. But when the time comes that we’ve built enough of a friendship, it’s much, much harder to reveal my secret. Questions as to why I didn’t tell them before will come up. Especially if by that time, we’d gotten into compromising situations. I realize it’s easier to tell a complete stranger. Should I immediately assume that anyone I’m about to meet will want to get frisky with me? Should having HIV be a premise to the person I introduce myself to be?

So that’s my dilemma. It’s like trying to figure out whether the chicken or the egg should come first. I don’t have ready answers to my questions. One additional thing I’ll have to figure out. Soon. I never imagined watching a movie could be this problematic. Sigh.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008


panic buttonWhat is it about me? I’m trying so hard to be inconspicuous, but I’m like a flame to insects. Male insects at that. This does not help my cause. At all.

It seems to be a regular thing in my life. I get stared at, get signalled, get second looked, get smiled at, get talked to, get followed, get stalked. Everywhere. On the street, at the mall, at hotels, in restaurants, at work, in public restrooms, even at church.

Just this morning, I was riding innocently on the public bus on my way to work. And then I noticed this one guy seated several rows in front of me. He kept looking back, seemingly trying to make eye contact. And then he started moving. Usually, people would shift seats moving closer to the door as they approached their destination... to make it easier to get off, right? Be he was moving back, towards where I was seated. Good thing there was a woman with two kids sitting behind me. She must’ve helped stop his evil plans.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a panic moment on the way home from work. I was innocently walking home from the bus stop, with my usual quick stride. Then when I overtook another guy walking in front of me, I heard him say something like “Are you in a hurry?” At that point, I panicked. I was pretty sure it was me he was talking to. Who else would it be? I just kept walking. Then he said in a louder tone of voice, “Why are you in such a hurry?” I never looked back. Not until I was in front of the gate, and in the safe zone of our house.

So what is it about me? I’m hardly good looking.

In a country where all the beautiful people get facials and down their daily dose of glutathione to stay fair, I’m the typical Pinoy, son of the sun, tanned whether I like it or not. I just take baths and wash my face with soap. Nothing more.

I do not go to salons and have my hair “styled”. No gel, no mousse, no wax. I go to a barbershop and have my hair cut. I’ve needed to resort to a semi-kalbo look, literally semi-bald, to prepare myself for my destiny of a receding hairline and thinning hair. Okay, I’ll admit I do occasionally go for what’s called a hair spa, but only because I get a free body massage from my hot barber. Yum.

I do not go to extra lengths to dress up. I do not wear my collar up. I do not wear skinny jeans. I do not ride with the elf-shoe fashion. I do not layer clothes. Put me in a plain old shirt, shorts and flip flops any day.

I’m skinny. I do not work out. I am not gym fit. I have abs, but not by choice. I sweat a lot. I have thick lips. I need my teeth whitened.

So what is it anyway? It’s something, I don’t know what.

What sort of impression do strangers get from me? Is there something about me that says “I’m gay”? Do I give off some sort of man-to-man pheromone? Do I look horny? Or slutty? Do I look like a good lay? Or do I look easy to get?



Thursday, July 03, 2008

Close Encounter

ETA Monday night out?! It’s the first working day of the week. Very unlike me. This Monday was different. Not for a date, not even for sex.

I had finally gotten some use out of my account. Prior to this, I had my profile up in the personals, but not much replies from the other Pinoys there. I encountered C on the site.

C and I exchanged e-mails and contact numbers, and agreed to meet Monday night. I have no idea where my fear, paranoia and shyness went at that time. I jumped right in. He said he’d be in the Ortigas area, where I work, so we could meet there. So C and I met. We clicked right away, just while walking to find a place to eat. Living with HIV just gave us so much to talk about. We settled into a table at McDonalds for dinner.

At 36, he’d been living with HIV for 5 years now. He’s on ARVs, and is doing ok. Although he did have to resign from his previous job because of the stress. I wasn’t sure if the stress had affected his health or not. But he’s in the process of applying for a new job now, which is always good.

My two and a half months being poz is nothing compared to his 5 years, and I knew I had much to learn from him. Some of the things were affirmations of what I thought. Others were totally new to me.

He shared with me how he was diagnosed in the Middle East, and even jailed for a year for being HIV positive. I could not help but realize how lucky I was to be here in the Philippines.

He told me about Pinoy Plus, which according to him is a non-government organization which serves as a support group for PLWHAs. He offered to take me there one of these days when I was ready to meet people and had some free time.

He told me to watch out for depression, and explained to me how my acceptance was not the end of depression phase. He recounted how he has been through several cycles of depression and acceptance, noticeably triggered by some unfortunate day to day events or situations.

I complained to him about the doctors practically “requiring” me to have my family with me when I go for my ARVs, and he told me to take my time telling the family, to seriously consider and limit the persons who need to know, and to just settle for the support of friends if telling the family was too big a hurdle towards my ARV medications. It was a relief to receive that affirmation.

We talked about the H4 ward at the San Lazaro Hospital, as well as the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, or RITM, an alternative venue to the H4 located in Alabang, where he is registered. C explained that whereas it’s free at the H4 ward at the San Lazaro Hospital since it is a government hospital (I wasn’t exactly sure whether everything was free or just services or accommodations or what), at the RITM, discounts of 75% are apparently given to HIV patients.

What interested me most, was the information he shared with me regarding benefits available to people living with HIV in the Philippines. Regarding Pag-ibig benefits, or the Home Development Mutual Fund, he said something like it is an option for people like us to retire and withdraw all accumulated contributions to one’s name. Even better for the Social Security System, apparently, SSS members infected with HIV may opt to file for disability and qualify for a monthly pension. Something he is able to count on while he is unemployed. Very interesting. He warned, though, that filing for disability while I am employed or still connected with my employer may as well mean I’ll be coming out of my closet whether I like it or not. He says it would be more advisable to file when one is no longer connected to any employer. It made sense. He didn’t mention anything about Philhealth, or the Philippine Health Insurance Company, but I’m guessing they have to have something for us as well. This was all good news for me, to know that there are these opportunities for people like me. It might make the future less daunting. But I’ll do more research on it and tell you more.

We ended the evening walking towards the bus stop and going our separate ways on different bus routes. But everything was good. We bid goodbye with hopes of keeping in touch and meeting again.

All that, and more, left me with so much learnings. It was exciting. I was truly fortunate to have encountered and met C. I realized there were so many facets to this “new life” of mine. Much, much more to learn for sure. I’m up for it.


Tuesday, July 01, 2008


AlertI’ve been on heightened health alert since Sunday. Yes, health. I had to take careful note of what I’ve been feeling. Some supposedly usual things for anyone, but possibly alarming for someone with HIV.

Hello, rainy season. The weather finally got to me. I got the sniffles over the weekend. A bit unusual for me. I mean I do usually have a stuffy nose waking up in the morning, but I’ve been sneezing, sniffing and snorting since Sunday.

I’ve noticed ever since that I don’t catch colds that easily but when I do, I don’t get well easily. I don’t know if things will be worse now that I have HIV. So when I caught a cold this weekend, I took notice. No fever, though, which is good. And I’m still up and about.

I’m not medicating, just taking a lot of water, resting more and staying warm. I’m feeling a bit better now. Still a bit of phlegm in the mornings especially, the hard and sticky kind. Fortunately, the color still seems normal, and I’m able to expel it somehow, by blowing my nose. An interesting fact, I do not know how to spit. I know. Weird. So I have to resort to blowing my nose in situations like these.

Add to that, diarrhea. Just soft stool. I still had my bowel movement in control, and was still able to work yesterday. But definitely something I should be looking out for. By yesterday night, my stool was forming more, so I don’t think this is anything bad. I’m suspecting the creamy pasta I ate for lunch and dinner. My tummy doesn’t do too well with cream. Good thing I ate the last of it yesterday night. By this morning, I felt much better.

Not for long. The scrambled eggs I found on the table for breakfast… were bad. I’m not sure how much of it I had ingested, but when I realized it tasted funny, off to the trash I went. I can’t readily complain to my mom that she should be more careful that the food doesn’t spoil. Of course she doesn’t know yet that I have HIV or how bad it can be for people like me. It’s just a bit frustrating because, well, no one should eat spoilt food. Oh well, another lesson learned, to be more careful next time.

So there. Not a very good end to the first half of the year. Still manageable for now. But if it was any worse, I’d be on my way to the San Lazaro Hospital in a jiffy. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.