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.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Emergency

EmergencyI know I said I wasn’t excited to watch what they came up with, and I maintain that I was not. But I just needed to watch how GMA7’s television show, Emergency, treated the story on Baby Nathan and his family, mostly to critique it. I was hoping that maybe somehow it was a case of the end not justifying the means.

So I stayed up Friday night waiting for it after their late evening newscast Saksi. My wait stretched till past midnight, which is when the newscast ended. The hosts of Saksi let out a teaser for the following show, mentioning a one-year old kid who was HIV positive. This is it.

Emergency started with a run down of their stories. The first would be a feature on the feast of Santo Niño in Tondo, and the second was actually a feature on transmission of sexually-transmitted diseases through modes other than sex. Bingo! That’s the story I was waiting for.

While the Santo Niño story was running, I was actually switching back and forth between that and Project Runway on ETC. I was really at a point where I was fighting my ARVs to stay up, until finally, at around 1:00 am, my semi-consciousness and half-shut eyes managed to catch the end of the Santo Niño thing. A commercial break later, the segment started.

The first part involved a guy who claimed he got an STD from borrowing a friend’s pair of briefs. A doctor checked him and diagnosed it to be gonorrhea. Upon further investigation, the doctor was able to figure out the source. I apologize, but I just found it funny how the guy failed to take into consideration that he had unprotected sex with a number of girls prior to his tulo incident.

A couple of doctors were interviewed explaining the possible routes of transmission of STDs. And one of them was our doctor at the RITM, Dra. Ditangco herself!

The next part showed Paulo, the one-year old kid, who had HIV. Of course it was our Baby Nathan! I was pleased to see that they were able to protect the identities of Baby Nathan and his family for the whole segment, showing just body shots and half faces. And, oh my! He’s really improved even more since I last saw him. It was also wonderful to see Baby Nathan squirming in his Mom’s lap during one shot, which tells me he’s doing well.

The Mom told the story about choosing to go on with her pregnancy despite being told that the Baby could be born with HIV. The Dad also relayed how the Baby got breastfed, not knowing that it was another possible route for infection.

The worst part about the segment was when the voiceover said that HIV was destroying the Baby’s body and that the virus was causing his body to deteriorate. It wasn’t so badly said, but would’ve been more proper if explained that HIV was not doing the damage itself, but only leaving the body more susceptible to infections that cause conditions such as diarrhea, which was what actually caused the loss of body mass. Again, the Baby’s condition was made to look tragic, when the reality is that he’s actually now recovering, and can eventually get his old strength back, or maybe get even better than before.

The last part of the segment just drove their misleading point across. Here, Jun, a nurse, contracted HIV from an accidental needle prick while in his occupational environment. They went on to say that he is now unable to work, and instead is now on medication with ARVs.

Hmm, looking at the footage, he wasn’t bedridden, weak or anything near that, not to be able to work. Maybe they should’ve pointed out that working in hospitals, in particular, would be a bad idea for people with HIV, because of the infections we are more susceptible to. Maybe that’s the real reason he had to stop working as a nurse. But otherwise, he could find a job in another field. I believe it should’ve been mentioned that he is still capable of working, despite the ARVs and despite the HIV. Take me for example, right?

Anyways, with all that said, the segment was over in less than 10 minutes. Again, a bit pitiful, but sadly expected.

I turned the television off and headed for bed, left with the thought that maybe the Health Department or some authority should take on the task of monitoring, looking through and verifying all documentaries and stories about HIV and AIDS, so as to prevent random discharges of wrongly-worded and misleading information such as this. Anyways, it was just my last ditch effort of a brilliant idea before fading off and meeting the sandman. Zzz.

Again, awareness is the key, but it would be much better if the public is armed with the truthful and proper information. Now that, I believe, is the real Emergency.

18 comments:

BLACKPOOL said...

once again very well said... i hope whoever from the networks who are following this blog will see things in a different manner and someday sometime produce realistic and well researched, sensible documentary segments for the people to get the right information. i am praying too that they will feature non discrimination or non creation of stigmas for the hiv community.

E said...

actually i know a couple of nurses and a doctor who is currently working in a hospital and they are hiv positive.

gma news fabricates drama to make their show more appealing without taking consideration that they might be giving out wrong information....

so whats the difference between NEWS and DRAMA my dear segment producers and researchers of GMA7?

FYI: i still love EAT BULAGA

BLACKPOOL said...

HAHAHAHAAHAHH ano ba yan E hahahaha

well anyway if not for my friend who is in GMA wala na talaga... I trust this friend of mine and he is now continually monitoring this blogsite.

Julius said...

hope i can watch the program and have a say on my own. wala naman sigurong simpleng diarrhea na nakakamatay kung wala kang hiv.

i read same post by e and you have almost the same stand.

if i found out that there are medical professionals who have hiv and still practice their field, i will never give them chance to treat me not unless kung pos na rin ako.

pasensya, pero ito ang gusto kong sabihin....

FYI: but i am learning from you guys which i think the best tool to...

graçon a part said...

Well, I wouldn't be surprised. These are the same idiots who refer to Hamas as a militant group and insist that Willy Wang won an Olympic gold medal, when Wushu isn't even an Olympic event.

PinoyPoz said...

wow, Julius. if that isn't stigma and discrimination, i don't know what is. anyways, yun na, i'm dumbfounded.

BLACKPOOL said...

From Julius

"if i found out that there are medical professionals who have hiv and still practice their field, i will never give them chance to treat me not unless kung pos na rin ako."

********************************

Im just wondering if in case this happens how will you find out if the one attending to you is POS?


hmmmmmmmm i dont mean to dispute but lets keep away from discrimination.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, I heard of a nurse with a blister. Scary huh? Wouldn't want to get anywhere near her ...

Actually I know several nurses who are pos and one doc and I'm sure there are others. More credit to them - they do stand a greater risk of contracting something from in the hospital than a non immunocompromised practitioner, yet they still choose to save lives and heal.

Julius, I'm curious why you would feel this way? Wow! Any views on short people or fat people or race, or ...?

And the GMA thing wasn't as bad as I feared it might be. Oh well ... let's keep up the good work.

Julius said...

i am not discriminating guys...

napanood ko na ang episode sa pinoy channel and GMA Pinoy TV and i find it fair and straight.

bitch, di ko sinasadya... but just want you to know na nabasa ko na ang POSITIVISM.ph and i keep on following your blog including e. lots of things learned and yet im still paranoid.

E said...

wow julius, i never saw that coming from you....

And because of that kung ikaw na lang ka-huli huliang tao sa mundo na pwede kong kausapin magpapakamatay na lang ako.....

I don't want to be associated with people posing to understand what HIV is like and wanting to be a part of an advocacy but deep down pinandidirihan at kinakatakutan pala ako. buti pa yung mga kupal na outright nila sinasabi na haters sila--at least di dalawa balat nila


pasensya na din at yun lang ang gusto ko sabihin..

Anonymous said...

can we settle this once and for all and educate ourselves. we have internet at our disposal. research. here's an article julius:
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – The case of an HIV-infected heart surgeon in Israel reinforces the message that the risk of transmitting HIV -- the virus that causes AIDS -- from surgeon to patient is very low, according to an article in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a publication of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

here's the link:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090108/hl_nm/us_hiv;_ylt=AkMQNc9cN0F0K1_F5dNoYhWWSbYF

we should not let our emotions get the best of us. we are having good discussion on valid points of views. it is in the best interest of many to show different opinions whether we agree to it or not. this kind of intelligent discussions bring about awareness.
peace,
cook

Anonymous said...

here's the full text julius. READ!!!
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – The case of an HIV-infected heart surgeon in Israel reinforces the message that the risk of transmitting HIV -- the virus that causes AIDS -- from surgeon to patient is very low, according to an article in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a publication of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the report, HIV testing was performed on 545 former surgery patients who were operated on in the previous decade. All of them tested negative for infection.

These findings are consistent with previous reports indicating a very low risk of surgeon-to-patient HIV transmission, the report states.

This report and others should motivate public health groups to update their guidelines for medical centers in which a worker, found to be infected with HIV, is performing invasive procedures, the authors of the report conclude.

In this case, the surgeon, who had been in practice for two decades and performed roughly 150 operations annually, was diagnosed with HIV infection in January 2007 during a work-up for fever of recent onset, Dr. M. J. Schwaber, from the Israel Ministry of Health, and colleagues report.

When the Ministry of Health was informed of the diagnosis, they instructed hospitals in which the doctor worked to offer HIV testing to all patients operated on by the surgeon since 1997. Of the 1669 patients identified, 545 were available and agreed to take the HIV test.

An expert panel convened by the Ministry of Health recommended that the surgeon be permitted to return to work with no restrictions. Moreover, the surgeon should not be required to disclose the HIV status to prospective patients, provided that adherence to a number of infection control measures is maintained.

SOURCE: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, January 8, 2009.

hope this help you understand.
cook

Anonymous said...

Even heterosexual transmission of HIV isn't really based on a solid foundation.

Nancy Padian (search: Padian Study) states;
"That we witnessed no HIV transmissions after the intervention documents the success of the interventions in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV"

"Nevertheless, the absence of seroincident infection over the course of the study cannot be entirely attributed to significant behavior change. No transmission occured among the 25 percent of couples who did not use condoms consistently at their last follow-up nor among the 47 couples who intermittently practiced unsafe sex during the entire duration of follow-up" (Padian, pg 356.)

Francois

Yffar (^^,) said...

kapatid... i'll be changing my domain name.. www.rainbowhalohalo.tk instead of rainbowhalohalo.blogspot.com. pabago na lang po.. add kita ulit sa blog roll ko kasi nagbago ako ng lay out kaya nawala mga blog lists ko..

ano email add mo para kunin kitang author ng Rainbow bloggers..

Elyong said...

Let’s not overreact with what Julius had said. The situation Julius gave was specific; both are more susceptible to illnesses, an HIV positive doctor treating a sick person. Siguro naman hindi siya paranoid in other situations.

~yAnaH~ said...

i dont know if i should put this comment here or in julius' blog, nways i know he'll be able to read this...

kuya julius, u said, youve been following positivism as well as E ang B.I.T.C.H's blog and that youre learning a lot from it... if youre really learning, how can you be insensitive with what you just said? i mean, if youre truly learning, i dont think there's still room for paranoia.. just think about it... if youre sick in a hospital, would you go to the extent of asking every nurse or doctor who will attend to you just to know if they're HIV positive or not just to make sure you wont be attended by positives?

hmmmm i didnt expect to read something like this from you...

Anonymous said...

Educating the misinformed masses in the Philippines is a daunting task, i wish you luck.
And contrary to what people think, HIV carriers can thrive, with the proper medication. One of my patients has gained 40 pounds, and he has HIV and hepatitis B.

Anonymous said...

Julius said...
hope i can watch the program and have a say on my own. wala naman sigurong simpleng diarrhea na nakakamatay kung wala kang hiv.

...

ever heard of cholera julius? typhoid fever?

why are people constantly brandishing their ignorance? i simply don't get it.

jonathan