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.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Once, Twice, Thrice

ThreeI don’t exactly have a radar for it. But due to some funny, ridiculous, fortunate or unfortunate circumstances, I seem to always be in the right place, at the right time. Once, twice, thrice, it’s happened. Once, twice, thrice, HIV has been in the news repeatedly in the past weeks. Once, twice, thrice, the Filipino masses have been bombarded with thoughts and ideas of HIV and AIDS in the span of just a week.

Once...

Friday, the sixth of March, I just happened to passed by a little news stand on the sidewalk on the way to work. Something caught my eye. "A.I.D.S." in bold letters. AIDS?! In a tabloid headline? Hmm, not really a very common occurrence.

It was on the cover of Tempo, a tabloid, that I spotted the headline. I opted not to buy a copy and search for it online instead. I found it. Entitled "A.I.D.S. Protection", it was an article by Reuters, which told of researchers investigating glycerol monolaurate, or GML, a cheap ingredient used in ice cream, cosmetics and found in breast milk, that helps protect monkeys against infection with a virus similar to AIDS and might work to protect women against the virus.

Ashley Haase and Pat Schlievert of the University of Minnesota, who were heading the team working on the project, added that even if the if it was only 60 percent effective, such a gel containing the ingredient could prevent 2.5 million HIV cases over three years.

I know, I know. I don’t exactly fit into either of the categories of monkeys or women. But I think, the more glaring fact for me is that 60% effectiveness is already considered a success. I’m sort of hoping that people read that as a 40% chance of still getting infected. Now that SHOULD be a risk one should still NOT be willing to take. Anyways, the study is still ongoing, so let’s wait and see how things turn out.

Sadly, Tempo does not keep archives of their past issues on their website, www.tempo.com.ph, so if you want to know more about the article, I’ve saved the content.

Twice...

I think it was Wednesday night that I got home just in time to catch a segment on ABS-CBN’s early evening newscast, TV Patrol World, that talked about the increasing prevalence of HIV among returning Overseas Filipino Workers.

In the segment, they interviewed Mila, who returned to the country with HIV, after being raped repeatedly by her employer. The report goes on to say that in January alone, 20 OFWs have come back to the country HIV-positive, a third of all the diagnoses for the month.

Although the report does say that it will be more challenging for these former-OFWs to job-match locally, it does go on to show an interview with someone from the Department of Labor and Employment, or DOLE, who says they are taking action by approaching Philippine consulates in these countries, as well as supporting these former OFWs by providing skills training and support through the Technical Education Skills Development Authority, or TESDA.

I just hope this doesn’t magnify the thought that HIV is still something foreign. Remember, OFWs accounting for a third of the occurrences for January, only means that two-thirds of the month’s occurrences are local transmissions. Now that should be more alarming.

Thrice...

Yesterday again, Friday the 13th, the acronym HIV caught my eye at the news stand on the way to work. I honestly said to myself Ano na naman? It said something like "HIV CARRIER BUMULAGANG BAN..." I couldn’t make out the rest of the headline because another tabloid was covering it. I just took note of the particular tabloid from which I read it, and continued my trek to the office.

Finding it online, Abante Tonite turned out to have "HIV CARRIER BUMULAGANG BANGKAY". Geesh, who was it? Was it someone I knew? But all my excitement got doused when I read that it was an African who was found dead in his residence in Makati. Apparently, upon being asked, a friend of the victim could not confirm if HIV was the cause of death. Of course! How many times must I say that no one dies of HIV?!

HIV was really not worthy to be headlined in this case, as it just seemed to be a pathetic attempt to scandalize the situation. Very tabloidish, in the Philippine sense of the word. Read the whole story on www.abante-tonite.com.

Once, twice, thrice. Once, twice, thrice in a week that HIV has been in the news is a really amazing thing. Pathetic at times, but still amazing. If anything, the least this rare occurrence could do is get Filipinos talking about HIV and AIDS. If they aim to flesh out the true learnings in these news items, then better. But in the plain aim of awareness, might it be a case of any publicity being good publicity? Heaven knows.

2 comments:

rubypurple said...

at least the media is taking notice... let's just hope for responsible journalism.

miss you hun! ^^

PinoyPoz said...

true true true! miss ya too!