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.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Happy Positiversary!

Happy Positiversary!How time flies. Today is my 1st Positiversary! Three hundred sixty five days since I was told I was HIV-positive. Would you believe that it’s been a year? A year since finding out I’m HIV-positive. A year since my life was thrown into a frenzy. A year since I wondered if I’d even be alive for another year. Almost a year since I started broadcasting my new positive life through my blog.

Thinking back to that very day that I got my test results telling me I was HIV-positive, I remember not being able to do much at work. I was at my desk, but was really more preoccupied with learning what I could about HIV. I’d already heard about HIV since back in high school, but more than the scientific blur that I already knew, I needed to know how it was to actually live with HIV.

I’d gotten to a number of sites that had the information I needed, but none were in the context that I was looking for. They were all sites on living with HIV in other countries – useful somehow, of course. But nothing about the Philippines, where conditions might be different, resources might be different, acceptance might be different, and support might be different. Not knowing anyone personally who was living with HIV in the Philippines, I needed to know if there were any. I needed to read their story. I needed to know how difficult the road ahead of me was going to be. I needed to know how they were living, if there were any living at all.

And so I searched, and searched, and searched, and came up with hardly anything. There were just loads of statistics, and a couple of blogs written by HIV-positive Filipinos who were residing in other countries. Still not what I was looking for. It was then that I decided that I may as well be the first.

Considering that I was choosing to go through my HIV journey without the support of my family and friends, more than half my purpose was that I needed an outlet for sanity’s sake. I needed to speak my mind, regardless of who was listening, but at the same time stay anonymous to keep the paranoia at bay. The rest of me wanted to do it thinking that someday, someone like me might want to know the story of someone living in the Philippines with HIV.

Initially, realizing that I was being read was humbling enough. I don’t know how they stumbled onto my blog, but most of those who started following my story were actually people of other nationalities – some of whom hadn’t even heard of the Philippines before. I acknowledge I’m not exactly the perfect poster boy to put the Philippines on the map. But I think that support was what I needed, coming from people who were already relatively open-minded about HIV. I believe they were the ones who gave me the initial inertia to keep blogging, and keep living.

Eventually, evidenced by the comments being left, more Filipino readers came plopping onto my blog, and some, I think, have been following it religiously. The positive to the negative, male to female, gay to straight, local to those abroad, and from those who were making themselves known to those who chose to remain anonymous. It was then that I realized that everyone was affected by HIV. As in everyone.

Of course, things haven’t all been peachy with blogging. I’ve been criticized before, by the very HIV advocacy groups that should have been making the HIV journey less of a mystery, for being too open about my plight with HIV, as it was allegedly threatening the discretion of others who were living with it. Being told that I was just too new at it to understand the consequences of my actions just went against my natural logic altogether. I never understood why keeping the names of doctors, nurses and treatment hubs secret was helpful to anyone.

By now, I think they’ve realized they won’t scare me away that easily. I can only hope that the passion with which I tell my story has proved to those skeptical HIV-positives that I am no fly-by-night blogger, and that I mean no harm in telling my story. Did they want me to show a more kawawa image of a pusit? I don’t know, and I hope not. By now, their protests have died down, and maybe they’re even wondering why they didn’t think of doing this themselves in the first place.

Almost a year and over a hundred blog entries since I started, Back In The Closet will spin off onto a parallel course, as Positivism.ph adopts this B.I.T.C.H. as one of its resident bloggers. It shouldn’t be any different, just like putting my blog on steroids. Roarrr!

And so a year since it started, my HIV story goes on. It goes on for those who live with HIV. It goes on for those who await their own results. It goes on for those who are thinking of getting tested. It goes on, even for those who are just thinking about taking the risk. It goes on for those who are affected by HIV, which, in reality, is everyone. I remain... Back In The Closet.

14 comments:

danyhael said...

Cheers!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey there... happy pozzary.

I need your advice. I want to donate blood so I can be HIV tested for free. How do I do this?

I want to donate blood every three months. They say it helps clear breakouts. Has there ever been a case where a person got infected with HIV from the needles stuck in your arm during the donation process?

Pardon the ignorance.

rubypurple said...

Happy anniversary to you and your blog! =)

You know I have qualms greeting you since it's like I'm celebrating that you got HIV. But as you've said, we're celebrating because you're still very healthy despite having HIV.

You are the poster boy for HIV! You have a positive mindset and you have a healthy lifestyle! I admire those traits in you. =)

Thanks for sharing your life with us! I hope you will continue to do so in the many years to come. =)

Let's have a party online and celebrate! Love ya hun! *hugs*

E said...

...I'm about to turn 1 as well....grabe! 1 year pa lang pala...feeling ko kasi tagal tagal na, dami mo na na-achive, ma-dami ka na nagawa for advocacy in a span of 1 year...dami mo na din natulungan ay isa nako dun! Thank you so much! Happy Anniv (appropriate ba?)

Sana dumating na yung araw na hindi ka tayong mga HIV positive eh hindi na kelangan mag "back in the closet" lol...

BadPapiNYC said...

Happy Positiversary :)

Your Muy Loco Friend from the East,
GXXX

Turismoboi said...

Happy Positiversary :)

Ryan said...

it's me again! :)

Glad to hear you've been blessed with one fruitful year after being diagnosed HIV-positive--one year of a new life, of sharing your story, and giving hope to others that there is life after HIV. It was just very recently that I started reading your blog, and I hope we get to read more. I wish you good health always!

Anonymous said...

A year of advocacy. What an accoplishment!!! I always look forward to reading your blog. You have done so much for our community.
Thanks for a year of +ism, and more good things to come.
cook

HappySheep said...

Hi! I'm just one of your regular blog readers. I wasn't able to check in on your blog for a couple of weeks and look what I found?! :D Congratulations on your achievements and all the positive developments in your life! I am genuinely happy for you! :) I wasn't able to watch the GMA documentary. I'll certainly look out for the second part. (I can't seem to find the video in GMANews' website) So how does it feel to be changing the world? :) You're just the kind of bitch that humanity needs!

~niftybeans from YM

PinoyPoz said...

Thanks everyone! I actually had the afterthought after writing this, that I could've just entitled it "It's My Positiversary". But come to think of it, I am pretty happy with life in general, and happy as well to have been positive (in all senses of the word) for a year. So, I dare still say, Happy Positiversary!

dreal6cyclemind said...

Happy Positiversary! Cheers PinoyPoz...

BUHAY BAYOT said...

My gayest cheers!

Continue your advocacy and God has plans for you.

;)

Courage Philippines said...

Hi,

I have an entry in my blog about a true confession of an HIV+ Pinoy. He also has a blog. You may want to visit it.

Thanks.

PinoyPoz said...

Thanks Courage Philippines for reminding me of Dr. Elroi. I'd encountered him earlier on during the life of this blog when he left a comment.