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.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Need To Be Needy

The Needy PusitFor what’s been almost a year of knowing that I’m HIV positive, I’ve managed to convince myself that I still am capable of living a productive life. And though most of the other pozzies that I know continue living productively as well, I can’t deny the glaring few who I’ve met or heard of that just seem like they’re wallowing in Needy-Ville. Thus, I tend to reassess and question myself. Should I be needier because I’m HIV-positive?

Of the first few pusits I'd encountered, a couple of them did mention about the option of applying for disability from the Social Security System, should the need arise. I was honestly a bit distressed at the suggestion, wondering if that was inevitably where all HIV-positive people would end up – needing to file for disability. In retrospect, I just don’t think it’s one of the first things someone would want to hear upon finding out he is HIV-positive. It will just tend to paint such a grim picture of things to come – a grim picture that just isn’t necessarily the case.

And then there’s the so-called HIV support group that organizes videoke sessions, supposedly to give HIV-positives opportunities to bond. As is, it seems noble. But hearing that they give each person PhP 200.00 or 300.00 as transportation allowance, I just thought it was outrageous. That would be enough to get me to and from Pampanga. And considering that most would just be coming from around the metro, PhP 200.00 or 300.00 just sounded extreme – and a tad belittling. Not to mention a waste of their funds – money provided by external funding – that could be used for more worthy and productive causes than just videoke sessions. Am I wrong?

Okay, fine, maybe there are some HIV-positives that do need the money. But I was particularly pissed off to hear that the reason why Baby Nathan’s mom was never there every time I visited them at the RITM was because she needed to attend the videoke sessions – just so they didn’t miss out on the chance to get the allowance. Hmm. If you really wanted to help this family, maybe you should’ve just given them the money, right? Or maybe you could’ve been the ones to go visit them at the RITM, rather than have her leave her child and her husband for videoke sessions with you? Just a suggestion.

And then there was the time that I was trying to get Baby Nathan’s parents jobs. It would’ve been perfect because they could both be working in the metro, convenient for check-ups and med refills at the RITM, and instantly turning them into a double income family capable of supporting themselves. But then someone from the so-called HIV support groups advised them to apply for support from social welfare instead, which required them to go back to the province. Sure, I tried my best to help them while they waited for approval of the livelihood support. Apparently, whoever advised them to apply for it failed to take into account the fact that it could take more than a month for the support to get approval, leaving them void of any income to support their daily needs.

And even when the support from social welfare came through, I was a bit surprised that they were still asking for help from me. Apparently, they didn’t want to take from the livelihood fund to support their daily needs, as this might disappoint whoever advised them to apply for the support. Disappoint who? Why was this person still part of the equation? Wasn’t this money meant to provide them livelihood precisely in order to support their daily needs? Hmm.

I’ll admit that I did need to step back from helping them out, because the ultimate goal would be for them to become self-supporting. I just figured the best way to help them is to get them to help themselves. I just pray constantly that they’re doing okay.

And then it was during one of my kwentuhans with my psychology students that one of them mentioned how thinking about their interview with the so-called HIV support group made her weak. I wondered why. Apparently, they were being charged – yes, charged – PhP 500.00 for each pusit from the HIV-support group who participated in the interview. Wow, for just a couple of hours talking, that’s higher that what minimum wage earners make in a day.

Honestly, I was shocked. It made me weak, too. I felt ashamed. I felt embarrassed. These were students, for heaven’s sake. Was it really necessary to charge them for an interview? Isn’t the funding you’re getting enough? Should we not be thankful that these students are coming forward, eager to listen to our story? Isn’t awareness part of your advocacy? I just thought you could’ve taken this on as part of your advocacy.

So far, it seems most of this encouraged neediness is coming from one of the so-called HIV support groups. It makes me wonder if this was the reason why they were irked by some of us poz bloggers who were telling our not-so-tragic story. Hmm. And with their observation, that it is we – the allegedly less indigent – who have not been signing up and actively participating in their so-called HIV support group, could it be they themselves who are fostering the self-impression of being needy and underprivileged? Hmm.

So to answer my question, no, I need not be needy just because I am HIV-positive. Granted, I appreciate the medical support that I am getting, but I would like to think I’m giving back by continuing to be productive, and not being a burden on society. I refuse to be a kawawang pusit.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Right on! I totally agree! You don't have to be needy just because you're a poz. Even if you are indigent, there is no reason for you to burden others with your medical condition simply because there is funding for the meds and labs too. I believe being needy is a way of life. And unless people do something about it, they will remain in that state forever.

i salute your positivism!

-iamafan!-

G said...

haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay...

yun lang mashe-share ko.

PinoyPoz said...

hmmm, lalim ng buntung-hininga na yan ha...

Anonymous said...

I ought to be slapped for saying this but the circumstances you narrated? Change "poz" to "pov" or any applicable cause involving needy people and the story would sound the same. "Pozzines" does not descend with a veil of sanctity provided. Transgressions to "poz" sensibilities are just plain transgressions. Trampling over common sense, pride and what's true, good and beautiful in each of us.

The "pozze" should be thankful they do not suffer from more stigmatized and less understood although less life-threatening conditions such as bipolar disorder. I'm a "bi" and for us, there is no deadline, no final destination. We're doomed to live our whole lives in wild celebration or quiet indignity. Either way we suffer, and in between we don't belong. All because people aren't educated, and bunch of loons aren't exactly the right people to go out and educate or advocate. You can do your own fighting. We can only group hug. People who love us would rather hide the skeletons in camphored closets. It will be cruelty to ask them to advocate for us.

Isang extra-lalim na buntong-hininga... specially because I lead a very productive mainstream life and do not have the energy to challenge mindsets.

Super lalim na buntong hininga if I test poz. LOL.

PinoyPoz said...

Ok fine, panalo ka na... hehehe. Power hug!

Anonymous said...

Power hug with a noisy mwah!

PinoyPoz said...

Abaaaa, preskong bata ito ah... I'm sorry, I don't kiss strangers... Hmp... BJ lang... Hahahaha!

I'm kidding! :-D MWAAAAAAAH!

Anonymous said...

Nyahahaha... and I'm no bata. I'm older than Francis M and Aga A, and about the same age as Shawie and Richard... I was almost not qualified anymore to dance "Just got lucky"... Old enough to catch the last dying days of Coco Banana, and the wormy Bath House when it was still along Roxas Blvd. But I never got sucked into the the promiscuous Miss Piggy lifestyle... and the trips to the Bath House were exercises in narcissism... so... I'm still alive but I've been wanting to have myself H-tested for the longest time already... I've been monagamous (sex with him only and usually once a week lang but I've never asked him about his hetero affairs although I know about the two kids with two different moms) with a straight guy for ten years na... but you can never can tell says Ai-Ai... and let's not quarrel about whether he's really straight because we've been having sex for so long and he still enjoys it and such...

I'll definitely do the test in June, and then again in September, and thank heavens to the much! if he consents to have himself tested side by side.

The Green Man said...

BITCH< tell me who this support groups are... I am keen of finding out kasi I have a really big game plan.

Message me sa YM when you get this message.

We seldom chat nowadays :-( I missed you and everyone.