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.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Poor Pig

PiggyThis weekend, I was lazing around watching television when I chanced upon a medical TV show on one of the UHF channels that I very seldom surf through.

Oddly enough, it left me thinking whether I should be pissed or not. Nope, nope, nope. Nothing about HIV on this show. What then?

Hosted by a Doc Bien, UNTV’s Doc on TV was featuring, yet again, the now infamous Swine Flu. Compared to how fast the issue of Swine Flu has risen in the news, I realize how HIV has barely made a ripple.

Now officially called the Influenza A H1N1 thanks to the fact that it has been established to be transmissible from one human to another, I’ve been hearing about it on the news daily for the past week or so now. And deadly as this new virus can get, should I be scared considering I have HIV?

Well, considering that it is an air-borne virus, everyone who shares the air with someone infected can be susceptible. But as discussed on the show, your immune system can put up somewhat of a fight for you. So for us, the immuno-compromised, it may be assumed that more care be taken.

According to their resource person from the Department of Health, a certain Dr. Lyndon, the Influenza A H1N1 virus was a twist of fate wrought about by an interaction among the swine, avian and human strains of flu. Is Mother Nature angry or what?

Initially, I heard it was spreading around Mexico and parts of the United States. So we Filipinos should have felt safe. I was supposedly being protected by huge bodies of water that separate us from these places. But that would be too simple.

As of latest news, countries in Europe such as Switzerland and the Netherlands have seen the first Influenze A H1N1 virus carriers in their own territories, and more alarmingly, it’s also been discovered around Asia, such as in Hong Kong and South Korea. With 615 reported infections world-wide to date, feel free to insert the Jaws-type music here. It’s coming. It’s coming.

I had some questions in mind, all of which they were able to answer on this show.

Is there some way to spot someone who has it? Unless you’re paranoid enough to have one of those thermal cameras like those they have at airports, there are no visible symptoms. And considering that it has the exact same symptoms as the common flu, it's difficult to tell.

Is there a vaccine against this new strain of influenza? No, there remains none to date. Ordinary flu vaccines are reformulated annually to fight the current strain of human flu. It does nothing against the Influenza A H1N1 virus.

Is there some medication against it? Certainly, the DOH is prepared to treat Influenza A H1N1 infections. But although it is possible to start a prophylaxis against it in cases of exposure, preventive medication is not randomly advised because of the risk of developing a resistant strain.

Are there any precautions that can be taken? Wearing a mask protects both the person who is wearing is and the rest of the world around him or her, but is not, at this point, deemed a necessity by the DOH resource person. Everyone should just cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze, and maybe less handshaking and beso-beso.

For any concerns with Influenza A H1N1 infections, you can visit your nearest health center. Or call the Department of Health at (+632) 743-8301, or their hotline specific for Influenza A H1N1 concerns at (+632) 711-1001 or 711-1002.

Oh wait, should I be pissed? Well, certainly, this Influenza A H1N1 virus has gotten more media mileage in weeks, than my beloved Human Immunodeficiency one has in decades. But considering how easily transmissible it is, plus how bad the stigma connected to the Influenza A H1N1 virus is, now targeted against Mexicans, pigs, and even slabs of pork lying innocently in the frozen food sections, I wouldn’t trade in my HIV so readily.

So please, don’t judge the pig. Kawawa naman. He is not my brother.


Anonymous said...

Aba, don't judge the pig! Nasasaktan ako coz I'm a piglet with my body size... hehehe... :D

As per CDC, vaccine specifically for the virus will be available in 4 months. But the virus can now be treated as a regular flu.

I recalled someone from twitter said that "90 people get swine flu & everybody wants to wear surgical masks. 1 mill people have AIDS & nobody wants to wear a condom"

PinoyPoz said...

Hahaha! I luv that! Clap clap clap!

Anonymous said...

m sure hiv had its share of media mileage when it first came out. not too sure if the swine flu is something that was just recently discovered. but i think the fact that it's something different and more recent makes it more media-attractive.