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, February 13, 2010

Know, No, No

With the recent barrage of news items about HIV and AIDS, and just from one news program of one particular network, it’s sort of like it was unofficially declared to be HIV and AIDS Awareness Week. From Thursday in the last week of January, to Wednesday in the first of February, news on HIV has been a daily thing. Wonderful, supposedly, if they were accurate. But then of course, such hasn’t been the case so far. And so now, I’m back, and with more from them and for them.

In this report from Maricar Bautista, with the Valentine season comes the trend of speed dating. Speed dating is a type of event which strikes me as something like the Trip-to-Jerusalem of dating, without the elimination part of course. So girls get to spend a short amount of time with each of the guys at the event, and vice versa, all in the search of a potential match. Cute story, but then it gets linked again to the risk of HIV.

Speed dating and HIV? Wow. Not immediately a clear connection, to me at least. Clearly, based on the exact words of Dr. Eric Tayag of the DOH, it’s clear that it’s unprotected sex that poses the risk. So why link specific events as speed dating to HIV? So what is it about speed dating anyways? Is it the speed that exposes you to the risk of HIV? Yes, having to pose that question makes me giggle. Really, if you think about it, no matter how fast or slooooow you date, or how many you date, if when it comes to sex, you protect yourself, then you cut the risk significantly.

And no, it isn’t even about doing it with strangers. Because even if you know everything about someone, we have to remember that many of those who are infected with HIV do not even know that they are. Neither can you tell from how a person looks, who is HIV-positive or now. It’s just not safe to assume that everyone knows their own HIV status accurately. Look at it this way: Opt to play safe, whether it’s with a stranger, or with your twin brother.

In this report by Joey Villarama, what bugs me is the sweeping statement of Ferchito Avelino of the Philippine National AIDS Council saying the trends are effects of changing norms, technology, and the transformation of the Filipino family. For me, it’s not the changing norms, but the norms themselves. It's the so-called “norms” that have been in existence in our conservative culture that have sheltered sex and related topics under a thick blanket of taboo, preventing people from a guided understanding of the topic. Was this guy really from PNAC, or was he from the Catholic Church?

The report goes on to say that most of those who have gotten infected with HIV, are men who have had sex with men. But on the contrary, in the visual that accompanied that part, the 55% of infections attributed to men who had sex with women was greater. Again, this is news, and accuracy should be key.

And then it ends with CBCP spokesman Msgr. Pedro Quitorio again blaming the internet for destroying the morality of our youth. He calls for the youth to be alarmed, informed, and involved in finding a solution to the problem. Vague as that statement was, so why then is the Catholic Church pressuring against sex education and the reproductive health bill? Can you blame the youth for learning about sex from the internet? Answer me that, Father.

In this report of Jay Ruiz, HIV poster boy, Wanggo Gallaga, comes back out and also blames the internet for making finding sex easier. Fine, I’ll attest to that fact, being an avid fan of gay personals sites as well. But then again, isn’t it about playing safe, no matter how easy it is to find a playmate? The truth is, these same personals sites that are said to encourage hooking up, do have resources talking about safer sex. But in a culture that doesn’t know or believe that HIV is here, or that believes that one can tell by looks whether one does or doesn’t have HIV, do you wonder why people don’t click on the safe sex tabs as readily?

And with due respect to Wanggo, again, it’s not about how well you know the person you’re going to sleep with. Could it be that a partner you’ve been with and known for years might not know that he is HIV positive? And could it be that you might need to get tested as well? The question is not how well you know a person. The question is how well that person knows himself, specifically his HIV status. And the bigger question even, is how well you know yourself, specifically your own HIV status. Everyone must get tested, and must know their HIV status, and must protect themselves accordingly. Protect themselves, because HIV is not the only thing out there.

Kapamilya... please don’t jump on the HIV bandwagon just for the sake of a scoop. People do need to know, but they need to know what is right. Don’t forget your motto, Panig sa Katotohanan, Panig sa Bayan. Really, can true news exist without accuracy?


Galen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

yehey!!! hahahahah sapul na naman sila! banatan mo BITCH tutal naman they are all following your blog let them read!!

Anonymous said...

hello pinoypoz, ive been following your blog and i must say it's really informative, i just got tested 2 weeks ago with a rapid test, it's positive. im just waiting now for the confirmatory results to check if i really am or not, anytime within this week i will get the results, while waiting i kept myself informed about it and didnt dwell on depression and denial, life goes on so now im doing whatever boosts my immune system, i would like to get in touch with you though, simply cause im new with this and i need to talk with someone who knows what im going through. hope to hear from ya, dont worry im not the dramatic type, basically i just need someone to compare notes with. (i dont know yet any of the vital infos like my cd4 count and such as im still waiting for the confirmatory test results).

there is a chance that i could be false positive, but whatever happens im preparing myself. hope to hear from ya. :)

PinoyPoz said...

hi anonymous. glad to hear you're holding up. you can e-mail me at, or find my on Yahoo Messenger with the same account. thanks... and hope things work out. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous ... that waiting is the toughest time for the "what if." When you actually know and then get informed, it's actually not 'bad' at all. Your life will be back to normal (really!) pretty soon. Hang in there and don't give it too much focus.

E/J - if Anon is in my area, I'd be happy to buy him a coffee ...

and E - I think your fleshing out and discussion of the TV stuff is great. I was in the side lines for a little of it and didn't envy them - starting from zero knowledge and trying to make a story out of six second sound bites.... At least they are trying and that I appreciate. It took us how long to become seasoned masters in the subject?

Hugs and Gung Hei Fat Choi

Peter Pan

Anonymous said...

uhh peter pan, how am I fleshing out? I haven't spoken to you in a month now lolz where did that came from? LOLZ...

If you are referring to ABSCBN news, I don't buy that bull crap why? because it's their job to provide ACCURATE information, yes it's a tough job but it's their job. That's the challenge! So what were they suppose to do? REPORT ACCURATE FACTS AND EDIT OUT THE not important details.

Nobody is asking them to become experts Peter Pan, but everybody is expecting accurate information afterall, D and E market watches this, and these market believes EVERYTHING they see and hear on TV-no questions asked, and D/E market compromises of 70% population in Metro Manila.

So I'm sorry if I'm outraged, I'm just looking out for people ALL CLASSES of HIV and future HIV peeps. specially for guys who are still afraid to come out, because of STIGMA. ---Chronicles of E

PinoyPoz said...

Thanks Peter Pan. Maybe that's where things go wrong. When their objective lies in just "trying to make a story", then they lose the real essence of why they do what they do as journalists. Which is very very sad.