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.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Pick on the Gimmick

Wednesday saw ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol World connecting HIV with the call center industry. You’d think ABS-CBN would stop there. They didn’t. Yes, there was more.

Daily from Wednesday till Friday this past week, TV Patrol World had at least one news item on HIV. You’d think that follow-up stories on it would get better, but still there was a lot left to wish for.

This time the stereotype they painted was in connection with gimmick places in Manila. I’d heard about this random testing thingy done outside bars in Malate last year. And quite honestly, I wasn’t in full support of the project. Why? Because it was being conducted in an area patronized by the gay community. Ergo, I was pretty sure it was going to just reinforce the HIV-to-gay stereotype. Expectations met. Watch it.



Again, some points I’d like to raise on this segment.

First point:
So they say doctors encourage persons who’ve had more than one sex partner to get tested for HIV. Isn’t that insinuating that having one sex partner eliminates any risk of exposure to the virus? Even if that single sex partner does not know his or her own HIV status? Again, a risk is a risk, regardless of how small and how infrequent. Shouldn’t they be encouraging everyone who’s had unprotected sex, regardless of the number of partners, to get tested? Hmm.

Second point:
Gimmick places being connected to HIV? Well, prior to finding out I was HIV-positive, I had never ever been in any of those types of bars, bath clubs or massage parlors. But still I got infected. And even if one did frequent these places, wouldn’t that person’s lifestyle and sexual health choices matter more? So why the need to insinuate? Does this mean that if you conducted the test among those who go to Catholic Churches and diagnosed some to have HIV, we could insinuate that going to church or being Catholic predisposes you to HIV? If it was conducted in schools and some positives were discovered, would that mean that people should shun education to avoid contracting the virus? Duh.

Third point:
You really had to spell out the stereotypes, didn’t you? Homosexuals, sex workers, IV drug users, OFWs, those married to foreigners, and yuppies. If one is none of those, are you saying he or she need not get tested? HIV is no longer a foreign thing. Neither is it a gender, sexual orientation or profession thing. A risk is a risk. Period. Again, all these generalizations do is give a false sense of security to the general population. And it is this ignorance that is helping the virus spread.

Fourth point:
Jay Ruiz tested negative. It was pointed out that, yes, he still could get infected. Actually and more accurately, he still could BE infected. Remember the window period of three to six months? Reminds me of one person I chatted with who was so confident in the safety of his unprotected sex because he would test his partners prior to having sex with them. I needed to point out that there is a window period within which one could still possibly test negative even if he already had the virus. I could only wish him good luck with that.

Fifth point:
Abstinence is good. Condoms, okay… but correct and consistent use of condoms at that. Being faithful doesn’t cut it. Not if you’re faithful to someone who doesn’t know his or her own HIV status. And not if you’re faithful to someone who is exposed to the risks of contracting HIV. Be mutually faithful, AND know your statuses.

Again, a lot of points misinterpreted that will fall onto the undiscerning ears of the uninformed. Certainly, it’s totally possible that what accurate information the doctors imparted became inaccurate after being butchered and put together by the news team. So in my opinion, press releases like these should be audited by the DOH or some governing body for accuracy, after the segment has been edited, and only then should the segments be allowed to air.

With HIV, I believe it’s not a case of good and bad publicity being publicity nonetheless. It’s a huge difference between being informed, being uninformed and being misinformed.

5 comments:

Banderson said...

Hey pinoypoz

Would you fancy doing a blog post for MTV Staying Alive
Hit me up at Anderson.ben@mtvne.com

Thanks

Ben

Manech said...

Simplification (of concepts, of thoughts) is always a double-edged sword. It reaches people who find it hard to understand, but it also has a tendency to mislead.

Chingoy said...

good contentions there... tama ka sa sana walang labeling or branding...

rudeboy said...

Well, what else did you expect from the tabloid trash that is TV Patrol?

BLACKPOOL said...

TAMA BITCH BIRAHIN MO NA BIRAHIN AT MARAMI NA NAMANG MGA MALI MALI NA GINAGAWA NGAYON ANG MEDIA PROMISE I ALSO WAS INTERVIEWED TODAY BUT I SPECIFICALLY ASKED THAT PRIOR TO ANY PRINT OR WHAT HAVE YOUS THEY SHOULD SHOW ME WHAT THEY WILL WRITE OR QUOTE BECAUSE ILL SHOW IT TO YOU FIRST. WAG LANG SILA MAG KAMALI AT GUERRA ABUTIN NILA SA AKIN. FULL CAPS NA ITO HA?