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, March 14, 2010

Getting Stoned

Egged on by BlackPool, I recently joined an online forum that was inspired by the barrage of HIV in the news lately. It was actually a good venue for discussion, populated primarily by Filipinos in and around their twenties, the exact demographic that is now said to be most affected by HIV and AIDS. Easier said than done, apparently.

It started out as a healthy discussion. But I think my coming into the thread seemed to stir things up. Initially, it was probably something new to them to have someone who actually was living with HIV to be in the discussion. Some had gone through this blog, and professed how much of an eye-opener it was for them. I was glad to some extent. Hell, some of them even cried. Cried?! I don’t really know why.

But then, all good things come to an end. One of the voices in the thread who wished to stir the pot in more turbulent ways came across one particular entry of mine, Sex After HIV, where I talked about how I had been doing in the sex arena as of around 7 or 8 months after finding out I was HIV-positive.

If you remember, I had been wading through the remaining ripples of my old fuck buddies, alibi-ing out of the unsafe sexers, and limiting myself to the ones who had always practiced safer sex. I was mostly not disclosing my status at the time. That’s when I started getting the flak.

Why wasn’t I disclosing? Considering that condoms are far from completely safe, what would I do if the rubber ripped and I unwittingly infected someone who I didn’t tell of my HIV-status? Would saying sorry make up for it? Interesting questions, indeed. But aside from questions, judgments were also being thrown around.

Their point? People who I was having sex with had the right to know. Ergo, according to them, I owed to disclose my HIV positive status to my sex partners, so they could choose whether they still wanted to have sex with me or not. Otherwise, I was to be robbed of the right to have sex. It was so bad that at some point, one person accused me of being careless with others’ lives because I no longer had any future to look forward to. And then of course there was the one statement that said people like me didn’t deserve to live and should be fed to an incinerator. Okay. A bit low.

The truth of the matter was that that post was made back in January 2009. Having sex with twenty guys in a span of 7 or 8 months was such a low already, compared to the around 100 I had sex with in that same period the year prior, when I had not gotten tested. And right now, I can say that in that same period a year after, I don’t think I’ve even had sex with 5 persons, and I’ve already made it a habit to disclose to most before anything could even happen.

It’s so bad that since dating Papi, I have not had sex. Yes, as in zero. Okay, two, if you include my right hand and a rubber pussy. Hmm. It has all been by choice, and not because of a self-inflicted law that forbids an HIV-positive person to have sex. But I chose not to defend myself in the thread in that way. I chose to take their debate to heart.

Why was I not disclosing? Because I believe that my disclosure of my status is my option. It is my right. And it is your privilege. The truth of the matter is that still many people are more afraid of having protected sex with someone who is known to be HIV-positive, compared to having unprotected sex with someone who does not know his or her HIV status. Analyze it. Yes, it is the wrong mindset to have.

Condoms not being completely fool proof? Well, part of using condoms does entail using it consistently, meaning always, and correctly. I know how to use condoms correctly. Do you? That way, you reduce the risk of condom failure to as little as under 2%.

And if the condom should tear? It is actually we HIV positives who have delved so much into the topic who know all the inside information as to what to do with accidental exposures to further cut down the risk of infection.

And of course, add to that the analysis that the irrational fear of these negatives shows their biases, their penchant to blame, and their need for information. We HIV positives do not merely use condoms to protect others. We use condoms to protect ourselves. We protect ourselves from other STDs that are out there. We actually have long lives ahead to look forward to, and must protect it from further complications.

HIV-positives having sex is a fact of life. And sadly, I cannot say confidently that all of us do confine ourselves to protected sex. And that’s just speaking of those 4,000+ who have been diagnosed already. Remember, we are only the tip of the iceberg. What about the rest of those who are carrying the virus that remain undiagnosed?

Think about it. Even if all 4,000+ of us who’ve been diagnosed stop having sex completely, that would not stop the spread of the virus. Not while possibly an equal or greater number of people are out there getting their freak on, unknowingly carry the virus and not getting tested.

One final attempt to mock and put the blame on HIV positives, specifically me, drove my point across. The same person who wanted to throw me into an incinerator said something to the tune of, “Thanks to people like this pathetic excuse for a human being, we HIV-negatives are now are limited to choosing between abstaining from sex, being mutually faithful with our sex partners, using protection always, or becoming part of the pozzie posse.” Duh?! So, he actually did get my point. Whatever else could I have been trying to say? I rest my case.

I just find it funny how some people don’t get the value of a look into the life of someone with HIV. Granted, based on the Sex After HIV entry, I was far from perfect. But then I’m not here to be perfect. I’m not here to be a saint. I’m here to tell my story, whatever it may be. It will be up to you to find the message that will be of greatest value to you.

It is the kind of a ready-to-incinerate attitude that is most destructive to the cause. It actually made me realize something. No wonder there aren’t more HIV positives coming out and disclosing their HIV statuses as readily. Because there still are self-righteous and judgmental people like these who are just ready to burn us at the stake. It’s sad. It’s really, really sad.

But funnily, these are the same arrogant people who... heaven forbid... if they ever do get diagnosed with HIV, will be flooded with regret and depression for sure. Agh. This stems from nothing else but fear. Irrational fear. And as Master Yoda says, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering.

My point was really simple. Fine, of course, there is some responsibility on the shoulders of us who are HIV-positive to protect our partners. But we are far from being primarily responsible. The fact will always remain that it is primarily and most importantly every individual’s responsibility to protect themselves.

A lesson learned that I may have been too brutally honest in telling my story here. But hey, since when has being honest been a bad thing? Will I start editing myself to look more perfect as expected? Hell, no. Let those who are without sin cast the first stone. Because as I’ve realized, if my confession of my supposed “sins” scares people into either abstaining from sex or using protection, then I’ve done my job.


Galen said...

History tells that revolutions spring from unwarranted fear.

poz23 said...

oh well, it's hard to explain your side when their ears as well as their minds are closed. the best thing is that we learn everyday, we may not be perfect, but we learn from our mistakes and imperfections that can correct and improve ourselves without the approval of others.

E said...

applaud! don't worry friend, with our new project we will be breeding future advocates who doesn't have to be hiv positives.

This time we do it right :-)

john stanley said...

the only thing that matters is that your message cam across.

you did your part already.


thanks god this is what i have been waiting for.

i stopped posting on that thread after i saw that there were personalities that:

a. thinking that they were above the rest because of their being HIV -?
b. that its nauseating to see postings of an alleged individual working for UN - all she does is copy pasting and making biased remarks sarap itulak sa ward ng HIV.
c. the homophobic (if i know bading rin with the way he hates gays) na you know who - i am praying that no one gets HIV positive in his family or close friends.

and many many more. when we all stopped posting in that thread the thread went down to the pits because they had no one to throw their stones on. typical astig crustaceans who thinks theyre above the rest.

Bitch - our decision to stop posting there was unfair to the TS who was kind and very educated but i had to apologize to her that we are no longer posting because the people there are not only character assassins but FAULT FINDERS. tama ka "LET THE FIRST PERSON CAST THE STONE"

i abhor seeing them present in the other threads because they have multiple personalities and not only that they are a bunch of hypocrites. sana makaharap ko ng personal ang mga taong ito type ko sila makaharap.


oh i have been waiting for this post and im glad that its already done.

theres no point of discussion in the thread as it was obvious that the people who were bashing on us were the ones who i suppose have the greatest fear in their lives. its too bad most of them are long standing members of the site and they feel that they are above the rest.

when i decided to stop posting in the thread i wrote the thread-master because i like her for being a balanced individual.

i have checked from time to time what happened to the thread and it has been way under when we decided to stop posting.

with the presence of someone who thinks she knows above the rest and bragging that she works for an international organization and with someone who is as homophobic as a dog and a virgin who thinks she is above the rest things can really go wrong. ang yayabang nila i just wish that someday NO ONE very dear to them will be afflicted with the virus and only then they will realize that their bashings will all bounce back a them.

ayoko magdasal na mangyari because hindi nila makakayanan. at one point i was privately messaged na HIV positive daw ako? hahahahahahah

Bitch im glad you wrote this. my supposed first comment here was not posted due to technical reasons and its a good thing kasi mas malala yun. i can only pray that their attitudes will not give them a boomerang effect at tawa ko lang kung isang mahal sa buhay nila ang ma virus baka mamatay sila sa karma nila.

Ming Meows said...

parang gusto ko ulit magpa hiv test. matagal na kasi since last time. samahan mo ako ha?

Dhon said...

you could only do so much.. in the end it all boils down to being responsible enough to always have SAFE SEX.

fishinthepacific said...

sad to say this but the philippines has a long way to go before mawala ang irrational fear and stigma sa HIV.

hopefully, mawala rin just like in some countries abroad.

The Green Man said...

Hey BITCH! Hook me up on this forum Blackpool created.

And to those dricriminaters (if there is such a word)... BRING IT ON!!!

The Green Man said...

why am I not on your poz-friendly list? huhuhuh.

Darn I miss blogging.

Anonymous said...

Hypergammaglobulinemia: An increase in the level of any of a number of gamma globulins. This can result from conditions such as chronic bacterial infections, multiple myeloma, lymphomas, dysproteinemias, liver disease and chronic granulomatous inflammations. The exact symptoms depend on the type of gamma globulins involved and the severity of the condition.

This is what HIV+ people should be looking at and not the so called "HI Virus". For EIA or ELISA tests blood serum is diluted by 400x. This is the highest dilution ratio of any assay or test. Why? Primarily because there would be too many who will turn out positive if, say, the serum is diluted by 300x or 100x only. If the blood serum is tested and undiluted EVERYONE will test positive in ELISA. 400x dilution makes sure that only those with elevated levels of Hypergammaglobulinemia tests positive. This also means that EVERYONE has those antibodies, just not as many as the HIV+.

One very good reason for having high levels of Hypergammaglobulinemia -- too many anti-bodies to too many things -- is systemic yeast infections which causes the fungus/yeast to penetrate the intestinal walls and into the blood stream. There, they wreak havoc causing CFS or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which is one of the "so-called markers of HIV infection". Then you get rashes which are primarily of fungal type and then oral thrush which is also fungal.

This are the very first findings of specialists in the late 70s after the Gay liberation in which gay men had partners of up to a thousand a year resulting to bacterial infections like syphilis, gonorrhea, etc. These infections are then treated with various anti-biotics which causes the friendly bacteria in the gut (intestines) to die and leave the fungus/yeast unchecked. Hence, the proliferation of fungus until they become invasive fungus/yeast.

One of the solutions on getting a negative HIV test after getting a positive one is to be on a vegetarian diet with no sweets and yeast containing products. Lots of probiotics and a colon cleanse.

Whether you believe that HIV exists or not and whether they cause AIDS or not, there is no harm in trying out a LIFESTYLE change.

Get your lives back and take control of them yourself. Remember, 75% of HIV+ who take ARVs die of LIVER FAILURE and not of the so called AIDS diseases.

Anonymous said...

During this time, Lance thought about taking antiretroviral drugs. “But I stayed on the fence and never started them, primarily because I was always feeling well and also because I still thought that not taking drugs was the lesser of two evils. I had read about the toxicity of protease inhibitors, how they also inhibited a particular enzyme, cathepsin D, which is critical to the integrity of the gut. It had been shown in mice that when cathepsin D was inhibited, their intestinal tracts withered up, and they died in 21 days. That was my reason for not taking those drugs. I thought: Maybe they have short-term benefit; but you’re not put on them for the short term. I decided I’d let my health, how I felt, be my guide.”

Anonymous said...

Lance’s essay asserted that the destruction of gut microflora is both a simple and a plausible explanation for AIDS. “Most of the diseases and disorders associated with AIDS,” he wrote, “can be connected, in some cases strikingly so, to intestinal dysbiosis”—including T-cell abnormalities, glutathione deficiency, and wasting. One prominent result of destroyed microflora, he knew, is intestinal permeability or “leaky gut.” This state, Lance wrote, allows “microbial translocation—a flood of antigens into the blood stream,” setting off “a systemic immune response and the production of large numbers of antibodies to lots of different things.”

The technical term for this shock to the immune system has ten syllables: hypergammaglobulinemia. Many researchers agree with Lance that this serious condition alone (without a virus) can cause a reactive result—a “positive” reading—on HIV antibody tests, as can more than 66 other conditions or stresses to the body, including pregnancy and vaccination for the flu. In other words, according to Lance, it is possible that destroyed microflora leading to a leaky gut and a flooding of antigens into the blood stream (“hypergammaglobulinemia”) has been interpreted as an infection by HIV.

Anonymous said...

Like I always say, it's like explaining the concept of democracy to a bacteria ;)

Anonymous said...

It will be up to you to find the message that will be of greatest value to you.

I found that message: Many people are more afraid of having protected sex with someone who is known to be HIV-positive, compared to having unprotected sex with someone who does not know his or her HIV status. Analyze it.

Ouch! This really hit home for me. I have played Russian rulet in my past and cannot believe how nonchalantly I put myself at risk. I guess it is the mindset of, "Oh it wouldn't/couldn't happen to me." It EASILY could have been me though. Gratefully I am HIV -; but I now realize by letting a few guys possibly impregnate me was risky business. At the time my only concern was not getting pregnant... HIV was soo in the back of my mind.

It IS very sad how many -s feel more worthy of life than +s. What I would give for everyone to love and respect their neighbor. What a wonderful world to leave for the next generation!

Thanks for enlightening me.

PinoyPoz said...

Without honking my own horn, thank you Anonymous. :-)