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, October 16, 2010

Money Matters

I’ve been feeling a financial crunch lately - on a personal level, that is. Right now, I have less than PhP 200.00 in my wallet. That’s pretty decent on a regular day. But it’s a weekend. And even before the gimmick worthy night creeps in, I’m already concerned. We usually have lunch out at work every Friday. So I’ve been forced to feign a diet and watch what I eat. Not for the calories, but for the pesos I’ll be spending.

Oi. Money. They say it makes the world go ‘round. If there’s any truth to that, then my world is coming to a screeching halt.

Okay fine, I’m not really that broke. It’s just that for my last few paydays, I seem to have racked up a good amount of expenses. Let’s do some accounting.

Naturally, daily expenses are there. Commutes to and from work, meals and other incidentals at work are staples. If only I could stop at staples. There are the monthly bills to pay, of course. But wait, there’s more!

The first spend that I remember is also the most remarkable. Christmas. I’m not excited, but a sale makes it too easy. This early, I’ve bought Christmas gifts for both my mom and myself. Remarkable, I say, because buying an LCD television for each of us isn’t a joke. One of the rare times I’ve allowed myself to eat into my savings. I rationalize it with the sale price, the savings on electricity I stand to gain, and the look of disbelief on my mom’s face when her least successful child offers to pay for a little bit of luxury. Hehehe.

And then there are all those tests I needed to pay for when I last paid RITM a visit for my CD4 count. Over PhP 2,000.00 worth, and I’m not even done yet. They say I need to go back for a repeat of my RPR to check if my syphilis is indeed still active. Argh. Another thousand there.Recently, I offered to shoulder medications for someone confined at the RITM. Considering it wasn’t anyone I knew, I really didn’t need to help. But the way Ate pulled me aside and told me how this person’s mother would choose walk to and from the drugstore every day just to save on fare, my heartstrings were pulled. With an unexpectedly small amount, I was able to cover her needs for a month. At least, her mom can lay off the walkathon for a month.

My exercise regimen is something I’ve added. There’s Yoga for Life. Of course, the sessions are really free, but any donations are used to shoulder the cost of the venue. Indigent students aren’t expected to donate if they can’t. But then, HELLO! I’ve got my pride. I am NOT indigent. So I give what I can to shoulder my share. Take that! Oh, and I have been in the process of putting together some way to work out at home. I have my yoga mat, a bench, and my first installment of dumbbells. Slowly but surely, so the costs come slowly as well. Hehe.

My little Bastard is another factor. It’s like having a kid. I get carried away shopping for stuff for him. A cage, food, toiletries, pee & poop pads, leashes & collars, a little carry bag, and lots of toys. And it’s depressing when he foregoes his toys to play with the plastic bag. Argh.

And as my first official dog, I’ve made it a point to get friendly with a vet for him. All the consultations, vitamins and shots really rack up as well. Good thing he got his last set of shots last week. Whew. He’s good till next year, we just gotta keep him healthy. It’s bad enough that I wasn’t careful enough to keep my own doctor away, so I’m bringing him up the right way now. Yep, even in the canine world, prevention is better than the cure.

And then of course, we cannot forget this little relationship that I’m in. I don’t know if I speak for anyone else, but dating can be expensive. Especially for me, since I’m coupled with someone who won’t let a week pass without seeing me at least twice. The dinners and movies are fun, but then he’s not the eat-just-anywhere type. He needs restaurants with decent food and excellent service, which means no Burger Machines and Aling Nena‘s Carinderias. But neither am I the freeloading type. I pay for my fair share of the tab. Yep, that’s proud little me.

So there. I’m maxed out. Well I’m not exactly broke. It’s my miserly fault too for doing everything in my power not to touch what I already have in savings.

So at this point, I need to beg. From you. From anyone out there. Not for myself, but for my beneficiary at the RITM I mentioned earlier. She’s confined right now, and is on medication for six months. A cocktail of medicines for some sort of respiratory infection, I think. Based on the per piece prices I got at the Generics Pharmacy, here’s the damage:
~ Rifampicin, 450 mg - PhP 8.25
~ Isoniazid, 300 mg - PhP 1.30
~ Ethambutol, 2 x 200 mg - PhP 4.20 each
~ PZA or P2A, 500 mg - PhP 3.50

Sorry, I’m just reading off the prescription Ate wrote out for me. So this is her daily regimen, which racks up to just a bit over PhP 20.00 a day. Not bad for us who are financially able. Compare that to some of our daily luxuries, right? But the reality of things is that one trip through Starbucks can already mean about a week of life to some who really need it.

So with that, I’d like to once again extend my plea to those of you who’d like to help. Please, please, please? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you already know my contact, or via e-mail,

For now, I remain budget conscious myself, and will draw upon the easy-to-please side of me. But I’ll be trying to do what I can as well. Thank heavens it was payday yesterday. Because money or not, the world will - and should - continue to go ‘round.


pj said...

It's anti-tb meds that i think can be sourced for free in some clinics like those of DOTS. But then, it becomes a problem if disclosure and anonymity is an issue... just a thought

Jerome said...

Hi. The medication of your friend is for TB, right? The cocktail is all familiar. Isn't RITM giving that for free to the patient? If she's on regular TB, maybe she could be enrolled in the DOTS program. I'm not sure how it goes, but those drugs are free under DOTS. And if she's MDR (multi-drug resistant TB), those are also free, she just needs to be enrolled also. There should be someone from RITM who could endorse her to the treatment centers managed by the Lung Center.

Trese said...


i have 1 box of TB meds unused because i got an allergic reaction with it. It's Rifampacin + Isoniazid + Ethambutol + another drug. I'll bring it to ritm this week.

Anonymous said...


I send you an email re help for the girl in RITM. Hope you can reply ASAP. Thanks!


PinoyPoz said...

@PJ and Jerome: Thanks for the info. Not really sure how that goes, though, and if it's the anonymity that became the issue.

@Trese: Perfect! Exactly what she needs! Shola or Ate should direct you to the ward where she's confined. Any idea why the DOTS thing PJ and Jerome mentioned doesn't apply?

@Robbie: Thanks, got your message. I'll be in touch!