(The Disclosure Series 1)
More than a year ago, I was looking for a job where I would work at normal working hours but would still pay well. At the time, I was working on a graveyard shift as a Customer Service Representative for a US based bank.
I realized that working at night was taking its toll on me. I had no problems sleeping during the day but it’s just that when I come home, I feel obliged to help out with errands which then resulted to less sleep and weak(er) immunity.
So I decided that I really should look for a day-shift job for my own health benefit. Also, I realized that sales is one of my strengths and I thought I should put it to good use.
One of my closest friends in college offered me to apply to the company she was working for. She already holds a good position there and she thinks highly of the company. So I did.
I call her “Ate” not only because she was a year older than me but also because we have the same last name. Back in college, when I was studying to be a nurse, we were grouped for duties. And we, as a group, are pretty close. We are group of 6 people, 4 gals and 2 guys, well gays. LOL. We call the other guy “mother” and he calls us his “doties.” Our mother is a buff, masculine, gay guy. Thinking about them makes me miss them a lot.
So anyway, you know this is my first entry for my disclosure series so obviously, I’m disclosing my HIV status to someone. And it’s to this person I call “Ate.”
Now, it’s been such a long time so I don’t exactly remember what made me decided. I can only assume that it is maybe because I wanted her to understand why I wanted to leave my job then. And also probably because we are so close that I wanted her to know what’s going on with me. I genuinely feel that she is concerned with my well being. As a matter of fact, she visited me in the hospital when I was hospitalized for pneumonia - that hospitalization where I had the HIV test than and learned about my HIV status.
At the time, since I work at night, I take my ARVs in the morning because that’s when I would normally sleep.
After taking my meds for a couple of years, I already know that the side effects comes after 1 hour of taking the meds and it would last for 3 hours. If you’ve been my imaginary reader for a while, you’ll know that my ARVs makes me easily agitated, ill-tempered and I lose my focus when the side effects are, well, in effect.
That day, right after my shift, I went to the company where I would be applying. I was scheduled for an interview at 10 am so I took my meds at around 6am (which was earlier than usual).
Before the interview, I met with my friend and we had breakfast. And that’s where I told her.
It would have been great if I was able to write this right after the incident so that I can describe it to you in more detail. There are things that happened during that breakfast that I wouldn’t forget though.
I’m not certain how I told her, whether I just told her straight up or if I made her read the “Patient Information Sheet” of Efavirenz that I keep in my wallet. For some reason, I find the latter an amusing way of telling my HIV status. LOL!
What I do remember vividly is how she started crying when she was finally able to digest the information I told her. I remember telling her what it means to have HIV. How I learned about it. What I had to go through to keep myself healthy. How disappointed my mom was when she found out. How I have to take meds every day for the rest of my life and the side effects that comes with it.
I told her I already took my meds a few hours before we met so she joked about me throwing some tantrums and acting up on her. Quite honestly, during those times my thoughts are no longer all rainbows and butterflies. Good thing I already learned how to deal with it. Mind over matter.
She then told me how sad she is to learn about it. She was glad I told her. And then she said something like:
"This is not to make you feel bad about yourself or make you feel worse or anything. This just reminds me that no matter how bad you think your situation is, don’t forget that you are still blessed because there are certainly still some other people who have worse situations than what you’re in."
Apparently, she was not having a great day that day. I believe it was something about being treated unfairly or something and that she felt so bad about it. So when she learned about my status, her perspective about her situation changed. That it was nothing compared to my HIV situation. And she went on and said that although undoubtedly, being HIV positive is a very serious thing, I shouldn’t dwell on it and I shouldn’t feel that it is the end because there are other people who have worst condition and yet they are carrying on.
And I completely agree with her.
After the lengthy, meaningful breakfast (and more importantly, after the side effects are gone) I took my exam and had my interview.
Everything went well. I was offered the job but unfortunately, I had to decline it. The job being offered to me was not right for me. They told me that they’ll come to me if there will be something else. They did contact me back but I already found the right job for me.
Hi! I found out last year that i am hiv positive. Do you know any groups that i can join. I want to meet people who are also going through this. Thank you!
I hope you are doing well.
I don’t know of any specific group that I can refer you to. But what I would recommend is for you to create a “Pozzie Twitter account.” That’s how I met a lot of Filipino PLHIV (and from other countries as well) and I became good friend with quite a lot of them.
My Twitter handle is @iamhpositive. Once you have your account, you can mention me and I will introduce you to everyone. :)
please help me where can i have a check up of hiv i am in zamboanga city
Sorry for the late reply. Here’s a list of places in Zamboanga where you can have yourself tested (Thank you Google. Lol!):
Zamboanga Social Hygiene Clinic
Dr Kibtiya Uddin - Social Hygiene Clinic Physician / Add: Petit Barracks, Zone 4C, Cty Health Office, Zamboanga City / Mobile #: 09274836672
Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC)
Dr. Romeo A. Ong - Chief of Hospital; Dr. Jejunee Rivera - HIV AIDS Core Team Leader / Add: Zamboanga City / (062) 9910573; 9912934; 9920154 Mobile #: 09204241721
Social Hygiene Clinic
Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur
Ms. Carleem Jerusalem
Telephone: (062) 241-1966
Hey. I was tested positive in 2012 and still not yet receive any treatment. Can i know how u deal with that?
I hope you are well. I’m sorry to hear about your status.
When you said you have not received treatment, I want to know if you meant that you are not taking any ARVs or did you mean that after testing positive, you did not go/was not endorsed to a treatment hub.
If you meant you are not yet taking ARVS, that should be perfectly fine. Just make sure that you meet with your doctor as scheduled and that you are fulfilling all instructions for your benefit (like lab tests, check ups, etc.)
But if you mean that you did not go to a treatment hub, that’s something else. When you tested positive, the testing center would have forwarded your blood specimen for a confirmatory test and they would have given you the confirmatory result as well. Then normally, they would endorse you to a treatment hub.
If you have your confirmatory result, I believe you can go directly to a treatment hub of your choice (I suggest the most accessible and most convenient for you since you will be visiting that hub for, well, the rest of your life) then they will process everything using your confirmatory result. Then your treatment will begin from there. (You can check the treatment hubs here: http://iamhpositive.tumblr.com/post/8438465845/the-hiv-hubs)
Now, if you don’t have your confirmatory result, all the same, you can still go to a treatment hub of your choice but they will most probably require you to have the HIV test again.
You might want to go back to the center were you tested positive and they will most likely to assist you most efficiently. But again, the treatment hubs will also assist you which ever the case may be.
Hi. Comment sir. If no confirmatory test result on hand, client needs to retrieve copy from his or her testing clinic. Doing another test will lead to confirmatory decline from SACCL where we have the centralized confirmatory process.
Option: have a test at RITM satellite where a research is ongoing,confirmatory is not needed if patient opts for RITM as hub , here,baseline may be done. However confirmatory is needed to enroll to Phil health. Thus bringing us back to square one.
Confirmatory may be obtained from testing clinic or the epidemiology bureau in the dept of health. Repeating the test is not advisable. UNLESS PATIENT DID NOT USE REAL NAME LAST YEAR then yes a new test with the real name is needed.
I hate how I’m not able to write as often as I hope I would. I’ve been wanting to but there are always things that come up. Things like work, or family events, or dates with my boyfriend, or night out with friends. But I think these are all excuses. I think the more valid reason is that I lost interest in writing my story.
I miss the times when I would spend hours and hours just writing an entry. If you would look at my past blogs, I would even have pictures, edited and watermarked in Photoshop. For some reason, I lost the desire to do that now. I really want to bring that back but I just can’t seem to find out how. I need to be inspired again.
I think what happened was that I lost the desire to share my story. During the first year of my diagnosis of having HIV, I was so eager to share my experiences to the world. Well, I didn’t really care if anyone would get to read it. It was more for me. It was my outlet. It was my way of getting it out of my system because there was really no one I can talk to about it. It felt therapeutic for me to write about everything that I was going through.
Now, a lot of people knows about my condition. I was able to tell it to people I really trust and to people I know will not judge me and I know will be nothing but supportive of me. Then I also started meeting fellow PLHIV, quite a lot of them actually. And I’ve become very good friends with many of them. So there are now so many people I can talk to about my medical condition whenever I feel like I need to.
But that doesn’t change the fact that I still want to write. Again, I just need to find a way to bring that desire back. Maybe I should start the habit of writing again.
There’s this idea that I’ve been wanting to do for months now. I want to write an entry, well, a series of entries, actually. It would be about the times when I disclosed my condition to someone or someone disclosing their medical condition to me. I would call it: “The Disclosure Series.”
So maybe I would start with that.
Hi! I found out last year that i am hiv positive. I was wondering if you kno any groups i can join? I want to meet people who are going through this disease like me. Thank you!
I don’t know of any formal group or organization but through Twitter, I’ve met quite a lot of PLHIV here in the Philippines. You’ll be surprised by the number of PLHIV who are more than willing to help others. I’ve become good friends with many of them and we would often meet for dinner, sports, etc.
In fact, we will be playing Volleyball somewhere in Quezon City this coming Saturday. If you’d be interested, feel free to join us. Contact me through twitter or email or here, tumblr. :D
any other benefits aside from SS disability and PWD card?
For having HIV? Well, aside from the ones you mentioned (I actually don’t know what “SS disability” is) and being a help to others who are on the same boat and meeting a lot of great friends, I don’t know and I can’t think of any other benefits.