Op-Ed

It is best that I am HIV positive

Posit Bo: “Stupid as it may seem, to those who don’t understand as they lack the capacity to intellectually discern, but yes, I’d rather be HIV positive for the rest of my life, as it is in this phase of my life that I found the core of my existence.”

It’s been more than two years since I was diagnosed with AIDS, as my baseline CD4 then was only 195. From 2015 to this day, there had been a lot of things that have happened in my life as a PLHIV, as a student, and as a son.

It is – Outrage Magazine and I am writing as an HIV+, so I’ll recount my experiences as – POSIT BO.

Exactly two years ago, I started a blog called the “Voice of Positivism.” It was a convenient way of expressing my thoughts and reaching out to individuals, who were newly diagnosed – just like me. I never intended to have the blog for any purpose other than inspiring people with HIV and AIDS. I wanted to inspire. But that idea was misplaced, as such was rigidly fastened to an absurd driving thought that I am… special. Then I took it down in the last week of July. “Voice of Positivism” succumbed into a permanent state of oblivion.

I haven’t written anything about that fateful day. The day when I decided to: burn; terminate; and forget about what I considered as my haven of truth for several months. I was not restrained from having flaws as to what I write in my personal blog. I didn’t need to filter the facts being stated. I was not at all regulated by anyone. Thus, the term haven of truth. What people were reading are the raw thoughts I had in mind as a PLHIV. However, I forgot the very essence of freedom in writing, as all other kinds of freedom we enjoy, it is… limited.

On 25 July 2015, I have written an open letter addressed to one individual affiliated in the medical profession. It escalated so quickly until it blew out of proportion. I wrote out of anger and disgust. I judged the character of a person I barely know. This prompted me to take down my blog.

The moment I was writing the letter addressed to that person, I forgot individuals who mattered, to wit: (a) Dr. Leonel John B. Ruiz of Klinika Bernardo, (b) Dr. Kate Leyritana of Sustained Health Initiative of the Philippines (SHIP), and (c) Nurses who patiently assisted me from day one. Tactlessness of one person overpowered the goodness of persons in the medical profession who treats us well in handling our condition. World is filled with vast incivility that I myself declined to refuse that very moment I wrote the letter. I am not saying, however, that what was written are erroneous; it is still a proper subject of debate, in the absence of a case decided by the court with completely the same facts.

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I returned online just recently as I went into an indefinite hiatus. Social media detox, as other would call it. Surprisingly, this time, it wasn’t because of an open letter with my name on it.

Browsing and reading tweets or status really entertains me at times when all I have to do is to stare at the ceiling 24/7. Who wouldn’t be entertained with witty tweets? Of course there would be days you get irritated with what people are tweeting, after all social media is a single nation called diversity.

Again, it’s the first week of August 2017, yes, two years after. I made it through that day. I made it – two years after. About two nights ago, Ed Busim (Manong Ed) sent me a direct message regarding one individual in the medical profession being insensitive with his remarks to PLHIV.

Two years ago, I would have done the same thing. Today, I am making a difference. No, I am not writing an open letter but still I wouldn’t let it breezily pass with my eyes closed and mouth shut. Skills are easily learned but wisdom is hardly earned.

Before, I wanted to inspire because I thought I was special; I was absolutely at a wrong mindset. I shouldn’t be inspiring; instead, I should take part in educating individuals about our condition to cure a fatal disease called IGNORANCE.

I am not special; PLHIVs are not special – apart from others. Our condition is delicate but nothing in it makes us special. We’re merely individuals with a condition that demands understanding from those who are capable of intellectual discernment. If people couldn’t understand, I couldn’t help people figure what they’re not capable of doing.

I am no different from individuals with a different status because I can do the same things that they could. I could be more than what they can be. It is just a matter of choice.

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Our status does not determine who, what, where, and how can we be as a persons. Our status is merely an accessory to our character just like the degree or position we hold. The determinant of our individuality is the character we display in public. We can either be the antagonist or the protagonist depending on how we present ourselves to the society.

Here’s a better picture:
(a) Senator – Lawyers being sent to prison,
(b) Justices being impeached,
(c) Doctors being stripped of their license, and
(d) Priest having sexual relations despite their vow of celibacy.

Regardless of status, degree, position, or all other divisive mechanisms present, it does not make us superior more than anyone, neither does it define us individually. We are our own protagonists as those against us will always be our antagonists. Talk about perspective…

What make our lives better is the choices that we make. Anyone can elect a choice of their own regardless the status; thus, all our lives can be better relying upon our willingness to make it happen. Not because you get a diagnosis for HIV or AIDS, as the case may be, it does not necessarily mean you cease from making the right choices. The diagnosis should be utilized in making better decisions, more exceptional than those that we’ve made prior to diagnosis.

I was asked, “If given a chance to become HIV negative, will you grab the opportunity?” I stand firm and I answer the same, NO! I’d rather remain HIV positive for the rest of my life rather than go back to my old lifestyle. This is my simple antithesis to the statement “It is still best to be negative.”

The HIV does not directly cause what happens post diagnosis, as the proximate cause of what may occur thereafter is the choices that we make. Yes, scientifically, diseases are predominant in PLHIV, but this too could happen in individuals without HIV. But I’ll have to leave this matter for the professionals to discuss.

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Stupid as it may seem, to those who don’t understand as they lack the capacity to intellectually discern, but yes, I’d rather be HIV positive for the rest of my life, as it is in this phase of my life that I found the core of my existence. It would be fallacious to say that my argument is anchored on the premise that we all become HIV positive. I’m just trying to emphasize and debunk an unbefitting statement made by a person whom I thought would know better. A statement warranted in full force by both weird and illogical concept.

“BEST” is such a relative and objective term. Arguing on philosophy, consequentialism ethically right choices are those that produce the most happiness. There’s nothing wrong with being HIV positive, philosophically because at this very moment I feel extreme joy for whatever it is that I have accomplished so far post-diagnosis. Thus, applying this paradigm, it is best that I am HIV positive. Hedonism is subgenus of consequentialism, it dictates us that pleasure is the most important pursuit of mankind. Today, I find pleasure in being HIV positive because I am able to help in educating the uneducated. Ergo, It is best that I am HIV positive.

Indeed, the world has been filled with filthy wisdom caused by ignorance and arrogance. I will not, however, forget that in a basket there will only be one or two rotten tomatoes that need to be ostracized. I’ll never forget the goodness of the doctors who empathize and truly understand our condition. We may never be given what we ought to hear, a genuine apology for the isolated cases of conduct unbecoming from individuals in the medical profession; but this will continuously be a hurdle and driving force of the community to incessantly decry stigma caused by ignorance leading to our prejudice.

I am Posit Bo, and I say: It’s best that I am HIV positive.

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