It has been two years and six months when I got diagnosed as HIV positive.
I can say a lot has changed. Love life? Well, unlike before that I was really desperate in looking for love. Been dumb with it for the longest time, but when I was diagnosed, I started to reflect about it and realized that I was rushing it up and didn’t take time for myself.
In the first place it seems that LOVE was the reason why I got this virus. From various partners I forced myself upon, even though I knew that they still did unprotected sex with other guys. It was with my consent and I did regret that; but the sad fact is, there’s no turning back. I have it and I have to face it.
I decided to take it slow and just wait for that Mr. Right to come, take time to know him better and see what happens.
Ever since I got diagnosed with HIV I was so close to being anhedonic (an inability to experience pleasure), I was afraid that I could pass it on to other people. But I do admit that I did have sex but with a fellow PLHIV once and we did use protection.
For me, being HIV positive doesn’t mean that you cannot have sex anymore; but for me, you just need to be more responsible. I did have a struggle at first, and it was really difficult to say NO. But I was able to overcome LUST and start to divert those lustful ideations to something that is more productive. So, a year after my diagnosis was also the birth of my advocacy “Jake Positive”.
Disclosing your HIV status to a sex partner is a must, although the problem even now is that people are not aware of their status, and if ever they do have the virus, there would be really a risk of passing it to their sex partner without both parties knowing it.
What can be the solution to this? It would still be EDUCATION, we should not stop in educating the people. We should provide them the information on how to prevent the spread of the virus, how to protect themselves.
And they should know that they do have the choice – the choice to be responsible, the choice to protect themselves and their partners.
Running my own advocacy is quite hard. If I think about it, I did have difficult moments when people discriminated against me and accused me of things that I don’t even remember doing. But for me, I KNOW MYSELF BETTER and THEY DON’T, and so I just move on with my life.
I have never been this happy all my life seeing other newly diagnosed PLHIV recover from a difficult-to-treat infection; and while there were others who didn’t make it, but they fought until the end. Also, I was able to reach other places like Kalibo,Aklan, Antique and other public schools and the Red Cross Youth in Western Visayas. There is also Bayawan City and Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental, with the help of the US Peace Corps, which is very supportive with the HIV advocacy, and – come to think of it – they are not even from here, and yet they do have concerns and they help out with the HIV advocacy. I mean, can we also do what they are doing, and also be an element of change in our own country?
I want to borrow a quote from a fellow advocate, Wanggo Gallaga, who said: “WE ARE THE CURE”.
He is right, each and everyone is a CURE because we can make this country a better place to live in.
But only if we become an advocate in our own little ways, and reach out to our loved ones that we know who does any risky behavior and educate them to become responsible with what they do.