Letter no. 25: The Good On Being Negative
“I was afraid to know the truth. Though I was confident, I still feared that things might fall on the other side of the coin. On March 10, 2013, a negative news was delivered to me. It all began with a doubt, grew into consciousness and curiosity finally killed the cat.”
Sunday afternoon. Me and my friend Carl went to Victoria Court Malate for an important life-changing test I would ever take in my life. Carl was informed by a friend about this free mass HIV testing and anti-hepa vaccination happening conducted by LoveYourself team, a group of concerned individuals gathered to care, dare and share (so goes their motto). They promote HIV and AIDS awareness, how we could possibly acquire those and other what-nots. They have been doing that once every three months catering specially to those men having sex with men. Let’s admit it. This is happening. This is a fact that needs some special attention as those activities are risky for all parties: be you’re straight or gay.
On my way there while on the train, my mind was blank, weighing possibilities, refreshing my memory on what had happened prior to that day. It was my first time to take the test as I wasn’t really a sex enthusiast after all shall I say. :)I just wanted to be sure in the same way that I wanted to have sort of paperwork to prove my innocence (say wut??)haha. Also, I wanted to be informed on what the disease really is and how it manifests. So going back to that day, I was really so worried that Carl even noticed it. 🙂
We got there around 2:00 PM and there were lots of guys on the registration line and I wasn’t expecting tons of them who kept coming in by time. I witnessed the growing population of gay community these days, nearly 400 participants in 5 hours flocked in. So, we were given numbers, assisted to a large waiting room and assigned a respective counselor, one is to one. It wasn’t bad at all. It was fun knowing all walks of gays are gathered in a large room with one purpose. Looking at each of them, you would notice all types of emotion; some looked confident, some were nervous, others were just chatting, some looking at the ceiling and some were building rapport with their fellow patients, and I was… a little bit praying, hoping everything would turn out right.
I was number 23, my friend Carl went ahead of me after an hour of waiting, and I met my counselor Jay, who was very friendly and fluent. From the waiting room, Jay accompanied me to another secluded room for pre-test counseling where information about HIV and AIDS were disseminated. And that’s the time I was enlightened about the disease and what was it all about. I learned that being HIV positive doesn’t necessarily mean death, the right term would probably be “prone” as these unwanted virus triggers our body’s immune system. Had I not attended that session, I wouldn’t have known this essential part of being gay. I learned what form of sexual activities can cause one to be infected. I wouldn’t elaborate specifically what those are, (you can check loveyourself.ph for more info instead). So to cut it short, I was enlightened, and Jay accommodated me well. The pre-test counseling ate around 30 minutes of our time as I asked all questions in my head, gladly, nothing was left unanswered after the session.
So I was taken downstairs where the doctors were sitting for the actual test to be done. I got a little bit cautious as the environment wasn’t really suit for a very confidential testing. It was an open area, but I still went on. One shot of injection, the doctor filled the syringe tank with my blood and I thought “this is it”. It just took like 5 minutes and I was then sent through the waiting area for the result. I went up, had my lunch, had small talks with the others (as most said it would take a little bit longer time for the test result to be analyzed and printed.) We were then grouped into six or seven for the post-test counseling. It was like a forum with a facilitator where you could share your insights about the test and it was at the same time a promotion of the team about the organization. They are actually inclined with the Department of Health. I enjoyed the session, met few fellas and killed time waiting for the judgment. Freebies were given (you know what these are hehe).
After sometime, I got a phone call from Jay, my counselor, asking me what room was I in. So I abruptly answered with nerves wracking me down. I hurried downstairs and met Jay who was holding an envelope on his hand but wearing a smile on his face. He went straight to the point and that’s when I knew the good side on being negative. If you know what I mean. 🙂
The test though doesn’t end there. The real test is sustaining a healthy life and staying safe while our hearts our beating. The real test is not condemning what the church preaches, but agreeing to it with the aid of safety. It’s a lifetime test. So don’t let the ladder you’ve built over years be destroyed overnight.
It was indeed a great experience. I know what to do from now on and I promise to take care of myself and not let lust drive away what I’ve built in my entirety. Thank you for reading and have a nice life. 🙂
Thanks to www.loveyourself.ph. You might wanna get tested too. 🙂