March 18, 2013: RITM Satellite Clinic Malate
Nathan, my partner for almost 5 years, and I walked inside the Malate RITM Satellite Clinic. I asked for Philip, I texted him earlier that day, I got his number from Pozzie's blog (http://pozziepinoy.blogspot.com). The moment I saw Philip, he was already very friendly and accommodating. It was as if he knew us for years.
Then Philip started counselling us, Nathan had a lot of questions, he was so nervous the whole time. On the other hand, I was calm and composed the whole time. I knew in my heart I was HIV positive, I only need a confirmation, and that is exactly the reason why after months of uncertainty I finally decided to take the test. Way back in July 2012 I was diagnosed with PTB (Pulmonary Tuberculosis). I had to take a vacation for 2 months to recover, but after that I felt I regained my health. I thought I was ok so I went back to work and started living my life normal again. Come December 2012 I was diagnosed with shingles (Herpes Zoster). Back then Nathan started telling me that I could be HIV positive. He said that I wasn't normally that sickly, I was always the healthier one in our relationship, I seldom get sick or hospitalized. I have to admit that the possibility of being HIV positive crossed my mind, but I was in denial. I dismissed his concerns (which I deeply regret now).
After the counselling we had our blood extracted (Ms. Lala, the Med Tech, was so nice as well, she made sure that I was comfortable given that I am afraid of needles). And we waited for about 2 hours for the result. When we went back to the clinic Philip asked us who wants to go first. Nathan asked if it is possible for us to be together to get the results but Philip said it has to be one-on-one. So I volunteered.
I was not surprised at all with the result. That is exactly what I expected... REACTIVE. I'm not sure if I am really this strong but I didnt cry or show any emotion. I just told Philip that this is not the end for me, I will fight this disease. I guess it's really helpful that before I went there and got tested I researched online as well. I read Pozzie's blog and educated myself. I learned a lot of things which made it easier for me to accept my situation. Philip then gave me instructions to go to RITM-ARG in Alabang and he made sure to answer all my questions as well.
I went back downstairs and Nathan had his moment with Philip. Their counselling took so long, given the length of their conversation I knew he was also REACTIVE. He wouldn't ask that many question if he's negative. I knew him so well. I'm sure he asked Philip a ton of questions.
We thanked the RITM staff and while on our way home he asked me "So anung next step?", I said "Pupunta ako sa RITM Alabang bukas, yun and recommendation ni Philip." Right there and then we both knew, we didn't have to ask about the result. YES, we are both HIV POSITIVE.
Looking back to that day now, I have to say I'm really proud how we handled that situation. We didn't get hysterical or blame each other or argue. We showed maturity in our situation and we promised to fight this disease together.
I am Alex... and I am HIV POSITIVE.