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It starts like a painless prick in the mind — HIV? Me? Nah.

Then after a while, you remember those crazy times in the past. Yeah, you think, crazy but not too crazy as to put me at risk. Besides, the probability of getting it is too low. Malinis naman sila, I’m sure. You continue to attempt convincing yourself.

Time pass and you’re mostly successful in keeping those HIV thoughts at bay. Yet there were times, admit it, that the prick in the mind becomes a bit more intense. Did I really do it bareback? Can’t remember na. May condom naman yata. Yata? Shit, can’t remember na talaga.

Now it’s selective memory lapse. You think you were safe naman, most of the time, at the least. But you can’t seem to get the doubt off your mind. Suddenly, you don’t know, it is not clear if you really were safe.

Everytime you see those three letters HIV, there’s a slight skip in your heartbeat, a little lump in your throat forming. I think I have it. Maybe I have it. What if I have it?

It’s a creepy little bastard, because like a thief in the night, it blindsides you: you have started to trim your life plans and water down your dreams to accommodate the assumption that, maybe, you think, you feel, you have it. It’s a painless thought at first, a dull feeling after a while, but the longer you stay in the dark, the heavier it feels.

You busy yourself with stuff, with work, with parties, with anything that can fill your mind and keep it from focusing on HIV. Fuck that blog, now the only thing it talks about is HIV. You distract yourself to the hilt only to find a big white snorting elephant stuck in the meandering grooves of your brain. HIV, HIV, HIV, fuck.

You search online for symptoms. Fever, flu-like symptoms, rashes, diarrhea, but not for all, sometimes none at all. Symptoms only when it has advanced to AIDS, when the body has given up, when the virus has totally taken over. Scary shit. You slam a closed fist on the table, why wasn’t I careful kasi.

You consider getting yourself tested. You’re scared like a little kid about to get spanked, closing your eyes before you hear the leather belt whip and welt your skin.

You realize there is really no way out but through. If I don’t have HIV and I’m suffering this way, fuck, I’m such a worry wart punishing myself for nothing. If I do have HIV and I’m standing here doing nothing about it, then I’m really just letting this foul-smelling fear immobilize me. Like committing the most gradual suicide by slicing myself up part-by-little-part.

Part of you triumphs saying, it’s time. It’s time to unload the baggage. It’s time to use this energy, now in the form of fear, to propel myself forward. It’s time that I face that fear, ready to battle it tooth and nail.

* * *

Have you been thinking of getting tested? Perhaps you are not ready yet for testing but you want to talk to someone about it? Here’s the event for you. First, you will find here friendly, professional, and well-trained HIV educators and counselors. And, secondly, the event is scheduled on a Sunday! And very importantly, it will be held in a private (not in a government clinic) and discreet location, for your own privacy and convenience.

What: HIV Confidential Counseling and Testing – it’s FREE! No charge!
When: Sunday, 11 December 2011 (10am to 4pm)
Where: Playroom – 35 West Avenue, Quezon City

Some frequently asked questions (FAQs):

1. I am afraid to go for testing, I think I’m not ready yet. Can I still go and just talk to someone without getting myself tested?

Absolutely. There will be trained HIV educators and counselors there that you can talk to. They will respect your feelings, and if you feel you are not ready to go for your HIV testing, that’s okay. There is value in just talking things out, so come.

2. How much does it cost if I go to this event?

The HIV counseling is free of charge. The HIV testing is also free of charge. You do not need to pay for anything. Love Yourself is subsidizing the conduct of this event, and if you want to help by donating, you are free to do so. Otherwise, everything is free.

3. What should I bring?

You are not required to bring anything. You will not be asked for an ID.

4. Since it will be a blood test, should I not eat anything before? Is there fasting involved?

It is a blood test, yes, but there are no prerequisites such as fasting or no-alcohol diet, etc. The test will look for HIV antibodies in your blood, and eating food or drinking anything will not affect the results.

5. This is my first HIV test. I do not know what will happen during the test. How will the HIV testing process go?

Congratulations for making the brave decision to take the test. Read the following: What to expect during your HIV test.

6. I’m a girl. May I go?

Of course. This event is open to all.

Other questions? Email help@loveyourself.ph

Location Map:


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How to get there:

 

From EDSA via MRT: alight at the North Edsa station. Take a jeepney towards the direction of Quiapo (via West Avenue). The venue will be on your right, about 2-3 km from SM North Edsa/Trinoma. It’s along West Avenue, just before Mister Kebab.

 

From EDSA via bus: alight at the corner of Edsa and West Avenue. Take a jeepney towards the direction of Quiapo (via West Avenue). The venue will be on your right, about 2-3 km from SM North Edsa/Trinoma. It’s along West Avenue, just before Mister Kebab.

 

From Espana or Quezon Avenue (Banawe, Sto. Domingo, Pantranco, etc.): take an FX or jeepney towards SM North/Trinoma. When you reach West Avenue, you will see Kowloon House West on your right, and very soon after, Mister Kabab on your left. The venue is on the side of Mister Kabab, the 2nd building after.

(The venue is inside a discreet building complex between Quezon Avenue and Del Monte Avenue. Between the restaurants ‘Mister Kebab’ and ‘Mang Inasal’. The front of the building complex has an establishment called ‘Renrich’.)

Questions? Email help@loveyourself.ph

Comments (7)

  1. josh said on 07-01-2012

    do u have any more similar events like this for the month [January]? thanks.

  2. Ryk said on 29-12-2011

    thanks for the info and encouragement.

  3. Jeffrey said on 05-12-2011

    Spreading the information about the dangers of HIV whether through straight or gay activities are mostly concentrated through internet blogs like this one, on a few documentaries once in while on TV, during education symposium here and there with focused audience and that’s about it.

    It get’s on the newspaper announcing that the alarm has reached epidemic levels already and pretty soon, it will just burst like one big, inflated balloon.

    If government as they say is very conscious about it, how come there is still no obvious campaign like perhaps an infomercial that everyone gets to watch inserted between TV shows, radio programs and all other media available? Bakit? Dahil ba natatakot ang DOH, ang pamahalaan na magagalit uli ang simbahan dahil pino promote ng state ang pag gamit ng condoms? Susme. Ano ba yan? Di na lang bale na sumabog ang problema ng HIV sa bansa basta wag lang mabansagan ng simbahan na hangal ang mga kaluluwa?

    The problem is already here, looking at us squarely on our faces. Stop denying that there is a problem until it becomes too late. 🙁

    • Closer2Fame said on 15-12-2011

      That’s what I’m talking about… it’s all about politics specialy on TV.. The TV production managers don’t even want to consider showing something that is not in the interest of the owners and major share holders of the TV stations.. Check this out ======> http://youtu.be/k4iLjHRD3RU

  4. Kabul Guy - Seam Reap said on 04-12-2011

    Impressive, direct and concise information.

  5. ron said on 04-12-2011

    very nice post…

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