Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wake Up Call (Part 1)

To say that the past weeks were insane would be a big understatement. It has been grueling, nerve wracking and it may just be the most difficult, depressing exprerience in a very long time.

As I have mentioned, I've had tonsilitis side by side with herpes zoster within the same week. A few days before these maladies surfaced, I met Mark. He and I had a good time together and had quite an interesting conversation which led to the discussion about HIV and AIDS.

After doing some research online, I stumbled upon some articles that indicate herpes zoster and swollen lymph nodes are some of the possible symptoms of HIV. Naturally, I was stunned. Each piece of information seemed to point at one direction. I got concerned so I did even more research.

After a week of meeting Mark and suffering from tonsilitis and herpes zoster plus a lot of research on the Internet, I was a wreck. I started recalling instances when I wasn't being careful enough. Out of the many exploits I've indulged in, I could recall five to be unsafe.

I started talking to friends who also got worried. But being the good friends that they are, everybody assured me that it's surely just me and that everything's ok. It comforted me how they said I'm just overreacting but some of them still encouraged me to get tested.

I did want to get tested as soon as possible but I had to wait for a couple of days due to a tight work schedule.

In the course of almost two weeks, I couldn't stop thinking about how I would tell my situation to my family in case I find out I am HIV positive. I haven't even come out to my parents about my sexuality yet and now, HIV?! How would they deal about this double whammy? How the hell am I supposed to spend the rest of my life knowing that I may go a lot sooner than everybody else?

I also got to thinking about how I've been living this past few years. While I wouldn't call my lifestyle wild, I have been subjecting myself to a lot of risks and haven't been 100% careful either.

I went to church this Sunday after work. I also prayed every night and every morning. I even asked the few friends that I confided in to say some prayers for me as well.

At first, it seemed like a far fetched idea since I have been careful almost all the time. But the thing is it only takes one time. I was reminded I am not invincible. And I exposed myself to great risks---for what, a few minutes' worth of fun and pleasure?

I imagined the guys I would call (after not being in touch for so long) to inform them and suggest that they get tested as well in the event the result turns out to be positive. I tried to be optimistic by thinking of the "perks" like having an interesting story worthy of a book or even a reality show! I also thought of getting involved with an organization and help spread awareness about HIV/AIDS. The thought of me having a clear purpose and direction in life somehow made the whole ordeal bearable.

This Wednesday, I finally went. Before getting my blood sample, the nurse(?) briefed me about what would happen in case I turn out to be HIV positive. He told me not to panic and coordinate with them. They would then refer me to the government for a reconfirmation test and help me out with the insurance. He also informed me that they will not divulge the matter to my company as there had been cases where the employer lets go of an employee upon learning the latter was HIV positive.

I was anxiously filling up the form (the one that has questions like "Multiple sex partners?") when this nurse continued to talk about the possibilities. He kept emphasizing that I should never panic and told me that they once had a patient who committed suicide after getting the unfortunate test result.

Once done with the procedure, he told me to get the result after three days. The experience is far from over.


  1. I'm praying that everything would turn all right. Our good Lord will never leave you behind, James. Keep your faith.

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