Latest CD4 count

Firstly, I’d like to greet everyone a happy New Year.

As of this writing, I’m here at RITM-ARG and will be having a CD4 test and medication refill. I just came from office and it is now 8:15am. Now seated at the waiting area being #19 from the line. The tv is set at HBO playing Boardwalk Empire (I wish this was Teen Wolf) and lucky I am seated near the entrance door so I have a first hand glimpse of who is entering. So far, it is not yet crowded. I dunno why.

Every guy is wearing his hospital mask, nothing fancy. No bling blings, nothing bedazzled. I hate wearing this mask, makes me uncomfortable from the warm breath I give. I also smell the after taste of that macchiato — gross. What makes it more gross, this mask I am wearing is 7 months old.

***Three new guys entered the room, one looks like a gigolo. No one interests my attention as of the moment.

Clever guys use the mask as camouflage, match it with shades and they can hide their identity.

I now find it cumbersome everytime I go here. Am no longer feeling the homy environment, everything is too formal. I just miss the old ARG days, when Ate Ana was heading every patient. I always mention this on my previous posts. Lucky those who had her.

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***people are now starting to build up. My number hasn’t been called yet and it is already 8:35am, leas than an hour for the cd4 test cut off.

Finally, my turn. The PHILHEALTH officer reminded me that there’s a new CF1 form effective 2014, so better check yours. Am now at the Clinical Laboratory, waiting for my turn for blood extraction. Surprisingly, only few patient at schedule.

***there are 2 bystanders by the bench staring ridiculously at me and my seatmate. What do they want? Am good at eye fuxcking, maybe they’d want that too.

***at last! Some mentos!

Done with extraction and there’s nowhere to go. Confused coz nurse said to wait at ARG, kinda new.

I have read a bulletin where they filed a legal case against a former staff, hmmm.. how sad, she was friend of mine. I’ve heard too many issues with ARG recently.

***results will be released after lunch, still 10am. #longwait – yes that’s hashtagged.

Timecheck – 11:40am. Still waiting here at ARG. Flocks of guys poured in, seems they know each other. I don’t mingle. I don’t feel like doing it, I want my own space. They sound nosy. I may no longer go to work later to cope with sleep.

***saw a familiar face. A Facebook friend. You can’t hide your face with that mask, I know your eyes and noseline. Bitch

After hours of waiting, the results were in. My new CD4 count is 513, I now decided to have a consultation on what to do. I hope there’s no inclination to change medications yet.

Timecheck – 2:07pm, I thought I can go home. Not yet. Falling in line for consultation. The adjacent corridors are flooded with kids, maybe from dog bite section and due to measles outbreak. There are a few cuties, one wearing red long sleeve, one wearing a blue quarter sleeve.

Timecheck – 2:29pm, consultation is over. Doctor said to wait for July’s cd4 test. See if it will go on a downward trend or fluctuate like my previous results. I asked what will replace what, he said Combivir + Tenofovir. Hemoglobin is normal though.

Once I got home, will be assesing why this downtrend happened. Will keep you posted.

Ciao.

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Four Week Supply

I was able to refill another stash of ARV’s. These will last 4 months. In all fairness, RITM-ARG made an effort to make my refill and CD4 schedule into one scheduled visit. Thanks to that grumpy nurse.

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It was a rainy-monsoon day, getting there was like suicide. Refill schedules these days are much easier than before (they have now a “more” efficient” system of segregating refills, check ups and Cd4 testing – I should say a slight kudos good job). Slight, CD4 testing system still needs improvement.

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Bottle Disposal

Went to RITM last Monday for another refill of my ARV’s. I came at around 10am and was surprised on how many patients waiting for their cd4 results. There are quite a few and my turn was at the 61st queue! Just wow.

Good thing I have given spare PHILHEALTH forms so there was no need to fill out and wait in vain. After a few minutes, my number was called and guided to nurse’s station for ARV prescription. One thing I don’t like with this male nurse is how he approached me while conducting this mini interview… I missed around 4 doses of Combivir last month and he was calculating my adherence score. He asked a stricking question of WHY?… I answered sarcastically, I KNOW, BEEN USING IT FOR 3 YEARS.

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Instead of staying longer inside the clinic and prolly contemplating to argue more.. I decided to relax outside and came to see an old friend. Made some catch up and had lunch together.

I have brought a paper bag for my ARVs. More convenient than bringing big bags. Now the problem is how do I dispose these boxes and bottles…? My mom doesn’t know about my status and it ia kinda hard to just leave these unattended.

HIV Cases in the Philippines Surged High in April 2013

I feel bad every time when HIV cases are reported and emphasized. Let’s be responsible and save lives.
Protect yourselves. This is not the time be complacent with intimate activities.

No condom No entry.

Re-Thinking AIDS in the Philippines

HIV cases in the Philippines surged high in April 2013 as reflected in the April 2013 HIV and AIDS Registry of the National Epidemiology Center of the Department of Health (DOH). A total of 388 new HIV cases for the said month alone was reported to the DOH, adding to 13,179 total cases since 1984. April 2013 cases is 67% higher comparing to last year’s registry (233 persons).

April 2013 Philippine HIV Registry

Sexual contact (356 persons), particularly among men who have sex with men (287 males), topped the most reported mode of transmission for this month followed by injecting drug users (32 persons). Young people ages 15-24 are comprised of 119 cases, making it to 414 youth for the first four months of 2013.

It is not surprising that HIV cases reflected in the HIV Registry keep on  increasing for the past years based on the following factors:

1. Access to free HIV testing…

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HIV and ARV adherence

Thia is my 3rd year of being HIV positive. I got my first ARV – lamivudine, zidovudine and nevirapine, I got excited coz I know these are life savers. I had the chance to switch to Efavirenz as opposed to Nevirapine due to side effects. It took me more than a year to cope with EFV’s neuro-psychological effects. As of the moment, I can pretty say I can manage whatever EFV is to throw. I can even do my travels while being ‘high’ with Efavirenz.

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The first 2 years of my medicine intake, 100% adherence rate. Thankful as my CD4 level went up the hill to its current 710 mark. But this 3rd year is quite different, I no longer excited to take my medicines, alarms and notifications are slowly degrading my on time performance. There was even a month where I missed 3-4 doses. Hype is no longer with me.

I feel weak, depressed and ‘purpose-less’.

Third Year of Being Poz

This marks my third year of being HIV positive. Honestly, I can’t really recall when was the exact date I went to Makati Medical Center and have myself tested, I know it was in between February and March. The 3 years of my conversion was a rollercoaster ride, too steep ups and too free fall when going down. This was the time when you will learn to appreciate who you are and what to perceive of what’s going to happen, being care free is no longer an option. Taking extra care of yourself more than the usual, when I was still considered HIV-negative, should now be your top most priority. 

Novice events took place the last 3 years – meeting new friends and acquaintances, finding someone to be a confidant, being more open to my feelings and a wider range of “activities”.

The first thing came into my mind after being diagnosed was to find someone to talk to and share what happened that afternoon. I went online and found some online forums and communities, which was a bit of help. A couple of weeks have past, I decided to create this blog in hopes of releasing tensions inside and let other reader know how I feel. Through this blog, I have met several people of the same sero-status which turned out to be ok.. though some were not. These people, which some I now call friends were the ones who helped me of somehow forgetting the past. The first year of being diagnosed was exciting because I tend to meet new people almost every week. From the old-school ARG clinic of RITM, to its weekly activities, to check ups with Ate Ana. Seeing new stuff after this were somehow great. I knew I wasn’t the only one.

My second year was not that blessed and turmoil started to pound. It affected both my professional and personal environment. It wasn’t easy for me to sustain myself. I think this year, I started creating a poz-Twitter account. I have some friends you used this and I joined the bandwagon. I have to admit, it was fun and there were lots of chances meeting new people. More than what RITM-ARG has provided. As the chemistry principle of entropy and enthalpy, the more you know.. the greater the chance of uncertainties. Which I proved to be true. It was good at the start but its quality started to decline month after month. It seemed to have contributed a big chunk of what my second year gave to me. I’m not putting blame, just stating what I see. If I happen to check my Twitter timeline, all I see are some types of crap. Not all, but most. Way far from before I started it. No longer that active coz I decided to focus more on blogging and meeting good and trustworthy friends. Just like the old times.

This 3rd year should be my rebound year. Bouncing back from where I left last 2011 and have a clear mindset of what to expect. No more chummy bullshits.

Or perhaps, throw and clean some trash out of my closet. Eradicate all that triggers. I think that’s the best way.

This blog will not be that long as most of the topics were discussed or will be discussed. I’ll keep you posted.

My third year statistics:

CD4 count – 710 units
Viral load – 80++ units, I can’t really recall
All other blood parameters: I think is normal
Mind state: sane
Emotional state: still unstable
Physical state: Good, but not for the fucking choosy
Financial state: I dunno, I’m poor

*by the way, what the hell happened to other poz bloggers? Where are you? Hope everything is fine.

Assertion

Two weeks ago, just in time for the World AIDS Day celebration, it suddenly came into my mind to disclose my status to one of my ex. When I was having my CD4 test like 3 weeks ago, it popped my topsy-turvy mind that I need someone to be a confidant or someone to talk to regarding this (as suggested by Ate Ellen) and I thought of my ex. The reason is, I trust him more than anyone else. I know it has been more than 5 years since we parted ways but the trust is still there and cannot be undone.

Days like this I want to talk to someone and have a reliable shoulder to lean on so why not try.

Right that very moment I sent an sms asking us to meet over the weekend for some coffee and dinner. He asked why and what for, I told him just to come and we will be talking something serious about myself. 

I still have a week to gain confidence and was thinking of how to do it. 

The weekend came and was waiting from him to remind me that we are about to meet. No sms nor call.. no nothing from him. Sunday has passed and still, I was like a spider waiting for a damsel fly.

I asked a poz friend on how to deal with this, I asked whether if we can just talk over the phone or exchange messages. My friend told me not to – “you won’t see his reactions once you disclosed your status” True enough.

I decided not to push through with it, perhaps my ex is not the best person to disclose my status. I am waiting for something from him that will make him a deserving guy to further give my trust to – ASSERTION.