Long Term Effects Part 2

When a large-sized shirt is too big and a medium one is too small. Being skinny fat is a daunting situation to take. You look fit enough but not so in the middle core area. One long term effects of taking ARV’s is Lipodystrophy, the changes in body fat usage and redistribution associated with metabolic disturbances in PLHIV.

Resource Link: https://aidsinfo.nih.gov/understanding-hiv-aids/fact-sheets/22/63/hiv-medicines-and-side-effects

I have been taking ARV’s for the past 7 years and never changed my regimen, Lamivudine/Zidovudine and Efavirenz. I’m happy with what I am taking since it means older medicines still work with my body and I have enough pipeline buffer to take newer ones in the future. I’m not happy about it due to its side effects, both long term and short term. I think I have discussed about some effects of it on my previous post.

Lipodystrophy affects one’s self-esteem since it alters your physical attributes and changes how you look like. For some, shrinking of the extremities such as arms and legs are common. You look like a walking praying mantis, dried up and about to dismantle any second, and it is not really good. Well, others will judge how sickly and “unhealthy” you like and it will drastically pull your esteem to lowest of low. Redistribution of body fats are common as well and the most targeted area is the core – belly as you say it.

Overall, it is not a good experience and will somehow affect your way of life. The good news is there are ways to fix it. Eating the right kinds of food, taking less fatty and sugary meals, eating more fruits and vegetables. Most importantly, working out.

Speaking of which, I have been working out the past couple of years with a goal to fix what’s needed to be fixed – my disproportional body aesthetics. I look normal in some ways but when you try to take of my clothes, everything is blasted and it doesn’t seem right. I have enrolled myself to Anytime Fitness so I can have the full flexibility of the schedule.

The attempt is tremendous and I need extra effort to achieve the goal. However, it has becoming extremely frustrated. Seems like nothing has changed, some few cuts and tone and that’s it. Looks like I am doing something incorrectly, wasting my time, effort, and money. Giving up is almost inevitable. From 3-4 times a week, I now go 2 times a week.

Pretty demotivating knowing how superficial the community is. Comparing yourself to others and asking yourself why you can’t do it seems like the worse case, and that’s where am I at.

I’ll try to keep myself up and probably search other options for it to work.  To those who are experiencing the same, hopefully we can surpass it.

 

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The Blame Game

HIV infection rate in the Philippines is growing and the blame game is ongoing, the government who lacks will to mitigate the crisis, the person involved for being risky or the exponential evolution of technology which places everything within reach.

You can’t really pinpoint something just to cover other else’s shortcomings. The Philippine government is slowly catching up when it come to prevention and information dissemenation. They have provided a straight up insurance for PLHIV thru Philhealth, they do information campaign, though not enough. The person behind the risky acts? Simple, they aren’t fully informed and well educated on the things they do. The solution? Fully accessible information, open mindedness, and acceptance. A system that will empower an individual to get tested. This is already enforced by local groups such as Love Yourself and the like. Technology is constant, it rapidly changes every year. You put the blame why a person has been infected because of Grindr or Tinder. Internet and technology is already a necessity. 

These three take part in preventing the undoable situation. It all boils down to proper information at hand. When you’re fully equipped with facts, figures, and details, use technology in a proper sense, risk will be minimized. Girl, you can search your crush’s name in Facebook, what more researching about HIV. Meeting someone in the 70s or 80s in a disco, bar, pub or parking lot doesn’t have much difference meeting someone in Grindr, Tinder or Facebook.

If John is unaware of the risks of having online encounters, it can be easily known through internet. If John doesn’t have an internet, government comes in. If John knows it will be safer to use protection during online hook ups, risks are greatly reduced.

You can’t blame one. Everyone takes part of thr HIV figures the Philippines currently have. The freedom of meeting someone online for hookups is all yours. You just have to know the risks involved, how to minimize it and who are your resources when it comes to proper and correct information, and that includes you.

I know there are different views on this. But the goal is just the same, saving those risky behaviours from HIV, promoting safe encounters, and placing extra care, assistance and support to those who have it.

Related article from Rappler

http://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/in-depth/173761-orgy-tinder-social-media-sex-hiv-aids-youth-philippines

When In Taipei

June, one of the most colorful time of the year. I haven’t had the chance to join parades, celebration or what not. The closest one I have is when I was in Taipei, Taipei where they were urging for equal rights and gay marriage. I should say, I was very impressed how open and liberated Taiwanese people are. Of all Asian countries, they are in front of the line when it comes to LGBT issues. Now that they made history after legalizing marriage, I think Taiwan supersedes Thailand when it comes to LGBT issues. I know they are incomparable and probably have their own definitions but the point boils down to LGBT.

One night, I was strolling around Ximending area, Taipei’s shopping, fashion, and sub-culture district known for its bright lights, street food, clubs, and pubs. And met these people along the side of the streets peacefully expressing their minds about equality and gay marriage. Knowing I’m in an Asian “Chinese” territory, a celebration this big is quite surprising. I was there, standing and trying to observe how they do it. They marched so I followed along. It was just a night of expression and democracy. Not like the celebration vibe that we used to. Months after, it paid off and I’m overwhelmingly happy for them. 

From my experience, Taiwan hosts a good number of people who are very welcoming and open, unlike their mainland counterpart. Defintely good and wide selection of food and of course, good looking guys. Taiwan is a melting pot of China, Japan and South Korea. I’m a magnet for them.

There are a few good memories of Taipei of course and perhaps I’ll just keep it to myself. If I have stayed there, maybe I’m no longer single. Lol. 

Sounds like moving there is a pretty good idea? But please, no stingky tofu.

EFV’s Long Term Effects

See that Total Cholesterol field? It’s above the normal range and it flags me everytime I get my company annual checkup. It places me on the risk of having heart problems or any cholesterol-based ailments. I know this is a long-term effect of taking Efavirenz. I have been taking my cocktail – Lamivudine/Zidovudine/Efavirenz – the past 7 years. 

My initial side effect at hand was low RBC due to Lamivudine/Zidovudine but it was already taken cared of and it’s now on normal values. This time, cholesterol. have been talking to Google on how to possibly manage this. I’m actually quite confused why but I have been doing exercises and workouts and yet, having unfavorable results. Looks like it is within my eating habits. Fried food, fast food, oily and greasy mess. I already asked mon to cut out the frying menu and focus more on stews and grills. Taking the fat and skin out which is really my guilty pleasure. Maybe I’ll try the new pattern for a couple of months and see what will happen next. Being hospitalized is the least thing I want. 

5 Lifestyle changes to lower blood cholesterol

Broken Tooter

It was a normal solo tour of Hong Kong. Strolling around Tsim Tsa Tsui, watching the Hong Kong skyline, window shopping in Mongkok and grabbing some of the best Chinese food. What makes it memorable was the kinky sideline activities I had.

I have a great friend who lives and works in Hong Kong, we met when he and his boyfriend visited the Philippines. Remember this post? I promised them to pay a visit when I’m in Hong Kong. But unfortunately, they broke up. I’m in constant contact with this guy and I let him know I’m around. We met and he showed me around and had lunch together. It was a good time, catching up with a good old friend. Having ice cream by the promenade and walking by the business district.

On the second day, I wanted to try its famous nightlife, of course, as an introvert, I can’t really rely on myself and what I did was to open Grindr and possibly meet someone to be with, suggest which bars and clubs to go to show me around Lan Kwai Fong. It didn’t take too long to find a good companion. We met after office hours, had a little chit chat and got some dumpling dinner. He was cool and there were no awkwardness. After dinner, we went to Lan Kwai Fong and scouted some gay bars, we went to this place which was quite laid back, good music and ambiance. He asked me if he can invite his friend, “it’s ok, go ahead” I uttered. Minutes later, we met his friend and god, he sure looks good. Dressed neatly, eye glasses on, sleek hair and the way he smell was pretty inviting. After a couple of hours, we transferred to a more edgy club with loud music, a dance floor and definitely more guys. Minutes later, friend 1 needs to go home due to the fact that it was a mid week. Me and the cute friend were left behind, had a little talk and what not. Knowing how good looking he was, several other guys tried to butt in wanting to have a talk. It got a little awkward to a point that I’m no longer enjoying the time. Cute guy then decided to bail out, I don’t know why but he may have met a hookup or what. So I was left there alone, not knowing what to do. Hours later, I felt pity and decided to left. What happened was no big deal, it happens and I just don’t know what to do after it.

My last day proved to be a memorable one. Someone messaged me from Grindr and asking for us to meet. I said why not, it’s my free time and I can go anywhere. I can just go somewhere after meeting this guy. He asked me to go to his place, he was just ok but hey, his body was crazy as hell. I can’t describe how good his physique is. I know for myself that this will be going to be a hookup or something so I mentally prepared myself what to do. It was indeed a hookup but with a little twist, a CF hookup. For all you know, CF is ChemFun, that’s what I know. Correct me if am mistaken. Basically, there are drugs involved while you’re having fun. I thought it was just poppers, but hell no. He came up with this tooter apparatus and started to inhale fumes from it. I’m not sure what chemical is in it but for sure it was ice. I blatantly declined when he tried to offer me. He was already getting agitated which I know is an effect of that drug and it made me nervous like crazy. He was still intact and knows what’s happening, just that I don’t know what he might do. Knowing I’m in his lair, I just obliged and went with the flow. He even inhaled out the fumes and blew it to my mouth. Like 2 fishes brooding each other. I immediately felt the high. He offered again, but I abruptly decline. Once is enough. As we do our thing, his tooter fell and broken into pieces. I thought he had another spare but luckily, it’s the only one. A big sigh of relief. I packed up as soon as I can and left. Bye. Blocked. 

It was a thrilling experience I must say. I didn’t expect it to happen. The high feeling was still lingering when I got back to the hotel. I don’t felt molested or what but I was rather caught off guard. Still no regrets. It was an experience. Before catching my flight, I decided to shrug what happened that day, went to a coffee shop, guy watching, as if nothing has happened. Thank god that tooter broke down but I still recall how beautiful his body was.

The Least Thing You Can Do

It has been 7 years since I was last diagnosed. Roughly. I don’t recall the exact date but it was definitely between February and March. The feeling of going back and forth to Makati Medical Center and until the diagnosis was given is such a remarkable experience. My overall physical health has greatly improved, though there were some instances that I needed to be in the hospital for some check up and medication. Went twice due to amoebiasis and another due to a minor fracture. It wasn’t good but then I realized one thing, to those people who are PLHIV and keeping it to themselves, the least thing you need to be is being hospitalized. You will be in a situation where you’re forcefully to disclose your status either to a family member or a friend. When you are rushed to the hospital and your stock of ARVs are left home, you’re done. You can’t just ask your mom to get it for you without her asking what it is for or ask the doctor if they have in their stock list. Girl, you are doomed.

When I was on a leg boot for 2 months, I couldn’t go out and organize my PHILHEALTH insurance, which is needed to claim your sets of ARVs, and what more to personally get my ARV refill in RITM. My tablets were about to run out and I had no choice but to think of how can I go about it. Luckily, I have a close poz friend who goes to RITM, I humbly ask if when he’s going and if he can claim the medicine on my behalf. Surprisingly, he agreed and even offered to bring it to my house. I asked the ARG staff if I can follow up my papers after being off cast and yes, they allowed me to.

Cutting the story short, the lesson here is to take care of yourself, lessen the chance of being hospitalized and if the time comes, you need to have at least a confidant where you can share your challenges with. For those who have disclosed their statuses to their families or good friends, good for you, you have one less thing to think of.

To my good friend, thanks for carrying my medicines. I owe you something. Like Starbucks, pizza or something?

Goals for 2017

It’s been a while since my last blog post. I’m not really running out of ideas but rather having inconsistencies when it come to creating one, and this 2017, one of my goals is to at least post once a month. Along with this, I have primary goals for this year. One is to acquire a skills certification, I’m still deciding yet what certification course to take. I’m already eyeing some IT certification classes like ITIL or Project Management. There’s also a possibility to take Quality Assurance, anything related to ISO practices and even passing a Civil Service examination. Honestly, at this point in time, I’m still in the middle of a quarter-life crisis and pretty malleable where to go. But for now, my aim is to improve and widen my skill set to help me achieve my long term goals.

Travel more and further is another goal for this year. I’m starting to scrap the non-essential things to spend like weekly hanging out, dinner, movie, Starbucks and what not. I also started to save using a piggy bank to effectively save for a year end travel. If not plausible, by 2018. I’m also trying to complete all ASEAN countries, only 3 more to go – Myanmar, Laos and Brunei. Not a priority but an achievement if I can make it. Maybe I can also share some of my travel experiences here? (I know there’s a lot to say lol).

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Fourth is of course maintaining my well being. The golden rule of PLHIV is to take care of themselves and the least thing I can do is take my medications religiously. MY target is to aim for 100% adherence and maintain my undetectable viral load status. Practice safe sex is still a priority. It doesn’t mean I can go wild and rowdy with this undetectable status. So please, take care of yours too. We don’t want to go the hospital asking the doctor to remove a growing cauliflower in your butthole or be tested positive in Herpes or Chlamydia and die. Improving my aesthetic part is also in progress.

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Fifth, improve and boost my mental health. Not that I’m crazy or Schizophrenic, but rather to alleviate the depression I’m going through. Lessening the burdens one at a time. I know it may take a while but I have been in constant effort of doing so. In line with this, seeking improvements in my self esteem. Reducing the need to be social anxious. Try getting new sets of friends,but of course, by choosing them wisely. I’m not getting any younger.

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Lastly, maybe stay committed to achieve these. No one can really help but myself. I know it will be hard but I’d rather try. I have given up and I think another chance has been bestowed. SO why not.

How about you, do you have goals for this year? Write it down and let me know, maybe we can share some ways on how to achieve it.