Friday, August 15, 2008

To transfer or not to transfer? That's the question!

Today I read the incredible story of Pinoy Poz on his blog it's about his decision to transfer in RITM. After reading his entry I started to think. If I'm going to transfer to RITM it will be cheaper and cost efficient for me since I'm from down South and RITM is nearer compared to San Lazaro Hospital. Right now I'm weighting my options. If I go to RITM it means that I have to start from scratch meaning I will undergo battery of test and I don't know how will I tell them that I was a client of SLH and I want to transfer there in RITM. If I decided to transfer, how will I tell my doctor in San Lazaro that I will be transferring to RITM? Will they get hurt? Will they get offended? I don't know, right now I'm confused.

After reading Pinoy Poz blog I talked to my friend who's recently been detected positive of HIV. They also went to RITM this week and he confirmed that the facilities and rooms are way better than San Lazaro Hospital H4 Pavillion, in fact he even told me that if ever I need to be confined there I will be placed in a private and airconditioned room. Yes, you heard it right! A private airconditioned room awaits you in RITM just in case you need confinement. Less people meaning less being recognized by someone you know! Unlike in H4 Pavillion in San Lazaro you have to passed by alot of Departments especially the Tuberculosis Building it's like it is a requirement for you to parade first to the TB building before you can get to H4 Pavillion. When I was confined there, Oh my God! I have to endure 2 weeks of mosquito biting, staying in ward with fellow male patients. The No. 1 advice of the doctor, don't be depressed, it will decrease your CD4! How can I not be depressed if you see other people suffering and how life is treating you on those four corners of that room. If only walls could feel the pain and suffering of those people whom he have witness I'm sure he will be depressed too!

That's why I'm going to talk to my parent's about my option and will see what are they going to say about it! I'd also like to solicit any advice that you can give. Should I transfer in RITM or should I stay in H4 Pavillion in San Lazaro Hospital?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My Dreams and Goals in Life!

It's 12:30 in the evening (Philippine time), I became suddenly emotional about what's happening in my life. I thought of my goals and dreams in life way back when I was still undectable from the sonar of HIV/ AIDS radar.
My goals and dreams are:
To have a son or a daughter of my own.
Yes, that's correct! I want to have a kid of my own. Actually I was asking my friends if they know any girls who want to carry my child and in return I'll give her money and a 9 months all expenses paid, worry free caring. Provided that after giving birth she will sign a document that she will not run after the child. You're asking why not marry? Why don't you? Have you seen the statistics of marriages that's being annuled or divorced lately? Especially in my situation I experienced both worlds people it's like a switch sometimes you can turn it off and be straight again but most of the time it's on, you know what I mean? Another reason is, no offense to all the wives there but everytime I see couples fighting with one another mastering the art of throwing anything that they can grab. Oh man you won't believe me I experienced it first hand courtesy of my straight friends and their loving housewives. That's why I told myself "Bakit ako mag aasawa eh di parang kumuha ako ng bato na ipinukpok ko sa ulo ko!"
I believe that you cannot say that you are successfull unless you have a successor! I want to raise my on kid, nourish him/her with my love and affection, giving him/her what he/she needs. I am imagining myself going to Glorietta 4, there will be a minimum of 3 cars that will park along the driveway of Glorietta 4. The first car is a white Chevrolet Suburban, the second car is a white 7 series BMW and the third car is a white Toyota Landcruiser. All the drivers of these 3 cars are wearing all black uniform with headsets on their ears. The doors of the Chevrolet Suburban will open and 4 men also wearing their black uniforms with their headsets on their ears will go down and one of them will open the back door of the 7 series BMW. Wearing my cream Cuban shirt made by Bergamo paired with black khaki pants and black leather sandals I will go down together with my kid. At the same time additional 2 black uniformed men and 2 nanny's wearing their white uniform will go down from the Toyota Landcruiser and will follow us while we are roaming around the mall. You will ask "Why do you have alot of bodyguards?" Yes, I dreamed to be a politician at least to be a representative of our district in congress. But as soon as I came to my senses that I am bisexual, gay or homosexual whatever you may call it, I dropped the idea of being a politician. You will ask again "Why?" Simply because if you want your trash, secrets or your bad deeds to come out without making any effort the easiest way is to join politics and your enemies will do the job for you at their own expense, even if it's not true.
But all of these is now just a dream that will never come true. My doctor said that if ever I will get someone pregnant the chances of the mother and the child of getting infected with HIV is high. That's why I don't want to take the risk of getting them infected because I just want to have a kid. Now my goal is to make the life of other people better in my own sim ple way and not to ruin them.
It's so ironic many people will say to you especially in H4 Pavillion "Be Positive!" I always tell them "Aren't we POSITIVE already? and all of us we laugh. That's how we take things nowadays. But despite of this trial in my life I still continue to dream, I try to achieve my goals in life for without them there will be no reason for me to stay in this beautiful world.

That's why to all of you, continue to dream
even if it is......

Monday, August 4, 2008

Things to know about HIV/ AIDS

What are the main routes of HIV transmission?

These are the main ways in which someone can become infected with HIV:

Unprotected penetrative sex with someone who is infected.
Injection or transfusion of contaminated blood or blood products, donations of semen (artificial insemination), skin grafts or organ transplants taken from someone who is infected.
From a mother who is infected to her baby; this can occur during pregnancy, at birth and through breastfeeding.
Sharing unsterilised injection equipment that has previously been used by someone who is infected.

Can I be infected if my partner doesn't have HIV?

No. Like all sexually transmitted infections, HIV cannot be 'created', only passed on. If you are sure that your partner does not have HIV, then there is no risk of acquiring it, even if you do have unprotected sex (whether it be vaginal, anal or oral). However, pregnancy and other sexually transmitted diseases (if your partner has one) remain a risk, so you should still use a condom or other suitable form of birth control wherever possible.

How safe is oral sex?

Although it is possible to become infected with HIV through oral sex, the risk of becoming infected in this way is much lower than the risk of infection via unprotected sexual intercourse with a man or woman.

When giving oral sex to a man (sucking or licking a man's penis) a person could become infected with HIV if infected semen came into contact with damaged and receding gums, or any cuts or sores they might have in their mouth.

Giving oral sex to a woman (licking a woman's vulva or vagina) is also considered relatively low risk. Transmission could take place if infected sexual fluids from a woman got into the mouth of her partner. The likelihood of infection might be increased if there is menstrual blood involved or if the woman is infected with another sexually transmitted disease.

The likelihood of either a man or a woman becoming infected with HIV as a result of receiving oral sex is extremely low, as saliva does not contain infectious quantities of HIV.

What are the chances of becoming infected with HIV if he doesn't come inside me?

Whilst research suggests that high concentrations of HIV can sometimes be detected in precum, it is difficult to judge whether HIV is present in sufficient quantities for infection to occur. To guard against the possibility of infection with HIV or any other STD it is best to practise safer sex, i.e. sex with a condom.

Is deep kissing a route of HIV transmission?

Deep or open-mouthed kissing is a very low risk activity in terms of HIV transmission. HIV is only present in saliva in very minute amounts, insufficient to cause infection with HIV.There has been only one documented case of someone becoming infected with HIV through kissing; a result of exposure to infected blood during open-mouthed kissing. If you or your partner have blood in your mouth, you should avoid kissing until the bleeding stops.

Are lesbians or other women who have sex with women at risk for HIV?

Lesbians/bisexual women are not at high risk of contracting HIV through woman-to-woman sex. Very few women are known to have passed HIV on to other women sexually, though it is theoretically possible if infected vaginal fluids or blood from an HIV positive partner enter the other woman's vagina (perhaps on fingers or sex toys).

Is unprotected anal intercourse more of an HIV risk than vaginal or oral sex?

Unprotected anal intercourse does carry a higher risk than most other forms of sexual activity. The lining of the rectum has fewer cells than that of the vagina, and therefore can be damaged more easily, causing bleeding during intercourse. This can then be a route into the bloodstream for infected sexual fluids or blood. There is also a risk to the insertive partner during anal intercourse, though this is lower than the risk to the receptive partner.

Does 'fingering' during sex carry a risk of HIV transmission?

Inserting a finger into someone's anus or vagina would only be an HIV risk if the finger had cuts or sores on it and if there was direct contact with HIV infected blood, vaginal fluids or semen from the other person. There might also be a risk if the person doing the fingering had HIV and their finger was bleeding.Is there a connection between HIV and other STDs (sexually transmitted diseases)?HIV and other STDs can impact upon each other. The presence of STDs in an HIV infected person can increase the risk of HIV transmission. This can be through a genital ulcer which could bleed or through increased genital discharge.

An HIV negative person who has an STD can be at increased risk of becoming infected with HIV through sex. This can happen if the STD causes ulceration or breaks in the skin (e.g. syphilis or herpes), or if it stimulates an immune response in the genital area (e.g. chlamydia or gonorrhoea). HIV transmission is more likely in those with ulcerative STDs than non-ulcerative.

Using condoms during sex is the best way to prevent the sexual transmission of diseases, including HIV.

Can I become infected with HIV through normal social contact/activities such as shaking hands/toilet seats/swimming pools/sharing cutlery/kissing/sneezes and coughs?

No. HIV is not an airborne, water-borne or food-borne virus, and does not survive for very long outside the human body. Therefore ordinary social contact such as kissing, shaking hands, coughing and sharing cutlery does not result in the virus being passed from one person to another.

Can I become infected with HIV from needles on movie/cinema seats?

There have been a number of stories circulating via the Internet and e-mail, about people becoming infected from needles left on cinema seats and in coin return slots. These rumours appear to have no factual basis.

For HIV infection to take place in this way the needle would need to contain infected blood with a high level of infectious virus. If a person was then pricked with an infected needle, they could become infected, but there is still only a 0.4% chance of this happening.

Although discarded needles can transfer blood and blood-borne illnesses such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV, the risk of infection taking place in this way is extremely low.

Is there a risk of HIV transmission when having a tattoo, body piercing or visiting the barbers?

If instruments contaminated with blood are not sterilised between clients then there is a risk of HIV transmission. However, people who carry out body piercing or tattooing should follow procedures called 'universal precautions', which are designed to prevent the transmission of blood borne infections such as HIV and Hepatitis B.

When visiting the barbers there is no risk of infection unless the skin is cut and infected blood gets into the wound. Traditional 'cut-throat' razors used by barbers now have disposable blades, which should only be used once, thus eliminating the risk from blood-borne infections such as Hepatitis and HIV.

Are healthcare workers at risk from HIV through contact with HIV positive patients?

The risk to healthcare workers being exposed to HIV is extremely low, especially if they follow universal healthcare precautions. Everyday casual contact does not expose anyone, including healthcare workers, to HIV. The main risk is through accidental injuries from needles and other sharp objects that may be contaminated with HIV.

It has been estimated that the risk of infection from a needlestick injury is less than 1 percent. In the UK for instance, there have been five documented cases of HIV transmission through occupational exposure in the healthcare setting, and twelve possible/probable cases. In the US, there were 56 documented cases of occupational HIV transmission up to June 2000.

The risk posed by a needlestick injury may be higher if it is a deep injury; if it is made with a hollow bore needle; if the source patient has a high viral load; or if the sharp instrument is visibly contaminated with blood. For further information, see our HIV and healthcare workers page.

Am I at risk of becoming infected with HIV when visiting the doctor or dentist?

Transmission of HIV in a healthcare setting is extremely rare. All health professionals are required to follow infection control procedures when caring for any patient. These procedures are called universal precautions for infection control. They are designed to protect both patients and healthcare professionals from the transmission of blood-borne diseases such as Hepatitis B and HIV.

If blood splashes into my eye can I become infected with HIV?

Research suggests that the risk of HIV infection in this way is extremely small. A very small number of people - usually in a healthcare setting - have become infected with HIV as a result of blood splashes in the eye.

Can I become infected with HIV through biting?

Infection with HIV in this way is unusual. There have only been a couple of documented cases of HIV transmission resulting from biting. In these particular cases, severe tissue tearing and damage were reported in addition to the presence of blood.

Can I be infected with HIV through contact with animals such as dogs and cats?

No. HIV is a Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It only affects humans. There are some other types of immunodeficiency viruses that specifically affect cats and other primates, namely the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV). These viruses are of no risk to humans.

Some people have expressed concern that they could become infected if
scratched by an animal that has previously scratched an HIV positive person. This is exceptionally unlikely, and there are no documented cases of transmission occurring in this way.

Can I get HIV from a mosquito?

No, it is not possible to get HIV from mosquitoes. When taking blood from someone, mosquitoes do not inject blood from any previous person. The only thing that a mosquito injects is saliva, which acts as a lubricant and enables it to feed more efficiently.

Can HIV be transmitted in household settings?

HIV is overwhelmingly transmitted through sexual contact, through intravenous drug use, through infected blood donations and from mother to child during pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. HIV is not transmitted through everyday social contact. There have however been a few cases in which it is thought that family members have infected each other through ways other than those stated above.

A case in Australia in the late 1990s involved two sisters. Both tested positive within a month of each other. The risk exposure for the older sister was identified as being sexual contact she had with a Russian man. The younger sister had had no obvious risk exposures, and investigators concluded that the only possible risk exposure was them sharing a razor to shave their legs. Further analysis established that they did have the same Russian virus strain, not commonly found in Australia.

The other case involved a mother and son, again in Australia, who both tested HIV positive. He had had risk exposures in Thailand some years before, whereas the mother could not identify a possible exposure. The son had had the skin condition psoriasis some time earlier, and the mother's application of the cream to his skin lesions was identified as the only possible route of infection. Analysis showed that they both had the same strain, found in Thailand and not common in Australia.

Whilst HIV transmission between family members and members of the same household is possible, it occurs in extremely low numbers and documented cases are very rare.

Can I become infected with HIV if I inject drugs and share the needles with someone else, without sterilising them?

There is a possibility of becoming infected with HIV if you share injecting equipment with someone who has the virus. If HIV infected blood remains within the bore (inside) of the needle or in the syringe and someone else then uses it to inject themselves, that blood can be flushed into the bloodstream. Sharing needles, syringes, spoons, filters or water can pass on the virus. Disinfecting equipment between uses can reduce the likelihood of transmission, but does not eliminate it. More information can be found in our HIV and drug use page.

Can I transmit HIV to my baby during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

An HIV-infected pregnant woman can pass the virus on to her unborn baby either before or during birth. HIV can also be passed on during breastfeeding. If a woman knows that she is infected with HIV, there are drugs she can take to greatly reduce the chances of her child becoming infected. Other ways to lower the risk include choosing to have a caesarean section delivery and not breastfeeding. Read more about HIV and pregnancy.

Does donating blood or having a blood transfusion mean that I am putting myself at risk from HIV?

Some people have been infected through a transfusion of infected blood. In most countries, however, all the blood used for transfusions is now tested for HIV. In those countries where the blood has been tested, HIV infection through blood transfusions is now extremely rare. Blood products, such as those used by people with haemophilia, are now heat-treated to make them safe.

Donating blood at an approved donation centre should carry no risk, as all equipment should be sterile and blood collection needles are not reused.

Can HIV be transmitted outside of the body?

Whilst HIV may live for a short while outside of the body, HIV transmission has not been reported as a result of contact with spillages or small traces of blood, semen or other bodily fluids. This is partly because HIV dies quite quickly once exposed to the air, and also because spilled fluids would have to get into a person's bloodstream to infect them.

Scientists agree that HIV does not survive well in the environment, making the chance of environmental transmission remote. To obtain data on the survival of HIV, laboratory studies usually use artificially high concentrations of laboratory-grown virus. Although these concentrations of HIV can be kept alive for days or even weeks under controlled conditions, studies have shown that drying of these high concentrations of HIV reduces the amount of infectious virus by 90 to 99 percent within a few hours.

Since the HIV concentrations used in laboratory studies are much higher than those actually found in blood or other specimens, the real risk of HIV infection from dried bodily fluids is probably close to zero. Incorrect interpretation of conclusions drawn from laboratory studies have unnecessarily alarmed some people. has additional facts about HIV and AIDS.

Does circumcision protect against HIV?

There is very strong evidence showing that circumcised men are about half as likely as uncircumcised men to acquire HIV through heterosexual sex. However, circumcision does not make a man immune to HIV infection, it just means that it's less likely to happen. Read more about HIV and circumcision.

If I am taking antiretroviral drugs and have an 'undetectable' viral load, am I still infectious?

Even if your tests show that you have very low levels of HIV in your blood, the virus will not have been totally eradicated and you will still be apable of infecting others. Some drugs do not penetrate the genitals very well and so do not disable HIV as effectively there as they do in the blood. This means that while you may have little active virus showing up on blood tests, there may still be quite a lot of HIV in your semen or vaginal fluids. Transmission may be less likely when you have a low viral load, but it is still possible so you should always take appropriate precautions.