Contributed by: Renee (Malate, Manila: April 7, 2014)
Image Source: rayannesthoughts.blogspot.com
I was given the opportunity to share my story to several doctors, midwives and nurses for a Tuberculosis and HIV Collaboration Seminar in Angeles, Pampanga last week. By the time I entered the venue I have no idea what to expect since that was only my second time to disclose about my situation. I was nervous and shaking. One doctor even asked me to keep it natural and relaxed.
It feels like I’m about to dive deep in the middle of an ocean full of sharks about to devour my soul. The speaker gave a signal and I joined the participants who were seated in a circular manner. All I saw was their eyes looking at me and waiting for my first few words. I almost choked on my own words, but felt as if I’ve been doing this for a long time as I continue to utter the phrases I needed.
There is no level at which I can describe the elation of disclosing my status as an HIV positive individual to several people I have never met before. I remember the time when I denied all allegations about me being HIV positive. Looking back at myself and comprehending my journey made me realize how clueless I was back then about HIV or AIDS. All my fears flushed down the toilet as they were replaced by an emerging feeling of confidence and strength to continue living a positive and normal life.