Contributed by: Fantasy X, Dian Street
I will never forget the moment this girl asked me why am I volunteering for Positive Action Foundation Philippines, Incorporated (PAFPI). She assumed that I am not an HIV positive individual and that I am not an affected family member either. But when I told her that I am a client and that I was diagnosed last May 29, 2013 at Manila Social Hygiene Clinic, I saw how surprised she was.
After that conversation, we made it a point to share countless moments of laughter and endless jokes every time we cross our paths. I wonder if there’s a reason behind her smile. I suddenly had the urge to ask her about it. And here’s her story.
I wanted to get out of this cage I am in. The only thread of emotion I am feeling right now is the numbness of consuming alcohol and drugs. Three hours has passed by and I can still feel the impact of knowing that I am an HIV positive person. I feel like my life is composed of sarcasm I cannot comprehend. Should I jump for joy that I’m about kill myself?
I decided to confront my problem and seek help. I went straight to La Union Social Hygiene Clinic where I got tested and they referred me to Ilocos Training Regional Medical Center or ITRMC where I can seek medication and treatment. The head of their HIV and AIDS Core Team or HACT explained to me in detail what HIV is and suggested me to veer away from sex work.
I was lucky to meet the outreach workers of PAFPI who encouraged me to regain the smile on my face. I took the opportunity to volunteer in the organization and embrace the benefits of helping people who share the same situation as mine. The only thing I am hoping for from the people I am helping is the same smile I had after recovering from having the virus. Not only am I making my life more meaningful, but I am also radiating a happy aura that I can share to the people I am helping.