Sunday, December 01, 2013

World AIDS Day 2013, How to Survive a Plague

"The number of HIV cases in the Philippines is rising at a “fast and furious” rate, with the rise concentrated among males who have sex with males and people who inject illegal drugs or narcotics, according to the executive director of the Philippine National AIDS Council."

I lost a good friend because of HIV-AIDS. Little did I know that his case was at a very critical stage.

We had our usual lunch and chat, my way of saying good bye to him for a year's study abroad. He was to tell me something of his secret but was too adamant to reveal it. I did not probe further, all the while I thought I knew his character being very open and frank. But he was not with his ailment.

When I was abroad we would have an opportunity to chat once in awhile, I just came to know that he now have a new nickname ( a policy of the hospital he was visiting for confidentiality). Still, he never told me about his condition.

I came back a year after, wanting to meet up with him, having heard that he got hospitalized and now recuperating in a friend's place in the province. Then his revelation - he called me and was crying, telling me that he is dying. He informed me that even the friend whom he is staying does not even know that he has HIV. All I could tell and assure him that he's not going to die, although I do not know his real condition.

He decided to come back to the city and  be admitted to the hospital for HIV patients. I can't believe what I saw when I fetched him at the bus station, he is so thin and frail, his cheeks are hollowed, his deep-set eyes are haunting, and his head more of a skull with hairs sticking out thinly.

I did not recognize him at first since I did not know also his companion. But when I realized it was my friend looking at me in tears, gone was the vibrant person that I used to know. He hugged me and cried, asked me for help. I felt both embarrassed with such scene in  public and  pity with his look and condition.

His stay at the hospital was brief. In the few days of his stay, I met and came to know some members of  his family and helped a bit in tandem with them looking after him. It was my first time to come across terms such as HIV dementia, candidiasis, and all other symptoms and manifestations of HIV.  I witnessed the condition of the hospitals with so young patients and so aged parents looking after them. I pity those parents who at their age have to suffer and labor as well staying dutiful to their kids, days and nights. Some of the parents would suffer hypertension because of their lack of sleep and fatigue. The inadequate facilities at the hospital are not also friendly for the patients caregivers. But at least the medicines and medical care are subsidized by the government.

My friend got cremated and his ashes were brought to the cemetery. Only a few people knows about the sudden cause of his death, although they got to know that he was hospitalized before they found out about his death.

He was such a big lost to me, to his friend and family. Several years passed I still miss my good friend, thinking that he was just away, working abroad and that will be meeting and chatting over lunch sometime soon... am still learning to accept that it is just a wishful dream, those were the good memories I have of my dear friend...

In memory of my friend and the rest of us living who have come to experience first hand confronting HIV-AIDS, I am sharing this video found on the internet about the struggle of AIDS activist to give back life and make them live for those people living with  HIV.

Let us all make our own individual effort to help people get educated about  it and and so prevent  it from further spreading and causing havoc to our lives and the lives of young men!

From wikipedia:

How to Survive a Plague is a 2012 American documentary film about the early years of the AIDS epidemic, and the efforts of ACT UP and TAG. It was directed by David France, a journalist who covered AIDS from its beginnings. For France it was his first film. He dedicated it to his partner who he lost to AIDS-related pneumonia in 1992. The documentary was produced using more than 700 hours of archived footage which included news coverage, interviews as well as film of demonstrations, meetings and conferences taken by ACT UP members themselves. France says they knew what they were doing was historic, and that many of them would die. The film, which opened in select theatres across the United States on September 21, 2012, also includes footage of a demonstration during mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1989.
source -

Published on Jun 14, 2013

In the early years of the AIDS epidemic, the disease was considered a death sentence affecting communities, like the LGBT ones, whom many in power felt deserved it. This film tells the story of how militant activists like ACT-UP and TAG pushed for a meaningful response to this serious public health problem. As the activists struggled against political indifference, religious hostility, corporate greed and apparently skewed scientific research priorities with determination and sheer audacity, they produced a political wave that would lead to not only an effective treatment regime, but would advance LGBT rights beyond anyone's expectations.

How to Survive A Plague 2012 hit Part1

How to Survive A Plague 2012 hit Part3

How to Survive A Plague 2012 hit Part4

How to Survive A Plague 2012 hit Part5

How to Survive A Plague 2012 hit Part5

Related links:

World Aids Day

Getting to zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths

HIV cases hit another record high (as of Oct 2013)

PNAC Secretariat on Facebook

AIDS Society of the Philippines on Facebook

World AIDS Day 2008