World AIDS Day 2015: Hope for an HIV Newbie

I’ve just recently learned the acronym, PLHIV, and it stands for “people/person living with HIV.” It is the politically correct term to use and not “HIV victim” or “HIV patient.” While there has been lots of information about the virus on the Internet and media, it’s still refreshing to read an article about HIV/AIDS whose author is also a PLHIV.  Yes, I am now one of them.

I was diagnosed October of this year, and I’d like to think I’ve already suddenly become an expert of HIV. Having the virus is quickly turning my life around. I have to study how to manage the virus and its effects on my body. As a “newbie,” there is really a lot to learn.

Rappler reports that the World Health Organization (WHO) has described the Philippines as having the fastest growing epidemic in the world. It is very alarming to see these reports especially for a country where there is the stigma of HIV/AIDS.

An Indian couple walks past a sand sculpture on the eve of World AIDS Day, created by sand artist Sudarsan pattnaik on Golden Sea Beach in Puri, some 65 kms east of Bhubaneswar on November 30, 2015. World AIDS Day is celebrated on December 1 every year to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and to demonstrate international solidarity in the face of the pandemic. AFP PHOTO / AFP / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

An Indian couple walks past a sand sculpture on the eve of World AIDS Day, created by sand artist Sudarsan pattnaik on Golden Sea Beach in Puri, some 65 kms east of Bhubaneswar on November 30, 2015. World AIDS Day is celebrated on December 1 every year to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and to demonstrate international solidarity in the face of the pandemic. AFP PHOTO / AFP / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Although there isn’t any cure for the virus, there have been advancements in the treatment or antiretroviral (ARV) therapy in the last 30 years. As my counselors, friends and family who know my status have always told me, HIV is no longer a death sentence.

There is hope for PLHIV. I am HIV positive, and I am positive I can live a longer life. With the right motivation, support from friends and family, discipline and living a healthy lifestyle, PLHIV like me will be able to live a normal life or even better. My point here is no one should be scared of HIV anymore.

Anyone can get HIV. So if you happen to have exposure, have yourself tested. Do not be afraid. Or if you know someone who just found out about his/her positive status, you simply have to encourage him or her to live. There is help coming. In fact, if you don’t have the idea, ARV drugs are free. There’s nothing to worry about. Really.

Unfortunately for me, I learned all of these the hard way. It’s been a crazy November. But now, I’m okay. I’m finishing my drug trial period, adjusting with my medications and basically focused on living, only this time, healthier.

Today, December 1, we celebrate World AIDS Day 2015 and the theme is: Getting to Zero; End AIDS by 2030. The federal theme this year: The time to act is now.

“Happy thoughts!” 🙂

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