Being HIV Reactive

I have been debating whether I should share this to all of you.

A few weeks ago, my OB asked me to take a few prenatal tests to determine the baby’s general health. Part of it was the usual blood sugar, urinary tests and blood tests.

I requested for home service via a medical testing clinic in Quezon City to come in early August. The guy took my urine sample and drew my blood, and told me to pick up the results 2-3 days later at the clinic.

When I went to the clinic to pick it up, the clinic told me that they have to hold onto my HIV test for re-checking with the Department of Health.

My blood ran cold.

Why do you have to re-check my blood for HIV?” I asked.

The tests turned out to be HIV-Reactive,” the woman explained.

What the fuck is HIV reactive?” I asked as I googled it on my phone. This is what came out:

HIV Reactive

Omigod. As in, OMIGOSH.

An HIV reactive result is a preliminary confirmation for the presence of HIV antibodies. Hence, there is actually a chance I am HIV positive.

Does this mean I am HIV positive?” I asked her.

It doesn’t mean that you are HIV positive,” the woman explained. “You are reactive, so it means that you MIGHT be HIV positive.”

Uhhhh… doesn’t that mean the same thing?

A gazillion thoughts went into my head at once. What does it mean? Where did I get HIV? How did I get HIV? What about my freaking baby?!

I gave husband a call.

Guess what?” I said. “I might be HIV-positive. But they need further tests to reconfirm it.” 

For once, my husband was silent on the phone.

How the hell did that happen?” he finally answered. “Usually, when you are HIV positive, you are infected either by STD or blood transfusion?”

“I don’t know,” I replied. “All I know is that I am supposed to be HIV reactive. Meaning, they found HIV antibodies on my blood. There is a big chance I am HIV positive, and if that’s the case, so are you since you’re the only guy I’ve been sleeping with.”

I agreed to take a second round of blood tests to determine whether the prognosis is real or not. The nurse was not very optimistic. I think she double gloved herself in fear of being infected.

HIV in the Philippines

The official number of HIV positive cases reported to the Philippines’ Department of Health only numbered 23,709 as of 2015. There have been 1,149 deaths reported. Out of the 17 deaths among people with HIV in February 2015, about 15 are men, citing the prevalence of gay men encounters.

My husband and I believe this number is greater. According to new research, there are 21 new HIV cases in the Philippines every day.

For one, not all HIV cases are reported to the DOH. Given the stigma attached to HIV, IF you do find out you have HIV, you keep it quiet. You don’t tell anyone, and you want to operate in anonymity.

People still see patients with HIV as those with death sentences — for them, HIV which later turns to AIDs is highly lethal and highly infectious. My husband and I for example do not know anyone living here in Manila personally who have HIV. However, it doesn’t mean that HIV is not endemic. It just means people like to keep quiet about their HIV status.

Another reason for the lower reported statistic is because most people are completely unaware that they have HIV. An HIV test still has to be specifically requested and must be done with the patient’s consent. An HIV test is generally not covered in general blood exams. Hence, you can have HIV and not know you have HIV.

Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean that HIV is not infectious. In fact, it is more dangerous given that most people don’t know they have it. Consequently, they continue to live promiscuous or sexually dangerous lives, having sex with multiple partners without the use of condoms.

The First Day

I found my husband at home, lying in bed, with the lights closed. It was 6pm, and there is still light coming from between the curtains.

He had been researching about HIV and AID like crazy for the last hour, and for once, we didn’t do anything but wrap our arms around each other in the dry hopes of comfort.

There is no comfort to be had.

What comfort is there when someone tells you — even preliminarily, that you have HIV antibodies in your body? Put it this way, if you don’t have HIV, there is ZERO chance you will have HIV antibodies. If you have HIV antibodies, there is a high likelihood, you have HIV.

Couple

So what about him? What about me? And worse of all, what about Baby Pea?

To be Continued…

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About Bonita

I'm a forgetful person. But I think a lot. Every day, a lot of thoughts enter my head. That's why this blog came to be: first, to keep my memories alive through the years, and two, to actually see how I and my thoughts have changed. Please note that I seldom draft or edit my posts. Sometimes, if I'm not careful, I offend some of you, my readers. And while I apologize for making you feel uncomfortable, I am not sorry for being honest or for making well-intentioned mistakes. I will however be the first to admit if I change my mind. Hence, do read and proceed with caution. My life is as colorful and as boring as you make it. I complain many days, but offer some encouragement in others. Life is fluid, it changes. So keep the positives and throw away the negatives, and I do hope that at the end of the day, you will enjoy reading the blog and leaving comments here and there if my posts touches you. Happy reading!
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6 Responses to Being HIV Reactive

  1. les says:

    Even if you have it doesn’t mean you are a bad person nor was this your fault. You’re going to try and figure out where and how you got it. You may never know. The thing is it doesn’t matter and quit beating yourself up over it. This doesn’t mean your baby will have it either. There are so many drugs now that this is a disease that you can live with.

  2. Jane Lee says:

    It might be a false positive since you are pregnant. You need to do a Western Blot. Good luck!

  3. Anonymous from HK says:

    My prayers are with you and your family.

  4. Rose says:

    Be strong Bonita. I’m praying for you.

  5. It’s been a while since you posted this and you never post anything in your blog again. What happened to you? Are you ok? how’s the second test?

  6. Stephanie says:

    Stumbled across your blog when I was googling breakfast places in Taipei back in 2012. I’ve found so much strength in reading about your experiences. Your wit and character has inspired me and my own journey to becoming a real adult. I don’t know if this counts for anything, but I hope you find the strength that your writing has always stirred in me. Sending my love and prayers too.

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