I recently participated in Niccolo Cosme's Project Headshot Clinic: ACT. Together with UNAIDS, the HSC team aims fight HIV/AIDS by spreading awareness for HIV/AIDS.
I was really excited when I got my friend's invite to join the shoot a couple of weeks ago.
I've only worked with Niccolo once in the past for a project with my past job. He was amazing! Needless to say, to be part of his famous Headshot Clinic is, of course, very exciting.
I got to the studio and it was packed with people
There was a short lecture on HIV/AIDS for us bloggers. After which, it was quick run through with make-up and the actual shoot.
I thought that the promise of a fabulous glam shot, a whole bunch of condoms and info materials were my reward for going to Malate that day:
But then, an hour or so later I found myself, heart pounding, sitting on a couch while a nurse takes blood from my arm.
The AIDS Society of Philippines was offering FREE HIV testing (voluntary, of course) after the shoot. And for the first time in my life, I had an HIV test.
MY HIV SCARE
It is no secret that I've been around the block (read my Kuwentong Bookings).
Truth be told, for a time I was having sex five times a week (let's not count how many na in total) at most, sometimes, two to three guys in one night, each time with a different guy. At the rate I was going, I would have fucked more men than there are days in a month.
And I guess you could say that during those times, I kinda "done it all" (I don't wanna elaborate anymore)
It was exhilarating! It would get me so high. But then I remembered a story my friend told me.
It was a drinking session and I was in my usual rant about finding a new guy. She told me about her gay friend. Gorgeous, a body you wanna dip in chocolate and ravage!Her friend was the same age as me. He's also an only child, like me. He went out of the closet after graduation, a year earlier than me. And like every gay guy's right of passage he had his first one night stand soon after his outing.As the story goes, he was heartbroken, he was hoping he'd met THE guy. Turned out it was really just a fuck. He was lamenting "giving him everything".Months later, his mom found out about his son being gay. Being a domineering (not to mention paranoid) female figure, he had his son tested, with much drama.And he turned out to be POSITIVE.. just after his first fuck.
Positive after the first fuck... And here I was doing all sorts of nasty things with more men than my fingers can count. Imagine my horror!
* * *
So there I was, waiting for the result of the blood test. The nurse refused to talk to me, she was busy chit-chatting with another attendee.
It was pretty quick, no more than 15 mins since she took the blood. Though to me it was 15 mins of agony:
What if I come out Pos? What the fuck will I do? How will I go home and tell my mom about it? How do I tell my friends? Could I have infected other guys as well? I won't be able to have sex anymoooorrrreee!!! SHET SHET SHET.
Then the nurse wrote on a piece of paper, folded it and handed it over to me without a word.
The councilor took me to a separate area.He started talking But I really can't hear what the fuck he's saying. I was looking at my result and was looking for something that says:
"Congratulations you promiscuous fucker! Your ass is saved!"
Nothing. It's all numbers and codes that I can't understand.
So I looked up at the blabbing councilor, an expression of dazed confusion in my face, pointed at the piece of paper and said, "Hindi ko maintindihan, ano ibig saihin nito?"
"Nakasulat po jan ang result ng blood test..." he said
"Alam ko... Hindi ko siya maintindihan... positive ba ako?"
I gave him the piece of paper and scanned it. He gave out a little laugh and shook his head.
Ang tagal bago niya binasa... Hindi ko alam kung pinagtatawanan ba nya ang pagiging ignorante ko o ang result ng test.
Finally, he look up and said, "Ayan po, nakasulat, Non-reactive!"
Haaaaaaayyyyyy! Then... "Wait... so ano ibig sabihin ng non-reactive?"
STAY NEGATIVE: KNOW YOUR STATUS
Needless to say, THAT was the BEST reward for taking part in HSC. And three weeks later here's my Headshot:
I cannot claim that I KNOW everything there is to know about HIV and AIDS, I am no expert, but knowing the basics helps a lot.
- HIV is not curable. There are meds to help one who is pos, but it doesn't get rid of the virus.
- AIDS is not the virus, it's a condition. Can it kill? Not exactly, but it can make the body so weak until one dies of several complications.
- HIV can be passed in several ways: blood transfusion, from pos mom to her kid, and UNSAFE sex.
- In the Philippines today, 4 new HIV infections are diagnosed EACH DAY. That's 120 people in a month, that means by the end of the year there will be roughly 1,400 NEW HIV infections on top of the 5,400 ++ reported since 1984
- HIV infection is more common (but NOT EXCLUSIVE) among gay men (or as the politically correct term: men having sex with men)
HIV is not just some scary urban legend, it is as real as the dick hanging on our crotch (well for the girls, it's your pechay).
Another thing that is REAL is that it is in our nature to be horny and to fuck (let's just call it what it is). And no amount of control can ever get rid of the animal inside us. (some people might disagree, I say to each his own).
All I'm saying is this: we cannot stop each other from fucking. There is no point in pretending that we can. What we can do is do it in a SAFE way.
No matter how exciting doing it raw seems, it is BETTER to use a condom. And no, a blowjob is not a safe way of doing it (especially if you like man-juice in your mouth!)
And most of all KNOW YOUR STATUS. It is better to know if you are Positive than go around spreading the virus unknowingly or WORSE, go on living without doing something about your condition.
Don't be a fool like me. Take the test NOW. There are LOTS of places where you can get tested FOR FREE.
If you're doing it for the first time and is REALLY uncomfortable ask a friend for help. If not, you can contact the AIDS Society of thee Phils at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you can also check out this site.
To know more about HSC, please visit their website. To view the HSC photos, check them out in HSC's facebook fan page.
Also, support UNAIDS and the fight against HIV.
Spread the word. Get tested today.