Tag Archive: philippines


Goodbye San Lazaro H4!

Finally, I got myself transferred to Makati Medical Center as my new treatment hub. Although it’ll be quite expensive unlike at H4 where everything’s free, it’s much more convenient and comfortable. 😀

Goodbye to once-a-week OPD days; bitchy doctors, nurses, and staff; waking up early to find out that I’m already 20th in line; and exposure to unwanted elements.

With my initial consultation with Dra. G at MMC, she recommended that I do the following:

1. retake my CBC count. My hemoglobin count decreased to below normal. If it stays the same, I might need to stop taking zidovudine and take something else instead

2. take the following tests:
a. blood chemistry. It’s been almost a year since my blood chem
b. viral load. Dra G got puzzled why the doctors at San Lazaro never recommended me to get my baseline viral load count
c. vaccines – tetanus, pneumonia, flu

Since I need to travel out of the country for training for three months, I was able to get hold of three bottles of my ARV treatment medications (they charge PHP 100.00 per bottle for storage fee through) unlike at H4 where it’s a tremendous challenge to get hold of more than a month’s supply of ARV medication even with valid reasons.

CD4 count – 11/12

It’s been quite a while since my last blog post. Been quite busy recently with lotsa stuff. Just a brief update on my treatment, my CD4 count rose to 251 after more than a year on ARVs. The doctors at San Lazaro H4 says that I’m responding well to my treatment. Though for me, I’m still not quite content with this count. Gotta push with healthy living. I need to stop smoking hoping to boost my count further up.

That’s it for now!

CD4 Count

It’s took me 3 weeks since my blood sample was extracted for CD4 count to pay H4 a visit to claim the result (and at the same time refill my AZT+3ZT and EFV supply). I was partial happy and disappointed with my most recent count after being on my ARV treatment since October 2011:

May 2010 – 424
February 2011 – 366
August 2011 – 97
May 2012 – 198

There you go. 198. up by 101 from more than six months ago. I’m happy that it went up as it’s a sign that the medication is working. I’m quite disappointed though that my CD4 count didn’t go up as I’ve expected. My lifestyle is to be blamed for this. I haven’t cut down on my smoking and have started consuming alcohol. Wasn’t even taking multivitamins as my doctors prescribe. Although I get ample rest (8-10 hours per day), my sleeping pattern is still incorrect staying up until the wee-morning hours for the sake of going out on dates or chilling out with my friends. I now resolve to correct these unhealthy habits and work on improving my health.

Dra. A is quite happy that the medication is working for me. She explained during my consultation that the count actually varies on a person to person basis and depending on our lifestyle. She reiterated that I need to work on targeting having more than 1,000+ CD4 count. Given that my count is still below 200, she prescribed that I take cotrimoxazole as prophylaxis against pneumonia M-W-F until my count surpasses the borderline level of 350.  She also reminded me to have pneumonia shots every six months and get annual flu vaccination.

This is so not right! What do you think?

HIV-positive director-actor blacklisted by immigration, denied entry to PH

Director-actor Marcelino “Mars” Cavestany, a naturalized Australian citizen, was not allowed to enter the Philippines after being blacklisted by the Bureau of Immigration for being HIV positive.

According to ABS-CBN News, the blacklist order said Cavestany should not be allowed entry because he will spread HIV. The former Filipino citizen arrived on March 6 and was held at the NAIA terminal.

Claiming he was not informed about the blacklist order, Cavestany decried being treated “like a criminal.”

ABS-CBN News reports that then Commissioner Marcelino Libanan issued the order in March 2010 upon the request of the office of Malou Jacob of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA). Cavestany claimed that a fight with NCCA staff member Susan Claudio may have prompted the NCCA to request for the order.

Cavestany challenged immigration to junk the order, saying it is discriminatory and violates human rights.

According to ABS-CBN News, Cavestany flew to the Philippines from Darwin, Australia to do a film and pen a book about HIV.

2nd CD4 count…

I finally got my CD4 count result this afternoon after almost a year. From 424 baseline, my count dropped to 366. Not bad given the mere reduction of 56 despite my stress level. In fact, I can consider myself lucky. Other people loose 200 in three to six months. I guess having a positive outlook in life and being a happy person helped a lot.

I also got my HCV and RPR results. Both are non-reactive. Yay!

Dra. D advised me to go back to H4 next week to consult with Dra. A if I need to start taking ARV medication or not. If I were to choose, I’d rather not take any medications yet until it’s needed.

Blood Chemistry

It’s been almost a year since my last consultation at H4. When I got back to the Philippines from my vacation, I prioritized my check-up. I went to H4 to have myself scheduled for my second CD4 count. Dra. A scheduled me for February 17 and then gave a prescription to have my blood chemistry tested.

I had my blood extracted this morning in a hospital in QC and I got the result before I went home from work. The results are still normal based on the normal values. But there’s a slight deviation from my baseline. I have yet to get my dad’s opinion on this.

Now Baseline
FBS 4.56 4.78
Urea Nitrogen 14.9 7.8
Creatinine 0.9 0.86
Uric Acid 5.96
Cholesterol 4.51
Triglycerides 0.69
SGOT 31.9 23.6
SGPT 28.6 35.9

I will have to visit H4 on Thursday to get my CD4 count result. I’m hoping that the count won’t be too low. I don’t want to take ARV medication yet.

Here’s a little primer (with links) on what the blood chemistry tests are for:

FBS
A fasting blood sugar (FBS) level is one of the tests used to diagnose diabetes mellitus (another being the oral glucose tolerance test). In a person with symptoms of osmotic diuresis and an elevated fasting blood sugar level, the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus is usually made.

According to the 2005 Recommendation of the ADA, you may interpret your fasting blood sugar as follows:
FBS < 100 mg/dl (5.6 mmol/l) = normal fasting blood sugar;
FBS 100–125 mg/dl (5.6–6.9 mmol/l) = IFG (impaired fasting glucose);
FBS ≥ 126 mg/dl (7.0 mmol/l) = provisional diagnosis of diabetes

Urea Nitrogen
A BUN test is done to see how well your kidneys  are working. If your kidneys are not able to remove urea from the blood normally, your BUN level rises. Heart failure, dehydration, or a diet high in protein can also make your BUN level higher. Liver disease or damage can lower your BUN level. A low BUN level can occur normally in the second or third trimester of pregnancy.

Creatinine
Creatinine and creatinine clearance tests measure the level of the waste product creatinine in your blood and urine. These tests tell how well your kidneys are working. The substance creatine is formed when food is changed into energy through a process called metabolism. Creatine is broken down into another substance called creatinine, which is taken out of your blood by the kidneys and then passed out of your body in urine. See a picture of the kidneys .
Creatinine is made at a steady rate and is not affected by diet or by normal physical activities. If your kidneys are damaged and cannot work normally, the amount of creatinine in your urine goes down while its level in your blood goes up.

Uric Acid
The blood uric acid test measures the amount of uric acid in a blood sample. Uric acid is produced from the natural breakdown of your body’s cells and from the foods you eat.

Most of the uric acid is filtered out by the kidneys and passes out of the body in urine. A small amount passes out of the body in stool. But if too much uric acid is being produced or if the kidneys are not able to remove it from the blood normally, the level of uric acid in the blood increases.
High levels of uric acid in the blood can cause solid crystals to form within joints. This causes a painful condition called gout. If gout remains untreated, these uric acid crystals can build up in the joints and nearby tissues, forming hard lumpy deposits called tophi. High levels of uric acid may also cause kidney stones or kidney failure.

Cholesterol / Triglycerides
Your blood cholesterol level has a lot to do with your chances of getting heart disease. High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. A risk factor is a condition that increases your chance of getting a disease. In fact, the higher your blood cholesterol level, the greater your risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack. Heart disease is the number one killer of women and men in the United States. Each year, more than a million Americans have heart attacks, and about a half million people die from heart disease.

SGOT / SGPT
An initial step in detecting liver damage is a simple blood test to determine the presence of certain liver enzymes (proteins) in the blood. Under normal circumstances, these enzymes reside within the cells of the liver. But when the liver is injured for any reason, these enzymes are spilled into the blood stream. Enzymes are proteins that are present throughout the body, each with a unique function. Enzymes help to speed up (catalyze) routine and necessary chemical reactions in the body.

Among the most sensitive and widely used liver enzymes are the aminotransferases. They include aspartate aminotransferase (AST or SGOT) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT or SGPT). These enzymes are normally contained within liver cells. If the liver is injured or damaged, the liver cells spill these enzymes into the blood, raising the enzyme levels in the blood and signaling the liver disease.

reblogged from “moving on from 46479″ through pozzieboy.

if you are taking advantage of the free ARVs in the philippines or would like to take advantage of it when your CD4 falls below 500, then we need your help.

the world leaders are meeting up in new york, usa on oct 4-5, 2010 to announce their financial contributions to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria for the next three years.

in order to maintain, accelerate and effectively implement its programs, Global Fund needs usd20 billion.

we need to ensure that the world leaders uphold their promises to provide treatment and care to the millions living with and/or affected by HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. let them know that we are watching them. let us demand that they commit the usd20 billion needed by Global Fund.

show them that we care for the millions who will die without the Global Fund programs. do this by following the link and signing the petition.

http://www.globalfundreplenishment.org/sign-on-letter/

please send it to your friends, families, colleagues and networks and encourage them to sign up too.

500,000 signatures are need by thursday, sept 30, 2010!

the petition will be delivered to world leaders at the Replenishment Meeting, and is one of a number of actions that will be occurring around the world in the lead up to the meeting.

for more information on how your participation will make a difference, go to http://www.globalfundreplenishment.org.

My fairytale story with Papa bear ended up with a not-so-happy ending. I thought it was the start of a happily ever after part but apparently, it was not. Oh well, that’s life.

I have started another chapter of my life almost a month ago. I met this spectacular guy which eventually ended up as my wifey last August 14. Let’s give him the pet name Purr. Purr just like Papa Bear is aware of my status as a pozzie. However, this status doesn’t hold him back on being intimate with me. One of the issues that led to my previous relationship’s failure. It’s not right to compare the current with someone from the past but it’s inevitable. All that I can say is that I’m deeply in love with Purr and that feeling is mutual. I won’t expound on this anymore but I can feel something different compared to my previous relationships. I’m hoping that he’s the one I’m gonna spend the rest of my lifetime with.

A little fact on this love of my life: Purr gives talks on sexuality, gay empowerment, and HIV not just here in the Philippines but even abroad. In fact, he was one of the co-founders of a LGBT organization in our country. He’s just about my age and damn! I’m so impressed with his wit and knowledge. For me, he’s a perfect package.

Before I forget, He just had himself test two weeks ago and he turned out to be non-reactive. Yay!

Now it’s Acid Reflux…

Great. Now I’m having acid reflux. I’m having chest pains while drinking or while swallowing what I’m eating. I also keep on burping once in a while. When will the pain go away? Have already taken my initial dose of antacid and it kinda minimized the pain. But It’s still there… *sigh*

I have been out of circulation in the past few weeks. Busy with work, buffing up myself, and with socials that I forgot my limitations and the fact that I’m a pozzie. My body had finally succumbed to my weak immunity. I was down with the flu that started up as a bacterial inflammation of my tonsils. The past four days was an eye-opener for me. Ages ago, a simple tonsilitis won’t even develop into a more serious disease. In fact, bed rest and fluid intake would simply serve as cure. But now, a simple disease leads to further complications with extreme adverse effects. My dad even gave me a much more potent antibiotic as the one I’ve been taking before isn’t doing me any good anymore.

After 3 days of bed rest, I’ll be able to report back to work tomorrow. I have to refrain from straining myself from work and other physical activities until I have fully recovered. This three-day bed rest has been very beneficial to me as I was able to invigorate myself and retreat from the daily routine stressful activities. When I looked at myself in the mirror this morning, Although It seemed that I lost a few pounds, I look well-rested and fresher.

I have to regularly remind myself that I am no longer my old self. I’m getting older and my immunity getting weaker. I don’t want to start taking my ARV medication yet. I have to keep my CD4 high. Thus, I really need to take good care of myself.