Tag Archives: HIV/AIDS awareness

Whatever Happened To Luigi

If you happen to visit this blog and read about Luigi’s story (see the following links here – Alternative Lifestyle, So Young, Chatroom, AIDS Advocacy) you’d probably wonder how he is now or his present state of health.

Luigi and I have been in touch for a time. We were connected through Facebook. Yesterday, I saw his status dated March 5 and feel deeply saddened by what he said in it. He is not feeling well (again) caused by his compromised immune system. He lacks enough sleep and barely eats because he vomits a lot.

His status tells a lot about what he feels and what young people need to know about being responsible individuals. Please read on:

When my time comes, please never idolize me. Include me in your prayers. Go back to the living God. Be good and repent for the sins we commit.

More than a month of not sleeping well, 2-4 hrs of sleep for the past 10 days. I have been vomiting and can’t eat for the past 2 days.

I just want to say farewell to all of you. My previous post was deleted by a friend with my request to protect my family but I believe it is my purpose to share it so I am posting it again to encourage everyone to look at their lives and to go back to God.

For the youth, especially the Filipino youth, live in simple ways and stay away from sins and evil things like drugs and sex. Do not do what I did. Enrich your soul. Always talk to Him in spirit.

This day, March 5th marks the 6th year of me receiving a news from a partner that I have to get tested for HIV, which came back positive. Please do not be stigmatized (which some of you may do). I am asking for understanding that I do commit mistakes.

I am sharing this so that our young people will somehow learn from me. Stay away from temptations and evil things. Always pray. Read the Bible and seek for its understanding. Don’t be like me who is a risk taker. We do commit mistakes but never let it happen again and again.

The Almighty Father has a plan for everyone. I am trying to accept and live mine. He is great and I believe he has mercy.

For God so love the world that he give his only begotten son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but live an eternal life. (John 3:16).

It was nice knowing you all. I am planning to go home to my province soon and might not be on FB anymore though my friend knows my account.

I want to take this opportunity to say sorry for those I have done wrong. Hugs!

I wish to make a follow-up story about his present condition, but will have to ask his permission again.

UPDATE:

More than three years after the interview above, I checked on Luigi’s FB account and I learned that he is in the US now. He looks healthy and living on his own.

Alternative lifestyle

( This is a compilation of Luigi’s  interviews in 2006. I wish the readers will get something from his life story.  Warning: some words may be too graphic.)

THIS is the dreaded shriek which Marcus (real name withheld) hopes would never echo along the halls of his campus.

Every day, the senior college student lugs a dark secret to school, one that threatens to destroy him way before the disease that is slowly eating him alive — AIDS.

Marcus, according to Celestino Ramirez, training director and vice president of the Positive Action Foundation Philippines, Incorporated (PAFPI), is part of the hidden and growing number of people afflicted with HIV/AIDS.

The Philippine AIDS Registry tallied a total of 2,499 HIV/AIDS cases since 1984, 67 percent of whom are young people in the reproductive age between 20 and 39 years old.

“We still have new cases among our young people. Nakakalungkot, kasi hindi naman lahat ng schools ay nagbibigay ng education,” Ramirez said.

Students and out-of-school youths are vulnerable to HIV/AIDS infection primarily because they don’t like using condoms, Ramirez said.

Four hundred fifty- seven of the reported AIDS cases reported to the National Epidemiology Center of the Department of Health (NEC-DOH) were infected through homosexual contact. At least four of them were reported only last April.

Ramirez described Marcus as a young “man having an alternative lifestyle.”

Marcus is a homosexual who acquired the virus from a male partner almost the same age as him.

“’Yung total expression of their individuality or sexuality also gives way to their acquiring the infection,” Ramirez said, referring to young and adult individuals’ vulnerability to sexually-transmitted infections.

“Kasi sa pagtatago, nandiyan ang lihim na pakikipagtagpo, lihim na pakikipagsiping, at iba’t ibang kaparaanan na unsafe practices. Even sa information about HIV/AIDS, hindi nila makukuha, kasi kapag magtanong ka, madya-judge ka na naman ulit (for being a homosexual),” Ramirez said.

The vulnerable ones come mostly from the provinces and far-flung areas where sexuality and HIV/AIDS are never discussed in classrooms.

“Kaya ’pag sila ay nagkaroon ng pagkakataong mag-aral sa Maynila, para silang nakawala sa isang mundo,” Ramirez said.

The PAFPI officer said they manage to visit a few schools in some sites supported by their funding agency.

Some schools, however, would not allow the PAFPI entry.

Part of the responsibility of the Department of Education under Republic Act 8504, or the Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act, is to educate students on HIV/AIDS.

Unfortunately, teachers in general are not prepared to tackle such issues inside the classroom, Ramirez noted.

“Hindi mababanggit ang mga salitang ‘puki,’ ‘titi,’ moreso, ‘kan… ’ or sexual intercourse dahil sa tingin nila ang mga ito ay bastos o salitang kanto. Maski na ang salitang Ingles ay nagbibigay ng ibang pakiramdam sa mga nagtuturo o guro,” Ramirez explained.

As part of efforts to remedy the problem, the Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health, which PAFPI is popularizing under the 6th Country Program of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), provides an opportunity for stakeholders to teach young people the proper way to take care of themselves and their bodies and become responsible individuals. MVT