Life has just begun | Inquirer Opinion
Young Blood

Life has just begun

/ 11:38 PM December 14, 2011

I finished pre-law last year, took a break, wandered around the capital, enjoyed the perks of being an urban professional—working on weekdays partying on weekends—had several casual, short-time engagements and lived a life of promiscuity. I resigned from my job last September, resolved to stop playing around and continue my life-long dream of becoming a lawyer. And then the unthinkable happened: my HIV test showed me to be reactive, meaning I have the deadly virus in my system.

I felt the world come crashing down on me. Because of a brief period of carelessness and stupidity, I have acquired an incurable disease which I will carry to my deathbed. Why have I been so complacent, so unaware, so naïve of the consequences of my actions? Eighteen months of promiscuity was all it took, and my life-long dream has been fogged by doubts. How long will I survive? How many years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds? What will happen to me now?

I went out of the testing center feeling numb, anxious and afraid. This must be the same feeling a person experiences when he lost a bet where his life was at stake. I was unaware that I was gambling with death and I gambled unarmed and unaware that an HIV pandemic had struck our country.

I drove to the nearest chapel and cried my heart out. I didn’t blame the Lord or ask why this was happening to me. I just wept. I wept for an hour or so, because I didn’t know what to say to Him. I was so ashamed that I thought I couldn’t face Him. I knew I got the virus because of my sexual behavior.  I had been promiscuous, I had multiple partners and I didn’t bother to have protection. I was reaping what I sowed and no one was to blame for it but me.


Telling my loved ones about my condition was not easy too. What had I brought upon my family? But when the right time came, I told them.

I was expecting my family, especially my dad, to  get mad at me. But instead of anger and recrimination, what I got from them were compassion, love and understanding. Yes, they were confounded, but there was no rush to judgment, no contempt, no bitterness. They only showed their love and affection and assured me they would  be there for me until a cure had been found. I feel so fortunate and blessed to have them.

When my treatment started, I found out that most of the notions I had about HIV/AIDS were outdated. Having the disease is not a death sentence anymore. It has been downgraded as a chronic ailment because of many discoveries found in the search for a cure.  True, the ultimate cure hasn’t been found, but the search paved way for the development of highly active anti-retroviral medicines which can hinder and disrupt the replication of the virus inside the human body. These medicines prevent the virus from taking over the immune system, keeping a person’s defenses healthy and ultimately keeping AIDS-related sicknesses at bay.

The medicines are expensive, but the government provides them for free, thanks to grants given by The Global Fund.


I talked with my doctor and asked if I could still proceed with my law  studies. She told me that would be all right, provided I take care of myself, maintain a healthy lifestyle and drop all vices to keep my compromised immune system working well.

I have sworn to myself that I will strive hard to fulfill my dream of becoming a lawyer, now knowing more than ever that my life is precious and limited and therefore I do not have time to fool around or endlessly lament my condition.


Death, as existentialists say, is an inescapable route we don’t think much about while we are alive and well. Knowing that I am HIV positive is like enrolling myself in a lifetime course in existentialism. And the course feels so real because this time it’s applied learning. Death is inevitable and every second of my life is indeed a blessing to be cherished and a chance to become what  we want to become and to be who we want to be.

When death finally comes knocking at my door, I plan to go willingly. But since I am still living, I will try to get the most of what life has to offer. I will live every day as if it were my last, work hard to achieve my dreams while I still can and share the love that my loved ones have for me. My life has just begun.

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Boy Positibo, 22, is an AB Philosophy graduate, HIV positive and advocate. He is working on his application to law school for the next academic year.

TAGS: diseases, featured columns, HIV, opinion

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