Friday, January 27, 2012

An open letter to the newly diagnosed with HIV

NOTE: A few days ago I received a letter from a person who was newly diagnosed with HIV. For some reason I was not able to reply to his message right away, when I had the chance to do so, the email I sent bounced back, with an error message saying that the email address doesn't exist anymore. This open letter is for you. Also, may the contents of this open letter be a guide to all the people who are newly diagnosed with having HIV.

Hi <letter sender>,

Thank you for sending me an email, and thank you for reading my blog as well.

I'm sorry to hear that you have just become one of one us. I guess I can say, welcome to the community too! How have you been during the first few days?

When I got the confirmatory letter from San Lazaro, I wept and broke down in tears, everyone does, it is a very common reaction amongst the newly diagnosed. Some do not cry at all, but they eventually do, once everything has sunken in. Unless of course they are one of the rare few who wanted to acquire the virus or the syndrome. It is okay to cry, it is okay to be depressed, you have every right to be so. In the light of it all, it is a beginning of the end of your old self. You are now a new person and you go back to knowing what you are; you have to, there's a new life ahead. Now you will be more focused on maintaining or improving your health and well being above anything else.

Reaction will vary from violent, to deep sadness, but do not be angry at yourself nor to other people, do not blame God, never blame anyone else. Whatever we may have done to ourselves, it is partly or really our fault, so we just need to move forward while looking back. What you have just acquired is a gift, a knowledge that only you can use or dispose of. A gift of power to extend your own fragile life, so use it well. Many people do not know what will kill them, at least us, we know we have a killer inside us and we can either let it take over, or live with it. With this virus inside us, we now know at least a few things that can kill us for sure, those are: the virus and the syndrome it causes (AIDS) and the lethal side effects of the medicines (ARVs); knowledge of those give us power to take more control of our lives or perhaps to prepare. I chose to live with the virus, and accept the thorns it brings along.

A lot of people will be cheering you up, and saying good and kind words to you, I will leave it to them to do that work. As for me, I'll be telling you the real facts, that there will be a long road ahead, and it will not be easy. The time consuming lab tests, lifestyle change, the battle of acceptance within yourself and to other people if ever you choose to tell others; and the battle to slow down the CD4 regression. However, the war only begins once you start taking ARVs. I will not further elaborate on that unless you request me to do so.

You will be encountering so many messages of positivity amidst being positive, it is okay to be positive at most times, but also, in my own point of view, it is okay to cry because it is what make us human. Crying helps relieve the pain anyway, so go ahead and let it go, let it all out. You will feel better afterwards.

There will be many questions along the way, and many challenges ahead. There will be people to help you, but remember one thing; only you can save yourself.

I will be here, if ever you need someone to talk to.



  1. thank you . yes i got tested after new years 2012 hiv pos . thank you for this letter .
    I am so lost and alone . it is a new life . I dont need meds right now i dont know how long before i will need and i dont feel the support is good in this area . even the drs are not too much help . i guess i dont know enough questions to ask . my mind is still all over in thoughts i dont know if it will ever go away . i want to be at peace with this but i dont know how .

    1. Reach out... You are never alone, remember that.