D R . E L R O I


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Living Positively 1

One of the most paralyzing myths regarding HIV and AIDS is that there is nothing we can do about it. Part of the message of hope that we need to spread is that albeit there is no cure for HIV, it is possible to live a healthy and productive life despite HIV infection. It is possible to take some control of our lives and equip our selves as well as our immune system with strategies of coping better with HIV.

Now let's talk about the different treatment options. Remember that treatment is different from cure. When we refer to the term "cure", it means a type of medicine that will completely heal us or take away a specific disease. When we use the term "treatment", we use it in the context of medication and general health guidelines that help a person to manage a disease or illness. The purpose of this treatment is not to remove the disease, but to help the person to manage and limit the effect of the disease on his body.

Remember this virus weakens the immune system, which is responsible for the body's defense against other diseases and infections. With a proactive approach to treatment we need to aim at reducing the negative impact of the virus as far as possible. How can this be done?

First is strengthening the immune system, next is treating all the opportunistic infections and then taking ARV or antiretroviral treatment. Let's take a brief look at each of these individually on my next post.

Source: "Channels of Hope" workshop manual.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Root Cause

I had my one on one with my spiritual counselor last week and then I talked and opened up my life to our church leader and it revealed me two things. Though I am well aware of these things, it's just this time only when I realized that it is really deep and should be fixed as soon as possible. It's not that easy that's why I am praying to God on this.

My struggle as a Christian is my same sex attraction and the flashbacks of my past life that comes along with it from time to time. It's like a war or battle in the mind that sometimes triggers my sexual or physical desires to burn up. I became HIV positive because of my homosexual struggle which I thought at first that engaging into gay lifestyle will free myself and make me happy only to end up empty, depressed, dirty and worst of all sick with a life-threatening disease. Now that I am living a Christian life and doing God's work in a ministry, I came to a realization that I need to address these two things which I am pretty sure will greatly affect positively to my healing sexually.

First thing I realized is that I have experienced those difficulties and failures because of disobedience to God and not having a personal relationship with Him, though I have mentioned this in my previous postings already. Now that I have surrendered my life and accepted the Lord as my personal Lord and Savior 7 months ago to be exact, the second thing I realized that I need to restore is my relationship to my father and then eventually to the whole family. These are the root cause of everything that happened to me and it's alright because in God's time everything will be restored the way it should be.

I praise and thank the Lord for turning my life upside down, shifting it to a 180 degrees turn. I am now enjoying my life as a Christian and happy doing God's work or ministry while blessing other people's lives every time I give my testimony to them whether on HIV & AIDS workshop that I am doing or on TV or radio invitations. I am glad and blessed that God send people into my life that will help me live the kind of life He wanted me to be.

I pray that the Lord will help me and continue to shower me with the blessings of His wisdom and courage to carry out His works. Also I pray that He will make a way and touch the lives of other HIV positive people I know to come to God and build a relationship with Him through Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

My First As COH Facilitator

The Pastors and faith leaders from Bais and Dumaguete City were my first participants as "Channels of Hope" facilitator with World Vision.

It happened last June 24 and 25. I found out that it was the fourth time since the leaders planned to hold the COH HIV/AIDS workshop. It was postponed three times and it explained why from the original 45 participants, the number went down to only 13 faith leaders. During the first day, they were only 7 then the rest attended the second day. The number somehow affected me coz I have lost a bit my enthusiasm and it was reflected on me on day one according to my two co-facilitators. That feedback helped me to gather myself and on the second day, I have showed enthusiasm as I tell my testimony to them.

I was blessed for I have touched their lives and it helped them to change their attitude and behavior towards people living with HIV. Somehow, they were enlightened and realized how big their role is as church leaders on the awareness, prevention and de-stigmatization of this pandemic.

The first experience was great that I have learned a lot of things from facilitation, workshop and from the participants as well. The over all feedback from them was very good. Nevertheless, I have so many things to improve to be an effective facilitator for COH and lots of things to learn.

I am looking forward to my next workshop as facilitator and very excited to tell how good God is by sharing to them my testimony. Praise the Lord Jesus Christ!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

From Diagnosis to Acceptance 4

In the last phase, which is the rebuilding phase, the healthy HIV positive person accepts his status, with all its consequences and continues with life. Whether a person ever reaches this stage will depend on his own internal coping skills and his support structure.

The first move towards acceptance is to realize: I am still here! The person realizes that he is HIV positive but is not going today or next month.... and has a life and family and people around. The person can make the choice to remain sorry for him or herself or can start to live and love again. This implies that he starts to appreciate life and live it to the full, appreciating every small detail life can offer!

One of the biggest problems of HIV and AIDS being a slow but progressive disease is that the infected person loses the will or ability to dream about the future. The challenge is to think beyond next year - to think what you would like to do with your life if you were not HIV positive.

On hearing that they are HIV positive, a person might start to "eat, drink and be merry because tomorrow we die!" But as you accept the fact that you have a life-threatening illness, you change this into a healthy lifestyle - not fatalism but of appreciating life and the people around you.

Currently, I am in this phase of my life and I am so happy that I have accepted the Lord as my personal Lord and Savior. God has turned this nightmare into a beautiful dream that is gradually becoming a reality. I have prayed for a ministry and God has given it to me. Being an advocate for HIV and AIDS and de-stigmatization and promoting Christian living to stop the spread of HIV is an honor for me and I am happy where I am now. God is truly working on my life now and walking beside me every step of the way. Yes, there are still struggles but with the Lord, I can take control of them and not the other way around. Teaching HIV & AIDS and de-stigmatization to faith or church leaders is a wonderful experience and a privilege to me as well. I'll talk about it next time.

Source: "Channels of Hope" workshop manual.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

From Diagnosis to Acceptance 3

In the remembering phase the person is considering when and how he might have become infected. What about previous sexual partners - who infected him? Or could he have been the cause of infecting any previous sexual partners? Must he go back to these partners and tell them that he tested positive (which is by the way, highly recommended)? Will he have the courage to do so?

During this phase the HIV positive person is struggling with himself. This person might be questioning his own lifestyle and while questioning his own lifestyle, the person becomes very sensitive to any judgmental attitudes from people around him.

What is the first question person normally ask when they hear someone is HIV positive? The answer would be: "Where did he get it?" Why do we ask this? People normally want to determine: Guilty or not guilty? Who we are to judge? Have you never made any choices in your life that you now regret? What difference would it make to know how the person got infected? It could only lead to stigma, discrimination and a judgmental attitude. The fact is: the person is now HIV positive - he now needs to know that we will not reject him. This is the last question you should ever ask.

Source: "Channels of Hope" workshop manual.