Life at Night

Updated: July 7, 2016

I’m committed to my boyfriend. How the hell can I acquire HIV? Then images came to mind, I thought of my friends – some into gays, some with active sex life, and some getting their selves inked...

One night when I talked to my girls, they bragged about guys they had in bed then I unwittingly said, “What an eww lifestyle.” One counter parted directly to one of our companies, “Coz she’s not liberated enough to understand us.” I was wrong in the first place alright. My question is, do I have to hook up as many as I can to be ‘liberated enough’? No. We all had our own ways of expressing how liberated we are – me on long-term relationship, them depends on their mood.

How can I not understand them? When I was 16, I would rouse up from my slumber at 3am as my roommate would go rock n’ roll with her boyf in the lower deck. Earlier years from that, I have heard of my cousin’s sex stories like “how she moved that ass..” At 17, I have acquainted myself with gays – male or female having same sex relationship. At 18, I learned to talk vulgar language with my friends. I have made friends with virgins and ‘like virgins’. I sometimes go to parties. I socialize. I met people who dope, who drinks heavily, or whoever with different definitions of heaven. Yet never did I get too wild. I was careful. I was wise. Glad that I was, glad that I am.

Late December last year, I laughed over a radio broadcast about how a gay in mid 20s end up his life when he found out of having HIV. I have personally not known anyone nor have met at least one person living with HIV. I absolutely don’t have any idea as to how to deal such person whose trying to suppress the ‘shame’ of being infected due to his or her aggressive acts. Then when I was attending the discussion about HIV/AIDS held by Philippine Information Agency Region X, I remembered how I just laugh about the news I’ve heard over the radio. This is some kind of a serious matter in the city, it seems. Okay, my bad again.

Upon realizing such, today’s crazy and wild activities concerns me as to how people might take the wrong way which led me to updating this post to spread HIV awareness online, especially here in Cagayan de Oro (where I currently reside) since an article came out saying that the city was reported second with highest rate of HIV case in the country. If this holds true, will the news paralyze the city’s nightlife?
Life at night
Before we provide judgment, let us first know what is HIV/AIDS assuming that everyone have heard of the ‘disease’ (which is really not a disease yet) but have no idea as to what it really is.

According to Dr Evelyn Magsayo of DOH Region X, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus which causes the infection that attacks the immune system of the human body; which means that people living with HIV should not be called as patients because they are not yet having the disease. Again, it is only an infection. If there will be an overwhelming virus to the immune system, invasion of other infections can no longer be prevented as such that it becomes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Note: HIV is an infection. AIDS is the end point of that infection. 
Life at night
Okay, so why would we care? We know for a fact that Cagayan de Oro comes alive at night with the availability of lifestyle bars. To some, nightlife may equate to ‘sex opportunities’, the worst of time for you or your friend to acquire HIV as you fall victims to some preys (or maybe with your own consent, which I hope is not) though it is only not through sex that a person can have infection. How then is HIV acquired? Simple, through human to human interaction like:

a) Having sex with person living with HIV – the most common way to have the infection,
b) Use of needles during a tattoo sesh or drug sesh when the needle is already used by a person infected with HIV, and
c) Vertical transmission (mother to child transmission) - when a mother is already infected, it can be transmitted to the child during pregnancy, during delivery, or during breastfeeding.
Life at night
Naah! I don’t do nightlife and other worldly activities, perhaps I’m already safe. It could be’ but how about your relatives? Your friends? FYI, HIV case in our country is increasing by 25% in terms of general population as based on 2015 report. In CDO, 23 out of 300 correspondents from key population of MSM (males having sex with males) and TSM (transgender having sex with males) are found positive of HIV after undergoing the complete voluntary testing during the integrated HIV/AIDS behavioural and serologic surveillance held last June-August, 2015. Yeah, that’s statistics you would not care. So here’s a direct point: further study found out that people with high risk of HIV are within the age bracket of 15-34. Youngsters are now sexually active, and as a tool, it would be best if we know the ABCDE OF PREVENTION to know how to protect ourselves and in such a way, we can also help others or give them this piece of advice.

Abstinence from sex. If the partner is found out to have infected with HIV.
Be mutually faithful to your partner. This should serve as red sign to not just hook up with anyone or you throw yourself into trouble.
Care and protection. You should ALWAYS know your partner’s status and use condom properly at all times.
Do not inject drugs. Again, it’s the needles and keeping one’s sanity. No drugs, no possible sex.
Education. Would you not want to spread the word? Education is the most powerful of all!

Now that we’ve covered HIV/AIDS 101, let’s go back to the main question: will the news (on HIV) paralyze the city’s nightlife?

With the result that came out during the integrated HIV/AIDS behavioural and serologic surveillance as presented above, it does not statistically make Cagayan de Oro as second with highest rate of HIV case in the country because the data are only taken for the purpose of knowing the prevalence rate which should be done every two years at a certain period of time. Meaning, there’s no need to immobilize nightlife. As a matter of fact, the city’s night buzz is a way of enticing tourist to visit CDO as one of tourist destinations in Mindanao. Another thing, the city is in dire need of investors that can help contribute to city’s economic stability in a way KTV and lifestyle bars have done. Take note that we need to keep tourists and investors coming in without worrying about HIV because we can’t stop any improvements, this is a rising metropolis! We can only defend ourselves as we engage into night activities with our knowledge of HIV/AIDS as well as its prevention – this will serve as our tool.


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