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Man battles scorn associated with AIDS

An Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome patient has called on Filipinos not to look down on people with Human Immunodeficiency Virus and AIDS.

He urged patients to be brave and advised them they can live a normal life despite having HIV and AIDS.

At the AIDS Candle Light Memorial 2017 in Valenzuela City last Wednesday, he recalled his struggle with the disease.

“I was very thin and weak. I can’t even stand,” the 36-year-old said as he recalled his situation six years ago before he took first medication.

He said that he was so afraid to admit that he has AIDS and was very hesitant to take medicines because he thought what people would say.

“If I let my fear overcome me, I could have been dead by now. I will not be standing here in front of you,” he said.

He lost 30 kilos because of the complications from his disease. “I can see my bones from my body because I lost 30 kilos six years ago. But look at me now, I am now an advocate and I regained my weight,” he said.

“I am now living a normal life just like everyone else.”

He said that he became an HIV-AIDS advocate so that others who were infected will not suffer the stigma he had.

“I want people not to be scared to get tested. In case they turnout positive, I want them to know that it is not the end yet,” he said, adding others can live a normal life despite having AIDS.

The event was attended by about 300 people, most of them millennials.

A moving play about the struggle of people living with AIDS was performed by the Valenzuela Center for the Performing Arts durig the event with the theme “Ending AIDS Together.” (Jel Santos)