Stream of Life

Stream of Life
Eternally flowing...

Monday, May 23, 2011

OHAT Package Concerns

This is originally posted by Juan Dela Cruz here

Dear Philhealth,

Firstly, I'd like to think that persons living with HIV (PLHIVs) like me truly appreciate your gesture of taking care of/subsidizing the cost of antiretrovirals (ARVs) that many of us take and of certain laboratory tests that we need to undergo relative to our medical condition, especially with the approaching termination of the Global Fund's financing of the same by December 2012. It would be of great help to us - financially, that is.

But I have some gripes with the way your office is treating us PLHIVs, who do not deserve to be burdened with certain requirements and procedures that would only stress us out a lot. Do know that stress and/or depression is not good for those like me.

You have required PLHIVS still not taking ARVs to pay for the CD4 count, for example. Whether or not, they have Philhealth. A CD4 count in a certain treatment hub costs P3,000! That amount is too heavy for someone who is earning just the minimum wage or barely reaching minimum wage. What if a PLHIV cannot afford to take that count or some other lab tests because of lack of funds? He or she will never know the current status of his or her immuno-compromised health unless he or she undergoes the regular physical exams and lab tests.

Another predicament that PLHIVs face is having to ask our human resources (HR), administrative heads, or managers to sign the CF1 form, which we need to submit every time we get ARVs or every three months. The most common questions asked of us who ask our employers or company officers to sign the documents are: what is this for and why do we need to sign it? We are a loss on how to explain it. We cannot tell them we have HIV, right? Or that we need this document for our HIV treatment.

I have learned that doctors of designated treatment hubs and representatives of PLHIV groups have met Philhealth officers and asked if your office can accept payslips instead of the CF1 because of the difficulty faced by PLHIVs in having it signed. The payslips would show that the employed is a regular contributor to Philhealth anyway. But your office have reportedly turned down the suggestion saying that payslips can be faked. But your office can check with where the PLHIV is working to determine if he or she is indeed employed there as suggested also but your office said that it would entail lots of work and would be an additional burden on your part.

We have the option though to tell our company that we will personally take over paying our contributions directly to Philhealth in order to evade questions on the signing of the CF1 forms but that would be tedious for PLHIVs, knowing how slow procedures are when it comes to government office transactions.


So we PLHIVs have no choice but to submit the CF1 form, along with the MDR every three months, and face the scrutiny of our employers, even the risk of not having our CF1 forms signed unless we can adequately explain why and for what reason is it being submitted for their signature.

I wish your office can make it things easier for us PLHIVs. We already have this medical condition. It was a lapse in our personal judgment by not adhering to safe sex that is why we contracted HIV, but do we have to be "punished" like this by your office?

I hope more consideration would be given to us because the bottom-line here is: lives are at stake.

Yours truly,
R10-AAC of RITM/"Aries"

10cc Lighter

I had my latest blood extraction for my CD4 determination this morning. Had to wake up earlier than normal to get to the laboratory early. Was still quite drowsy as I made my way there.

I arrived just in time. The laboratory just opened and we were asked to come in. After about 30 minutes, I was out and about 10cc of blood lighter. Stayed outside for a while to chat with an acquaintance I haven't seen for a while then proceeded to leave.

I'll have a week to worry over the result together with my other stressors.

Incidentally, this is the last free CD4 test that I will have. With the global funding for free laboratory tests for PLWHA at its last round, I should start working on my PHILHEALTH claim and begin a personal fund for medication and treatment.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Ant Goes A-Flying

My travel bag sees the light of day again as I prepare to pack my stuff for a 5-day training in the city of the merlion.

It has been a crazy 2 weeks of sleepless nights finishing presentation slides and clearing my back-logs so I am not really looking forward to this weeklong training.

Hopefully, being in SG again will provide me with a fresh perspective of what I am really doing in this job and, more importantly, why I am at this job.

But for now, the case lies open on the floor. I don't know when I'd start packing.

Candelight Memorial to Look Forward To

*Originally posted by Pinoypoz here
On Sunday, 15 May 2011, the Yoga for Life community will come together to join the world in commemorating the 28th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial at the Glorietta 3 Park in Ayala Center, Makati. Entitled Yoga for Life: Touching Lives, it will be an afternoon that will gather yoga enthusiasts and HIV advocates alike in a candlelit sunset ceremony honoring the lives of people affected by HIV and AIDS.

The Yoga for Life community will take the traditional candle lighting ceremony further by making an impact in the way that it knows best - through yoga. Co-founders Charmaine Cu-Unjieng and Paulo Leonido will be joined by the country’s top yoga instructors in leading the community through yoga poses, breathing techniques and guided meditation, to demonstrate how the discipline and community of yoga help those affected by HIV. More importantly, the event aims to unite the community’s energies towards igniting the flames of HIV awareness in the general public.

The event will begin with registration at 3:30 pm, and will be supported by yoga instructors Roland dela Cruz, Jeannie Javelosa, Tesa Celdran, Marilen Elizalde, Marc Carlos, Lex Bonife and Rebecca de Villa, HIV advocates from different sectors and friends of the Yoga for Life community. Proceeds from the event will support the services that Yoga for Life provides to the HIV community, which include yoga classes, meditation sessions, and HIV and life-skills counseling.

This is the 28th year since the International Candlelight Memorial was first held, making it the longest running community event around HIV and AIDS. It will also be the first time that the Yoga for Life community is joining the tens of thousands of people from 75 different countries in touching the lives of those affected by HIV. While the Candlelight Memorial was originally held to commemorate the lives lost to HIV, Yoga for Life chooses to empower the lives of those who continue to triumph in spite of the virus, and celebrate the HIV advocate in everyone.

Yoga for Life began in June 2010, and is the Philippines’ first community-based yoga program for persons living with HIV, as well as others who support them and the cause and want to experience the beauty of yoga. To date, the community has grown to over 300, as Yoga for Life continues to reach more people and build a community of advocates who, through yoga, share their energies towards living positively and living well.

So come and join us as we touch lives through yoga!