In this week’s “The Boy with the Rainbow Scarf,” Brent shares something more familial.
As a kid, Lilo & Stitch was the most popular movie of my generation. When that scene where Lilo gets abducted and Stitch says nobody gets left behind was the BEST PART of that movie but rewatching it now as an adult… the part where Stitch left Lilo’s house with that book about a lost duck… then he found himself lost exactly like the duck in the book… really hit me hard.
Simply because that’s what my older brother is experiencing now.
That line – “Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten” really had a big impact in my life and in my family’s… at least I thought it did.
He was 19 when he got himself tested and due to his own negligence, he got tested positive with HIV. I didn’t know any better at that age about safe sex, but he often shared with me about his sexual exploits and how he was being passed around like a bong from guy to guy. As fate would have it, he got infected.
People often talk about the person with HIV and what they deal with but nobody talks about the family of that infected person. Nobody ever realizes that they have to deal with it too.
As you can pretty much tell, I’m pretty close with my older brother. I was the first person who knew about him being gay, even before he realized it himself. I accepted him for what he was because just like in the movie, “Nobody gets left behind or forgotten”.
When he came out to me, all I did was hug him and reassured him that I still love him regardless. He later then came out to the rest of our family.
Obviously, Mom and Dad weren’t too happy about the idea that their son is a sausage eater, but what are you gonna do about it right? They came to terms with it and came to accept him. All was going pretty good for my older brother that is, until he went to KL to study.
He got mixed in with some bad crowds and got involved in those gay orgies and now we’re back to our present time.
When he got tested positive, he told us and as you can pretty much expected. We didn’t take it so well.
How does one cope with this information, that a family member is now positive with HIV? I was still in high school, but all I could think about was how I should be more concerned about which university I should go to.
It took us a while to reconcile facts and feelings. In the end, we were all more afraid of losing him than him being positive with HIV.
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for HIV but there’s a medication that my older brother can take to make “Undetectable” which was more than enough for us. It’s called antiretroviral treatment (ART) and it’s a type of drug that treat HIV. Many people living with HIV are taking treatment and staying healthy as a result. Current treatment for HIV is not a cure for HIV, but it can keep HIV under control very effectively.
ART works by keeping the level of HIV in your body low (your viral load). This lets your immune system recover and stay strong.
Keeping your viral load low also helps to prevent HIV being passed on.
With good healthcare and treatment, many people with HIV are living just as long as people who don’t have HIV.
You can continue to have relationships, to work or study, to make plans, to have a family – whatever you would have done before your HIV diagnosis.
With this, my older brother can still live a normal life which makes us very happy.
Yes, my older brother had sex with a lot of strangers caused this but if I were to put on my detective hat, the root cause of this problem is the lack of sex education we have in our country. This experience has made me do a lot of research and reading about HIV, AIDS and the people who are living with it.
Most of them weren’t aware about how they could have protected themselves and most have been ostracized by their family when they told them. My older brother was one of the few lucky ones that had his family to support him but what about the others?
My older brother is now Stitch and he’s now home with his ohana, but I’ll be damned if I let anyone suffer alone because of this.
Ohana means family, and family means NOBODY gets left behind or forgotten.