‘I Am HIV POSITIVE’

This short phrase written above is the bitter realization HIV infected persons have to accept.

These words have disrupted lives and ended the joy of many, but I am not here to bore you with the details or remind you of the shock and pain you felt when you came to this realization.

 

This post is for three categories of people;

  • Those living with the HIV virus.
  • Those living without the HIV virus.
  • And those who are unsure of their status.

 

The deadly virus – Human Immunodeficiency Virus, has been around for decades. It was first discovered in Nigeria in 1985, which is two years after it was discovered in San Francesco by a group of scientists led by Dr. Luc Montagnier from one Ken Horne as the first carrier of the incurable disease.

 

 

For an incurable disease which has claimed the lives of millions all over the world and with 150,000 deaths of AIDs-related illness just last year in Nigeria; it has seen Nigeria as the country with the second largest HIV epidemic.

 

After about 33 years and millions of recorded deaths caused by AIDs. Many are now aware of their status but most still cower at the thought of knowing their status for many reasons e.g multiple sexual partners, unfaithful partner, use of sharp and unsterilized objects, use of unscreened blood, amongst others.

 

HIV is a virus that attacks the human’s immune system, which is the natural defence against illnesses, but when left unchecked, the virus gradually attacks the T-helper cells, known as CD4 cells for about 10 to 15 years, so imagine the extent of damage it would have incured which leads to the appearance of the defining symptoms – which is AIDs.

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome is a compilation of symptoms and illnesses, which is also known as the late HIV stage.

 

Over the years, the awareness and news about the incurable disease has dwindled, which has in effect reduced the cautiousness of most Nigerians.

 

 

It is important to know your HIV status, this helps you lead a better life.

 

Proper use of the Anti-retroviral medications aimed at suppressing the load of the infectious cells and also a healthy lifestyle helps you live above the virus.

 

We will be sharing with you, personal stories of happy Africans living with the virus, spreading the news on how to live well, and how to stay HIV-free.

 

Read on how Mpho, a sexually active gay man came to this realization of being HIV positive.

Hmm, where do I start? I am a sexually active guy, but I never thought I would get HIV. I always made sure I used condoms and tested regularly, I even remember a nurse asking why am I testing so often. I giggled and said it’s a routine, I do it automatically.

My friends introduced me to this nude bar around my area, and wow, good-looking guys everywhere! My friends warned me that I should use a condom if I have sex with stranger. But excitement took over and bam! I had unprotected sex. A while later I started getting a lot of fevers and colds, but it never struck me that I could be HIV-positive.

My body started changing, I became fat, but thought it was only my depression tablets, which I stopped taking in the end. Before long I was getting tired all the time, a five-minute walk would give me sweats all over.

Then, at work they had a ‘wellness day’. It dawned on me that I hadn’t tested for almost 3 years. I walked tall into the testing room. The nurse was nice and gave me counselling, everything was fine so far. Then, I tested positive, and the numbness crept in. The first thing I thought was: “Will my colleagues see the expression on my face?”

I sat by the corner for about 15 minutes, I was stressed, not because I was positive but because I was worried about how my aunt would take it. How am I going to cope! I decided to call her, I told her my result and she took it well. She was supportive. I was actually excited. The courage to tell my guardian gave me strength to say: “What the heck, life goes on!”

I immediately started my treatment, and boy I have to tell you, I never experienced any sort of setback and have never been sick – and now I am even undetectable.

Opening up to someone close to you doesn’t only bring you relief it invites them to assist you with the treatment, especially for us young guys with busy lives – one day you take your meds and the other day you forget. Having someone to nag and remind you, is just what you need. Do not keep your status to yourself, it will only end up causing you stress. Talk about it, it helps”.

 

Source: Avert Org

 

Spread the news and not the virus!

 

Stay tuned for more!

 

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Photo credit: pixabay/istockphoto

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