Hi TEBians, how much do you know about HIV/AIDS? And do you know your status?
World AIDS Day is a day which occurs every 1st of December and affords opportunity for people across the world to unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
In memory of this day, I will recount an experience for you. I spent a year, in Federal Polytechnic Nekede Owerri, and then left for University of Nigeria Nsukka. I had a swell time and made quite a number of friends. A few years later, a friend who was my lodge mate then, chatted me on WhatsApp and we went on to gist a bit.
As usual with his naughty self, he asked me “hope say you dey oil your engine well o” (meaning “hope you’re having regular sex”). I replied him, “HIV is real o, man gatz dey careful”.
Guess what he said in reply:
“They don get you with that fake tori? That thing is not real jor”.
To say I was shocked is putting it lightly. Still I shrugged it off as a joke. Maybe he was pulling my legs. “Are you serious?” I asked, “you clearly haven’t been to the Heart-to-Heart unit at FMC, lol”.
But this my guy insisted.
“It’s all made up stories. They no want make person enjoy life. Anyway, na people like you dey fall for that kain talk.”
This was sometime around 2015, so it definitely wasn’t the dark ages. He was a graduate so cannot be classified as illiterate. Hence I was weak, ashamed on his behalf, felt pity for him, truly conflicting emotions.
Therefore the next year when I started my internship in the hospital and worked at the HIV/AIDS unit, I engaged him in a chat to come pay me a visit to see for himself but he shunned me; he would not let me coarse him into believing such scam.
Today is World AIDS day and I can’t help but recount his story. In this day when all hands should be on deck to fight this menace. These years that have had billions of dollars sunken in research to find a cure. These days that even husband and wife are not safe from HIV/AIDS, someone who should be classified as enlightened, basks in ignorance, writing the disease off as a myth.
The theme for this year’s celebration of World’s AIDS day is “Know your status”.
By now, everyone should have come across this before. We have been encouraged always to know our status.
Why is it compulsory to know your status?
Severally, people have argued that knowing their status will only plunge them into a myriad of emotional pain, anxiety, loss of focus in life and all what’s not. Hence they rather incubate the disease, suffer it in ignorance and die. After all, death is the unavoidable eventuality, isn’t it?
No dear. Death from HIV is not unavoidable. It is the lack of knowledge of your status that leaves you infected with HIV and unprotected from AIDS. Infact, a host of other things can kill you before HIV does.
So here is why you should know your status:
1). Start your therapy on time to prevent coming down with full blown AIDS.
2). Read wide and learn more about how to live healthy and strong and happy in the face of HIV.
3). Become part of a community of people who are happy survivors, supporting each other for a lifetime.
4). Protect your loved ones from getting infected by you.
5). Prevent yourself from infecting others willfully or unknowingly.
6). Be guided on a purposeful marriage partner and produce healthy offsprings.
You see, knowing your status is more for your own good as it is for your loved ones and the society at large.
And if you’re part of a great support group or community of like minds, you will live a happy and contented life without being bitter and driven to willfully infecting others.
Note that hiding your status thereby infecting a sex partner, is a criminal and jailable offence.
There is higher risk of contracting the disease for homosexuals due to increased friction during sexual activity.
If you are homosexual, you must take keen interest and be regular with your HIV testing.
So this is me wishing you Happy World AIDS Day. Hey, KNOW YOUR STATUS!
Cheers. Please drop your thoughts in the comment section. Happy New Month.