I am HIV positive

By Anonymous, :: 26-07-2011

Last week we received an anonymous email from a student who concealed his identity. Below is how it is:
For some time now, I have wanted to share this testimony with you but always failed to get the opportunity. Today I believe the  editors thought it best to publish my story, that’s if you are reading it. On 1st October Friday 201, the week was ending with  health awareness  in which they had promised to give out free t-shirts at the old football pitch. I and a couple of friends  made sure that we were there in time for the free t-shirts (please avoid free things ,they are usually not free). We found an HIV testing campaign going on. I thought to myself, “Why not go for it since I was sure of myself, never having slept, kissed any girl (I am a virgin, head to toe)? I had never been in any serious accident or ever shared any sharp instrument that could have cut me to infect me. I got two of my friends to join me and decided to take the HIV test.  Four blood samples were taken from us, the first to get tested being myself. However, when the announcement of results came, my friend was the first to get her results which I thought was odd. She was negative. Then it was my turn. I was sure I was negative. The counsellor asked me whether I had under-gone any counseling. I said no. She quickly asked me what I would do if I was found to be positive. I found this weird. I would live a positive life, I answered rushing her through the formality, just to get her to tell me the result. However, the counselor began to ask me whether I had a girlfriend? To which I said NO. Had I ever had sex? NO. Was I  lying? NO. Was I sure? YES. The questions later wound their way to my parents. Was my mother alive? NO.was my father alive? NO. What had caused their death? I   simply said,  “sickness.” I had seen my fathers death certificate and there was nothing written on like AIDS.
  The lady later told me that I was HIV-positive. I simply smiled at her, thinking it was one of those techniques used by counselors to first put you on pressure then later tell you , “I was joking. You are negative.”
 This woman looked me straight in the eyes and didn’t flick. Then, I knew she was not joking. I felt like kicking her but hoped this was one of those sour jokes that usually seem to be true for some time and but later turnout to be just a big joke.
 She then asked me to go. As I walked from her, I felt as if I was walking for miles from the seat to the outside of the tent. As I moved, I  looked back, hoping that she would call me back and say, “it’s a joke.” But she didn’t. My friends rushed to me as soon as I was out of the tent and insisted on seeing my results chit. I felt so weak that I could not even hide it. But these were my friends; how could I hide it? They were all shocked. I walked on but kept glancing back at the woman as I neared the accounts office in Pilkington House,still hoping that she would call me back to say, “I was joking.”
I headed for lunch as a formality. possibly The way people looked  at me was as if they suspected something. But even when this was a shocker to my friends, thank God, they are still my friends to this day, giving me strength (I now believe that we ought to chose our friends carefully). I later called home and set a meeting with my aunt who is a doctor. She could not believe it. That Monday, I went home for a test at Family Hope Centre, where I was confirmed  HIV-positive. I was counselled and some days later on put on treatment of septrins, which I will take daily for the rest of my life as an immunity booster. Lately, I have started ARVS (I will tell you the battle that comes with taking ARVS). I almost forgot: what is the moral of my story?
• We ought to be careful with our lives. You see what you think is between you and that girl at night between the sheets or even standing in the dark under the tree  may also impact on your children, relatives, friends and others in the community. Today I live  with this condition,not as a result of my behaviour,but as a result of a lifestyle of  those who were supposed to be foundations for a bright healthy future for me. Those of you out there cohabiting in those clumsy hostels, what will you tell your children when you infect them.
• The friends we make ought to be yardsticks for positive change in our lives. What is wrong should clearly be spelled out without fear or favour. That’s the role of a true friend. To justify compromise for the truth. I know these class mates of mine(all are girls) who derive financial pleasure from detoothing men and boys, one acts as the escape goat so she indulges in a “love”(lust) sex relationship with this boy ,as the rest benefit from the presumed money the boy splashes on them. The relationship has lasted only one semester. Suppose this girl gets HIV. Tell me where these friends (fools) will be. Will the shillings buy her life?
• HIV/AIDS is a very tricky disease, many believe in theory trash that if one has many pimples then she/he may be infected. No . How was I to know that I was infected, for close to 22 years I was living sick free.No major sickness. Clean body, healthy face and body. And still a virgin (I’m not ugly by general standards, I have good looks). I have many friends who began both protected and unprotected sex   way back in their primary school. I shudder to imagine how many I would have infected  innocently without knowing my status, if I had foolishly also indulged in that lifestyle. As you ponder about last night, thinking that that person you slept with last night was “good” and is trustworthy think about people out there like me who come across as very healthy.
Some time back I was listening to the archbishop of the Church of Uganda the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi. And he said, we cannot determine our past or where we come from, but we can determine our destiny.
  Surprisingly I do not live in guilt, fear or pain over what my parents brought into my life. Rather I thank God for his mercies every day. For I have lived 22 years without any serious sickness that can threaten my life and yet I was not on any medication at all. God is great. Imagine Him keeping me safe all this long. I am reminded of a man who asked Jesus whether a certain lame man was being punished for his parent’s sins or his. If I die now, all I know is that He has His plans and my life is in His hands. I still give Him the praise.
God is good and fair in His ways. We don’t need to understand them, we simply need to accept them. For we never applied for life; He just gave it to us.
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