Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Happily (N)ever After-The HIV Question

I love watching romance movies. Boy woos girl, she forms for him small, they fall in love, guy proposes and they get married and of course live happily ever after. I love romance stories sometimes I just want to cry ( I actually do most times). The movie industry has sold us the story of romance so well; every little girl’s fantasy is to find that one special guy that will sweep her off her feet. Fine, I mean I love love and I do believe in happily ever after stories, but what these movies don’t tell you is what happens before and after the marriage (or what should happen). Do they really live happily ever after? These movies don’t really address issues like genotype issues or maybe the contracting of STDs and HIV unless the movie is directly dedicated to bringing to light those issues. I remember watching this Tyler Perry movie (Tyler Perry is awesome by the way. I love his work), and so the guy in the movie reconnects with his old friend, this girl that is a prostitute.  He discovers his feelings for her, is there for her at a crucial stage in her life and ensures she stays off the streets. He even leaves his girlfriend after finding out what an obnoxious bitch she is, for this his old friend turned prostitute turned good girl (later on in the movie). Now the movie doesn't tell us if they get married or not, but obviously it ends well and they’re happy and we can tell they’ll probably get married (there's this other movie with a similar story, and the guy and lady actually got married at the end). I just kept wondering after watching. I mean what if this lady has a major STD or worse HIV. They didn't even check all those things before running around happily. Or what if they even have incompatible genotypes? Will their story really end so well?  She became clean, learnt about God, but fine she needs to be checked before you take her home.

I've been pondering over all these issues lately after spending some time working in a HIV clinic. In case you didn't know and you are still living in oblivion, well I'm telling you now, HIV IS REAL. Working in that clinic was a teeny weensy bit depressing but seeing the positive energy (no pun intended) some of these infected people exuded just made me happy on some days and I found myself laughing with some of them. I mean if they are happy, I should be happy too.

The large number of patients we dispensed drugs to everyday just made it more blaring to me that people, and so many at that, are living with this virus. Some just found out when they got pregnant. Some found out after marriage...etc.

I did a post once on 'The genotype question' and about how people don’t ask that question when dating and only later on face the consequences. That post earned my blog a lot of views and is still a major search term that directs people to my blog and for me it points to the fact that this is an issue that really bothers people and is just the reality of what we face. You need to read that post and some of the comments on it to see what people are going through. It can be quite depressing. I know what it is like to have to break up with the love of your life because of genotype incompatibility. The same way I wrote that post to spread the word about genotype checking is the same way I'm writing this post to spread the word that HIV is real and the HIV status question has to be asked before delving into any major relationship, even though it seems like a really hard one. 

Now I'm not saying stigmatise HIV positive people, I'm just saying ask the question when it’s important to (don’t go around thinking everyone has the virus), because millions of people are living with the virus. "According to estimates by WHO and UNAIDS, 34 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2011. That same year, some 2.5 million people became newly infected, and 1.7 million died of AIDS-related causes, including 230 000 children. More than two-thirds of new HIV infections are in sub-Saharan Africa." (link). Just working in that clinic made it so evident, what with the number of patients attended to daily and in just that clinic alone, which is one of many centres nationwide.

HIV no dey show for face. You need to see most of the patients I attended to looking all chic and fab, you’d never tell. And some are so happy it’s hard not to tap into that joy. Though sometimes I try to imagine how it must have been for them when they first discovered they had the virus.

The HIV virus in itself doesn't kill. It’s the result of the broken down immune system (which is like an army of soldiers that helps to fight off infections in the body) and susceptibility to various infections/diseases that leads to AIDS and to death.  HIV positive people can lead very good quality lives when they are consistent with their medications (which help to slow down the multiplication of the virus and hence build immunity) and pay really good attention to their health. They are just like every normal person.

We shouldn't stigmatize them. I know it’s easy to, for most people, especially when almost every HIV positive person is judged as having contracted it by sexual intercourse. When you hear of cases of people that contracted the virus through blood transfusion and needle prick injuries then maybe you’d just have a re-think and start looking at them through different eyes.  With that too, we should also protect ourselves from getting the virus. HIV is not transmitted by breathing the same air as HIV positive people. It is not transmitted by shaking hands, hugging, sharing pens, sharing utensils and sharing clothes.

Avoid sharing sharp objects such as needles, razor blades, and ensure that if you are getting injected in a hospital for whatever reason, the person injecting you is using fresh equipment, specifically for you. For guys take your own clipper to the barbing salon. Ladies use your own needles for the fixing of your weaves and if possible buy new needles very often. Nowadays hospitals are more careful about blood being donated and transfused to patients. Blood donated is usually properly screened.

And finally, I'm an advocate for no sex before marriage; as a Christian first and as a health professional. That’s what I think is ideal. But when we look at it we really don’t live in an ideal world.  I remember my post on whether birth control promotes promiscuity or not (not really related but you can check it out). Nothing is ever perfect and the reality is teenagers are having sex, guys and girls have multiple sexual partners, men are sleeping with men, and women are sleeping with women (it’s all very scary to think of, but it's reality). So I won’t just sit down and pretend I don’t know what is going on and start judging people. So with that I’d say if you must have sex please use protection. I can’t emphasize that well enough. And please get tested. Ask your partner for their HIV status and if they say they are ‘clean’, please just for clarity sake and to prevent wahala, don’t believe them (seriously) and carry them to the nearest laboratory and you guys get tested together and see the result with your koro koro eye..

HIV is real and e no dey show for face..

God help us.

Love, ay.


  1. Hmn, enlightening post, thank you. Madam Sting did a post on HIV last week too.

    1. You're welcome.

      Thanks for stopping by.. Spread the word!

  2. i knw HIV is real but it became more real when i lost a 2 family members to the deadly virus. and would have been avoided if the poor innocent girl shined her eyes. let not be so desperate and forget our values. pls ladies make sure you go with him when he is going for the test. and id possible go to a hospital that the both of you are not familiar with because some of these guys are devils in human flesh.

  3. Your message is so true. Go for HIV test. www.secretlilies.com

  4. Its true. Its only by Gods grace and God has His reasons for celibacy before marriage.

    1. Yes, God sure has His reasons for saying "don't do this, don't do that".
      We pray for Him to direct our paths and give us the strength to carry on.

      Thanks for visiting. :)

  5. Replies
    1. I'll take that to mean the message has sunk in..

      Thanks for stopping by..:)


Feel free to leave a comment. You can't tell how much that encourages me :)