In light of World AIDS day marked on the 1st of December every year I decided to undergo a HIV/STD tests at the General Hospital closest to my office last week. You know how positive minded people can like to assure themselves of their status…that’s me. I can’t be HIV positive. I had done the HIV test previously on many occasions but not because I wanted to do it but because I had to do it. The last three employment offers I received were all proceeded by a compulsory full body test and HIV test was top of the list.
So I got to the hospital in a very calm state of mind, payed for the tests and got the lab attendant to take my blood and all. Then she said “you will have to wait for an hour for the test results to be available”. Thus began the longest hour of my life.
After about 15 minutes, the same lab attendant that was all smiles initially had a stern look on her face. Did someone offend her? Did her boss reprimand her for something I am aware of? or did she find something in my blood? OMG.
Then I started imagining all the bad things I had done, the times I either forgot to use a condom because of love or the damn thing broke. Maybe there is something wrong? OMG.
Maybe Sandra was the one that infected me, or was it Ada? No, it can’t be Ada, she said she was clean. But being clean is not by mouth o. Maybe it’s Judith…..but she looks so innocent and all. She can’t be positive. Who then? Think boy, think.
Do you see your life, for 10 minutes worth of pleasure (I dont last more than 10 minutes in bed, sorry to admit) I might have to live my life travelling to one Pastor or the other to get my status changed or at worst taking drugs.
What if I had just listened to my Pastor the days he preached against sexual immorality eeeeeh. OMG.
Wait, maybe God wants to punish me for something I did. “God even if you want to punish me, punish me with something else na. This one na die o”, I thought within myself.
Oya God, if results comes out and I am negative, I will zip up till marriage. No more premarital sex oooo. No more. No more. God help me.
It just seemed like time was moving so slow and I was almost getting restless. Its already an hour and 2 minutes and the result is not yet out? Who told me to come and do blood test o. Shey I would have just minded my own business. As they say “what you don’t know won’t kill you”.
As the devil was playing tricks on my mind, the beautiful looking lab attendant walked pass me heading to the Doctor’s office with a sheet of paper in hand (maybe my result). She wasn’t smiling. Something must be wrong. Maybe I should just leave the hospital now to avoid stories that touch. I don’t want to hear that “you might be positive but its not the end of the World” pep talk. It is not for me.
As I was plotting my escape, it seemed she had as inclination as to my motive and just about stopped me in my tracks. “Oga, where are you going?”, she said. “Ehmmmmmmmmmm, just taking a stroll”, I managed to cough out. “Doctor wants to see you” and then she smiled. “At last, that smile which means everything is okay”, I thought to myself.
I gathered courage and entered Doctor’s office and as I sat down, he made the most beautiful statement I heard all my life “you are negative on all tests conducted”. I sat there in shock, didn’t know whether to jump, shout, scream, lie on the floor as the big boy I had to compute myself.
So I had been worrying myself for nothing all along. So its true when they say that the virus doesn’t kill, its the worry that kills faster.
As we mark another World AIDS day today (December 1st), I am one of a few million sexually active Nigerians that have gotten tested recently and know by their status. Just today, the new Minister of Health for State, Dr Osagie Ehanire disclosed that an estimated 3.4 million Nigerians are infected with the virus with only about 800,000 receiving antiretroviral drugs to suppress the virus and over 2.9 million others (mostly men) are currently living in hiding/denial and not receiving treatment. According to him, these millions not only stand the risk of death by HIV related illnesses, but also affecting new people causing a surge of the disease.
The theme of this year’s event is “Getting to Zero: Ending HIV/AIDS by 2030” and for this dream to be achievable in 15 years, we all need to get tested and maintain a no condom, no sex stand. Even love is no substitute.
NOTE: The story is mostly fictional and only used by the writer to drive home a point/message.