“Shame on you for having flu!' This is a statement that would shut me up. I would stop talking simply because it would be shameful.
Now, flu is an infection and so is HIV but no one has ever condemned a person with flu as compared to persons living with HIV!
I’m not saying we should get infected with HIV but we should stop being naive and talking ill about people living with HIV any more than we do when people have other infections! I am happy not for having HIV but for knowing I am HIV-positive, for this is where my life began.
Initially, I knew I had an HIV status, either positive or negative. But I opted to have confidence in being negative because I believed I had not been exposed to any risk of infection. I was shocked then to learn that I was HIV-positive;; the thing I least, expected.
This is when I came to know with certainty my HIV status. If not for the test, I could still naively say I was negative! I think I have to stop taking my ARVs because it feels shameful.....but wait, not time yet I will quit once I hear people say 'taking painkillers to relieve pain is a shameful act,' but for now I am bound to my drugs.
We need to be fair in what we say. ARV is a drug to suppress viral load in the body just as painkillers are used to suppress pain. So allow me take my drugs in peace, I need to tame HIV and be healthy and strong just like you.
"Worry not anymore-- I am taking my drugs, my viral load has been suppressed and is now undetectable so I can't pass it on by sexual means. By this I don't now mean Kemboi is opening a vacancy... lol."
I don't blame you for saying it is shameful to take ARVs, You are just naive! You expected me to be thin, have wounds all over my body, be in and out of hospital, coughing like an exhaust in a 19th century garage. Or even worse, always checking on me to see if I made it to the morning or passed on at night.
Fortunately such is not and will not be part of my life, thanks to adhering to my treatment.
I am sure if I had let my status be a definition of shame ,you would not be reading this article and could have read about me instead in the obituaries in one of the dailies, if my family could have afforded to put it there!.
Still I say am not ashamed but you are naïve! Depression will be your lifestyle… so kindly hold on! I know you want to step on my feet but you have to retreat before you hurt yourself. I have a future, in fact a brighter one. At no point will HIV ever determine my fate because my positivity won't give room!
I am such a generous person that I will even let the virus in me see what my bright future holds for me. Watch this space! See what positivity sees and stop imagining what naivety imagines.
By the way, you should be smiling that I know my status; but why? At least now you know that you,,your family and friends are safe. Asking how? Simple: suppose I was to date you,,your sister or friend. Don't you think I would have put your lives on risk of getting infected? Would you not have cursed me on that? Worry not anymore-- I am taking my drugs, my viral load has been suppressed and is now undetectable so I can't pass it on by sexual means (by this I don't now mean Kemboi is opening a vacancy....lol).
I am sure by now you don't see shame. You have realized where your naivety would have ditched you! As of now, my 'shame' has opened ways for me. I can get support anytime I need and since I can, my issues are straight to the point. I don't give people headaches by beating round bushes. I just get straight to the issue. Spare my saliva and breath, I need it somewhere else.
Make a vow today:'I don't see shame in HIV positive status,this is being naive, I see tame of HIV!'