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HIV and Stigma- Ella 22

We should all know better.

People in the community are widely known for stigmatizing people living with HIV. From calling them names, publicly humiliating them and avoiding them in public places. They do all these with the fear of contracting the disease and projecting that fear. This is not to excuse their behaviour because we should all know better.

Just to confirm my HIV status.

A friend of mine was admitted and needed a blood transfusion. Since I was of blood group O, I willingly volunteered to donate blood. But first, I had to undergo a screening. I opted to go to a nearby VCT Center just to confirm my HIV status. I had never set foot in one before and so I was a bit nervous and anxious as I was waiting for my test results.

The results didn’t sit well with me…

When the doctor called me in, I thought that it was going to be quick. That was when I received the results that I was HIV positive. I had so many questions as shock and disbelief washed over me. I couldn't hear what the doctor was saying! My thoughts were racing and I was confused and all I could think of is that my life had ended. I began to think of how my friends and family would now start avoiding me like I had seen other people experiencing.

I barely accepted myself.

I could not donate blood to my friend now but that was the least of my concern. How was I going to live in a society that sees people like me as an abomination? What will my friends think of me now? Will my family be accepting? A lot ran through my mind as I barely accepted myself. I knew I wanted to live and achieve my goals and to do that, I had to face the reality of my status and learn how to live a positive life.

I felt positive

After advice from the doctor and the recommendation that I should start and adhere to my Anti-Retroviral medication to prevent the virus from replicating rapidly in my body, I felt slightly supported. I have therefore decided to take things slow in terms of disclosing the information as I adhere to the medications for the sake of my health. I realized that not everyone needs to know about my status, not because I am hiding but because it is none of their business. I also realize that I can open up to those I choose and trust and should not be forced by someone else to do so. I still struggle to accept my status but on most days, I am okay with it. It honestly gets better with support. It is okay to take your time as well because living with HIV can be a hard pill to swallow.


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