MY LIFE HAS JUST BEGUN

MY LIFE HAS JUST BEGUN

June 2015

We’d had no light or water in school for a couple of weeks, and students, being the mad dogs they were, went on rampage. That night, it was mayhem everywhere as students destroyed school property and took to the streets, blockading the whole school and forcing motorists to turn off their headlights. What was supposed to be a peaceful protest spiraled into pandemonium, and not even security agents could put the body of students under control. The next day, as a consequence of the chaotic movement, the school was shut down for two weeks. Because I was often suffocated at home, I opted to stay back in school at my ex’s place. We had mended fences prior to that time and were “just friends”.

Barely two days after I moved from the hostel to his place, the issue of our broken relationship came up in our conversation. He was in his final year and I in my penultimate year, and we sort of realized we had grown to be more mature, more emotionally stable and better people than we were in the two years we were together. And so, I wanted to give us a shot again. We had sex a number of times. It was unprotected. I guess I was too willing to give us a shot; I had just reconnected with this guy I would give anything to be with, even if it meant having raw sex with him.

However, it didn’t take long for me to realize that he wasn’t done dealing with the demons that ruined our relationship. We tried to stay on track, to make it work. But I suppose we just weren’t meant to be. We called it quits again and decided to friend-zone each other for life.

Shortly after that, I had this weird premonition that something was wrong with me health-wise. But I didn’t dwell on the foreboding much because I’d just gotten tested in March and I was negative for virtually every STI. The ex had also tested negative that March (or so he said).

So I put the feeling out of my mind and went on with life.

And then came, that period, when I made a personal decision to not have sex till I met the right guy. I mean, 19 guys in 7 years was too huge a body count for me. This decision began my first stab at celibacy, which lasted for over seven months and ended when I had sex with a straight friend. (Check  State of Our Union for that story).

After that messy situation, I went on a second hiatus from sex. This has gone on for fourteen months. It’s still going.

*

March 2017

The sun is frigging hot overhead and the heat is unbearable as my friends and I make our way down to the school’s stadium for our weekly Society for Family Health sponsored MSM Health programme. Today’s meeting is a little different. There are more SFH workers around, and information is getting passed around that free HIV tests will be conducted for everyone.

For the first time in my life, I’m not bothered by the idea of getting a HIV test. I’d done it about ten times in the past and freaked out every single time. Maybe my calmness this time is because I’ve come to learn a lot about HIV to know it isn’t the death sentence people make it out to be.

When it gets to my turn, I am completely bereft of emotions. During the test, I chit-chat with the health worker and he is dropping the usual tidbits of advice on safe sex, how HIV isn’t the end of one’s life and all that.

As we chat, I take a quick glance at the strip.

Two lines. Positive!

The health worker, who has now taken a look at it, creases his forehead in mild confusion, and says it is still inconclusive (as if!). He suggests we run a second test. He brings out the test tablet and conducts the second test.

Still positive!

At this point, one would expect that I’d freak out. Surprisingly, I am calm. My mind races through a lot of things, but hysteria remains locked down. I stay calm as the health worker speaks to me, referring me to a hospital where I can have a confirmation test and start receiving treatment.

I am seated there, somehow not surprised by the result. I think, on some level, I’d known since 2015 that I’d contracted the virus. I just wasn’t bold enough to face it. And, funny enough, for someone who falls sick at least four times in a year, I haven’t been sick once since June 2015. Maybe that’s why I knew something was wrong.

Realizing I’m HIV positive has done a lot for me in this very short while. For one, I’ve come to realize that I’m surrounded by wonderful people who would go to the ends of the earth for me. Friends like Delle, Peaches and my baby girl, Boos have been very supportive. They are the only ones who know, for now, and I’m just grateful to have them in my life. Not only have I come to understand the love I’m surrounded with, I’ve begun to see a light at the end of the tunnel I’ve been in for ages. I may not have clarity on where exactly I’m going, but for the first time in over five years, I know what to do with my life. I’d been confused for long, going about in circles and getting no reprieve. But now, it’s like my life has gotten a new meaning.

I know the journey is going to be a really tough one, but is anything in life ever easy? My life is an attestation of that; nothing in my life has been easy. I know Mother is going to rub this (should she learn about it) in my face, self righteously pointing out how it is a punishment from God for my sin of homosexuality. I know my sister would practically jump for joy that her predictions have come to pass. I know my father would be disappointed, sorely so. After all, I’m his only son. I know I stand the risk of being thrown out by my family.

However, I also know that life has never held more meaning for me than it does now. The brevity of life has been seared onto my sub-conscious, leaving me with a yearning to prove myself, to make an impact, to speak something everlasting with my life.

And even though they say no one knows the future, I know for certain that I’ll create a future I’ll forever be proud of for myself.

I’m HIV positive and my life has just begun!

Written by Mitch

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64 Comments

  1. beejay
    March 27, 07:29 Reply

    Can I just say that your open acceptance of reality is nothing short of inspiring? That’s said, be easy man.

    • Mitch
      March 27, 10:04 Reply

      It’s reality, Beejay.
      Running away from it doesn’t make it any less real

  2. peach head
    March 27, 07:30 Reply

    Hmmm
    Mitch lets believe and pray your family would be more accomodating to you.

    bless you!

    • Mitch
      March 27, 10:06 Reply

      Hopefully, they will be accepting.
      I, however, am not keeping my fingers crossed

  3. Mandy
    March 27, 08:04 Reply

    This is such an amazing and healthy headspace you’re handling your discovery with. And if this is where you’re at now, then you’ll be alright. Now focus on those who’ll make you feel good in this period. If you know your family will only go about trying to make you feel bad, you probably shouldn’t tell them. Not yet anyway.

  4. Tyler
    March 27, 08:20 Reply

    Hey Mitch, are you based in Lagos, cause I’ll like to meet you?

    • Mitch
      March 27, 10:10 Reply

      I’m not based in Lagos. But if you still want to get to me, Pp will give you my contact information

  5. Johnny
    March 27, 08:20 Reply

    Wow. I need to get tested again. I was thinking I am save since no sign from an unprotected sex since 2015 Dec.
    I am freaking out

    • Mitch
      March 27, 10:13 Reply

      Don’t freak out. Freaking out won’t change anything. Besides, you may or may not be positive. And being positive isn’t the end of the world. It’s just the beginning of a new phase

  6. Delle
    March 27, 08:54 Reply

    Sweetheart, you’d be fine and you know that. I wish I had your resilience, it’s inspiring and I’m proud of you. I’m happy being your friend.
    You are alright, man.

    ???

    • Mitch
      March 27, 10:15 Reply

      Hehehe!
      You give me strength kiddo.
      And you’re fucking resilient. Don’t kid yourself about that

  7. Leo
    March 27, 08:57 Reply

    You’re not alone, Mitch. HIV doesn’t have to be a result of many body counts. It takes just one poor choice.

    I’m happy that you’ve taken sole responsibility for this choice and the appropriate decision to stay alive and healthy. You alone matter in this. Hold on dearly to those who have accepted you and your status but more importantly, never let yourself go no matter what.

    Your family might react either or otherwise as you’ve thought. Disclosing and accepting ones HIV status is a process. It could turn out to be the strong bond that will bind you more to your family.

    However, give yourself time, be emotionally sound and independent, and be armed with as much information before you start to disclose your status cos questions will be asked.

    Much love to you.

  8. Irish...
    March 27, 09:25 Reply

    is this sign? i had unprotected sex last night!

    • Bryce
      March 27, 09:33 Reply

      In this day and age?.
      Good luck to you

      • Thor.
        March 27, 11:26 Reply

        Why are you being judgemental?

        • Bryce
          March 27, 11:52 Reply

          You call that judgemental?.
          I guess commonsense isn’t that common at all

    • Mitch
      March 27, 10:19 Reply

      Not to judge but that wasn’t a smart move. Protection is called that because that’s what it provides – Protection from STDs. Just get tested and stay safe

  9. Bryce
    March 27, 09:38 Reply

    You shouldn’t have trusted the ‘got tested and negative,in March’ line,Mitch.
    HIV takes between 2-6weeks of infection to be detected.
    Wish the very best as you embark on this new life.Won’t be easy for you.

    • Mitch
      March 27, 10:21 Reply

      Trust me, I still feel dumb for accepting that line. Still, what’s done is done

      • Bryce
        March 27, 11:57 Reply

        Kinda in same boat as you are.
        Not me really,my other half.Hasn’t been easy,I tell you.

        Btw, how did it go?.You know,Zeus,Kronos, Ouranos and Tartarus?.
        Update,pls.

        • Pink Panther
          March 27, 12:37 Reply

          Zeus. Kronos. Ouranos. Tartarus.
          Hmm. This kain Morse Code sha.

          • Bryce
            March 27, 13:10 Reply

            Lol
            E nor consign you,aproko.
            Na awa biziness,face ya own

        • Mitch
          March 27, 23:16 Reply

          Lemme nor say anything here.
          Sidebar still dey na.

  10. pete
    March 27, 09:43 Reply

    I admire your strength, Mitch.

  11. Khaleesi
    March 27, 09:47 Reply

    Wow Mitch; you are extremely brave, even penning this must have taken a lot of courage. I know you are strong and will be alright, stay strong and continue to seek out and sorround yourself with supportive, loving people. Your best days are ahead of you -; also thanks for contributing to the eradication of the stigma sorrounding HIV/AIDS which is more lethal than the virus itself …
    hugs ..

    • Mitch
      March 27, 10:26 Reply

      Awww!
      Thanks Khaleesi.
      And I’m really not that brave. I’m just a realist.

  12. Jo
    March 27, 10:38 Reply

    You are fine Mitch. We gat you!

  13. Thor.
    March 27, 11:32 Reply

    My heart is racing, and fast!
    Mitchy you’ve got all our love ?

  14. bain
    March 27, 11:53 Reply

    ?? oh Mitch.Please take care of yourself, if your family rejects you, we are here for you.You would get through this.
    ???

  15. Francis
    March 27, 16:22 Reply

    Hold on tight to the positive attitude man. Don’t let go of it as you will need it in the days to come. Let Delle and co be your support for now. Your family doesn’t have to know yet until you can stand on your own. I wish you well man ??

    • Mitch
      March 27, 23:22 Reply

      Doc, you’re the best.
      I’d be contacting you once I need your epp oh

  16. Brian Collins
    March 27, 16:44 Reply

    This guy has taken inspiring to a whole new level. Such strength, such courage. It’s incredible.

  17. Spectra
    March 27, 19:51 Reply

    August 3, 2015…I got the confirmation that I was HIV positive too and the next thing I said was “good riddance for bad rubbish”.
    Stay strong dear, live life to the fullness and adhere strictly to your meds.
    There’s no mountain you can’t surmount. I was a Corp member then and im presently established in my career.

    • Mitch
      March 27, 23:32 Reply

      “There’s no mountain you can’t surmount.”

      This is the gospel truth! No matter what it is, life goes on. It’s up to you to make the best out of it

  18. Duke
    March 27, 20:11 Reply

    Wow Mitch! Stay Strong. Honestly, This is a reminder for me. I stay protected 99% of the time and it takes a careless 1% to get infected. Sometimes, condoms break, sometimes when pulling out there might be a spill. That’s not an excuse to be careless but shit sometimes happens even when you are careful.

    You have a family here, we got you.

    • Mitch
      March 27, 23:34 Reply

      Thanks Duke.
      Y’all are the best

  19. Gaya
    March 27, 20:38 Reply

    Mitch… it will be easy. don’t mind them. taking your pills is just like taking your daily meals… so???

    • Mitch
      March 28, 00:04 Reply

      I won’t be fine.
      I AM fine

  20. Tyler
    March 27, 22:44 Reply

    Pinky please I need Mitch contact. Thanks

  21. WhoIsUgo
    March 27, 22:46 Reply

    Mitch you’re amazing! Love your spirit ⚡?

  22. Vhar.
    March 28, 07:41 Reply

    I love you, Mitch. I mean it.

  23. Sue
    March 28, 09:38 Reply

    Oh that dispensable ex! Could he have known?

  24. slim
    March 28, 18:03 Reply

    this reminds me of Monday 10th June 2013…. I never expected it but it happened anyway .Be of good cheer bro…. Stay filled with hope life just begun. No regrets . Remember ” HIV is just a tenant ,we are the landlords”

  25. Adichie
    March 28, 23:49 Reply

    Come over here boy. Come get a hug. I love you. Kisses

  26. olabosipo
    March 29, 14:14 Reply

    hello Mitch…. I am positive too and I have been alot relieved by knowing my status…. HIV isn’t the end of life but a better way of living,.. other people may not understand this… I am positive, happier than ever and actually living my dreams right…

  27. Dana Opal
    March 29, 15:10 Reply

    This is one beautiful piece.

    Thank you for sharing.

    I feel inspired more than ever.

  28. deVries
    April 01, 12:32 Reply

    Mitch can I ask a question? where there any signs you noticed like swollen lymph nodes all over your body? you feel fine,but when you touch yourself,you noticed your skin is hot to touch?

  29. OJ
    April 01, 19:18 Reply

    All My Love Mitch… All My Love. You Are Not Alone!

  30. FJ
    April 02, 01:31 Reply

    U guys are great. Mitch stay positive, stay strong.

  31. Covert
    April 20, 13:57 Reply

    I have stopped taking my meds for 4weeks now. Ion like how doz nurses and stupid record officers look at me. Only the doctor and pharmacist are excellent

    • Francis
      April 20, 14:04 Reply

      4 weeks off your meds?! Why do you sound proud saying so? Please if you’re having issues with where you’re collecting drugs, kindly state your location and we might be able to direct you to a comfortable clinic.

      Please do so asap. Thanks

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