MY OTHER BIRTHDAY

MY OTHER BIRTHDAY

In our journey through life, birthdays are always taken to be momentous occasions to be celebrated often. In most cases, when you mention a birthday, we think about the date of their birth which is commemorated annually. The reality is that most people have more than one ‘birthday’ every year. These other birthdays aren’t often remembered let alone celebrated or commemorated. By birthday, I’m referring to any event that has a very significant, life-changing or earth-shattering effect on the life of the individual. These ‘birthdays’ – or anniversaries, as they are commonly called – are often the first time something ever happened; first bike, first car, first million made, first plane ride, first trip abroad, first kiss, first sexual experience, first love, first job, marriage, first child, first house. Some of these are events aren’t always pleasant; health issues, the loss of a loved one, the pain of heartbreak, 9/11, kidnap of Chibok girls etc. Most of these are ranked by how they are remembered by those who experienced them, whether good or bad. Most good ones are hurriedly recognised and the bad ones are consigned to the annals of history.

But every event in our lives shapes the person we end up becoming. So, it is both wise and prudent to remember the good and bad, maybe not with the same fondness, but with a fair degree of reflection.

I have several of these birthdays in my life, but aside the date of my birth, one of the other most important dates is May 21. Life had been steadily preparing me for that day, but she ramped up her preparation in the preceding twelve months by giving me both immense joy and untold sorrow, strengthening me for a new existence after that day.

The months leading up to that day were a roller coaster. Twelve months earlier, I was working at a job I loved with people who had become acquaintances, if not friends. The following month, it was confirmed that I had gotten a scholarship to study in the UK for a Master’s degree. I left Nigeria in early October and began a new life. I made friends, fell in love and was having a wonderful experience in a country where I had no reason to hide who I was from people. It took me some time to let my guard down, but when I did, I met some fantastic people on my journey, and these people pulled me through the darkest moments of my life.

Between November of that year and February of the following year, I’d had two boyfriends, Marcel and Derek. I met Marcel, a Frenchman living in London, during one of my trips around London over one weekend in November. The romance was a whirlwind and I spent the Christmas break with him, cooking Christmas lunch and watching the New Year fireworks together with him. It was with him I shared my first kiss in public on the Golden Jubilee Bridge.

However, sadly, it didn’t work out. By Valentine’s Day, I was with Derek whom I met online. He was a Drama teacher who had just returned from Australia. He was the first person I really connected with on so many levels. It didn’t bother me that he was nearly twice my age. We were happy. We’d call and text every day. As he was an alumnus of my school, we had some stories to share. I had given myself a gym membership for my birthday and he not only encouraged me to get on it but gave me tips on workout regimen and diet. He was a big man, seeing as he played amateur rugby in his twenties, and kept at it occasionally.

During one of our cuddle moments, he asked if I knew my status and I told him it had been two years since my last test. He then disclosed to me that he had been living with HIV for almost fourteen years, had been on medication for almost as long, had been undetectable for twelve and that he would like to take me to his clinic in London to get tested. I agreed, but it was a hectic time for us and we couldn’t get free time to go together. Because of him, I made a very concerted effort to learn all about the virus and everything that it entailed: medication, lifecycle etc. I was that besotted with him.

In early May, after my spring exams and a field trip to the Pyrenees while preparing to start my thesis, we drifted a bit apart, not for lack of effort to stay together but because I was still enjoying the euphoria of being an out gay man. Derek understood what it meant to be free from the shackles that once held one in, so he let me have my time in the sun. We were still close but it wasn’t with the fervour that characterized our relationship earlier on.

In a concerted effort to rekindle the romance between us, I booked an appointment with a testing charity, Thames Valley Positive Support in Reading for May 21. It was a beautiful spring afternoon when I left campus and I was feeling very carefree. On getting to the scheduled location, my attention was held by a massive bear of a man who worked there; all muscle and scruffy and so damned fine (Ok you caught me, I’m a chaser). Having been through the process before, I knew what to expect and I was only half listening to the counselor, Zoe, as she talked, while my eyes followed the handsome hulk around. After she was done, the hulk came to take my blood sample and I quizzed him about his workout regimen while I took mental notes and images as he held my hand to take the sample.

I was still in a happy place with the hulk in my head when Zoe came back and gave me the news that knocked my life into a new orbit.

I had tested positive.

The wind was kicked out of me and all my senses dulled. My brain couldn’t process the words that were coming out of her mouth because my ears weren’t picking them up. My sight blurred and everything lost colour. As I was the last person they’d be attending to for the day, Zoe volunteered to drive me to the Royal Berkshire Hospital for a confirmatory test. I barely registered what was occurring around me. I was lost and felt like my body was controlled by something else. I was on autopilot. The drive felt like an hour but was actually less than five minutes and I was completely morose and unresponsive throughout. Zoe dropped me off at the Florey Unit of the hospital and told me that everything was going to be ok.

I had to compose myself to get through the process, so I snapped back into reality and walked into the clinic. I filled out the customary forms and had samples taken. After speaking with the doctor, I was told that I would get my results the following Tuesday as Monday was a bank holiday. To this day, I have no idea how I made it to the train station or how I didn’t miss my stop or even how I got to my room. The next four days were the longest days of my life. From that evening until Monday afternoon, I lay in bed, barely eating, barely sleeping, and barely talking to anyone. I turned off my phones and my computer to make sure none of my friends would be able to reach me. I avoided my flat-mates, pulled the blinds down and didn’t observe even the least of personal hygiene. I closed myself off from those I loved and I couldn’t focus on anything. My thoughts were on how, when and who it could have been that put me in this situation. I was so out of it, lost in my own little world of the mind that I fell ill. As my fever caught on, I began to wish I’d die and be done with it.

By Monday evening, my fever had broken. My heart didn’t want Tuesday to come but my head couldn’t wait so I could be free from the mental torture. I went to the clinic bright and early on Tuesday with more resolve than I really felt, so much so that when the results were finally confirmed, I was mentally ready to deal with it. The doctor told me that they would need to know the full results, which wouldn’t be ready until a week later, before I was to be put on medication, as the prevailing directive at the time was to begin when the CD4 count was less than 500. On my way home, I turned on my phone to call Derek and received a barrage of voice messages from him. When I told him the news, I could hear the pain in his voice over the fact that he wasn’t there with me. He was out of town and had been trying to reach me, so we scheduled a meet when he got back.

Upon getting to my room, I placed a call to every one of those whom I’d been having sex with regularly, out of a sense of duty. I informed them of my situation and urged them to go get tested. By the end of the week, they’d all been tested and were all negative. Part of me was relieved that I hadn’t infected another person while the other part of me was furious that I had no one to pin the blame on. After hearing from the last guy on Friday evening, I went with my best friend to the gym and worked myself out to the bone, so hard that I almost let a barbell, with a total of 70kg discs on them, crush me to death. I realised that I wanted to die at that point. I was manic with fury and suicidal tendencies.

By the time Derek came over, 10 days after my diagnosis, I was a total wreck. Fortunately, my thesis was on hold as I hadn’t gotten my data set. I still hadn’t left my flat or taken a proper shower after the debacle at the gym. He bathed me and took me out to Virginia Waters Park in Surrey. We walked, enjoying the beautiful spring weather, and he taught me how to meditate and calm myself. When we came home, he held me close and I prayed that I’d never have to let him go. He encouraged me to disclose my situation to my best friend, Sarah; that it’d help me deal with it, and that he’d have someone to look after me when he wouldn’t be around.

Telling Sarah was the hardest thing I ever did, but when I did, it was the best thing I ever did. No words were said. All she did was hug me, and that was when I knew I was going to be alright. She was always on the lookout for me and it lifted my spirits. Also, I had the benefit of calling up the Terrence Higgins Trust and other non-profit organisations, toll free, whenever I had a question or was feeling down.

When my results came back, my CD4 count was 640 while my viral load was just over 11,000. While it was good news that I was still healthy, I was distraught that I wasn’t going to be starting medication anytime soon. It was a challenge focusing on my thesis, meeting my supervisor and working on my data set. Sarah was there but I couldn’t drag her in with me as she also had her own shit to deal with. Both she and Derek advised that I go see the school counselor, and this ended up saving me in the long run. A follow-up test 8 weeks after my diagnosis revealed my CD4 count was up to 770 and my viral load was just under 6600, this despite all the stress I was going through. I became depressed as I really wanted to start medication as soon as possible, especially if I had to return to Nigeria. I got so depressed that my school work began to suffer. I was going to see the counselor every other week but I just couldn’t focus on my school work. I really needed someone to lean on but Derek was both working and looking after his mother who had Alzheimer’s, and Sarah was working on her own thesis. Three weeks before we were due to hand in our work, I couldn’t take it anymore. I told my supervisor what I was dealing with and with proof from the counselor that I was battling depression, I was given an extension on my submission date. Derek and I grew apart as I threw myself into finishing my thesis. As a result, I broke off the relationship, but we remained friends. By the time my defense came in September, I was good enough to make my presentation but couldn’t stay for the after-party drinks because I had to go see my doctor.

The rules had just been changed and I was now eligible to start medication. My doctor told me about the meds that were available, from the generic ones to those that were still patented, and I was given a brochure with all the meds and told to come back in a couple of weeks after I’d made my choice of which to begin with.

Soon after, my lease on the campus accommodation expired and a wonderful gay couple took me in for the remainder of my stay in the UK. I had already told them of my status and was gladly welcomed into their home. They became my family and were always there when I needed anything.

Exactly a year after I left Nigeria, I was given antiretroviral medication, a two-month dose of Atripla. That night, for the first and only time since after my diagnosis, I wept, as the magnitude of the situation and relief that I was finally doing something about it hit me. For two weeks, the side effects were terrible but I stuck to my guns, making sure that I took it at the hour, on the hour. During that period, I met a guy, Barry, who had been positive since 1990 and had even been diagnosed with AIDS in 1995. He had fought to survive and was now working for Positively UK, another HIV non-profit. Barry took a liking to me and we became fast friends. Positively UK always organised a newly diagnosed course which he invited me to. I learned so much and met people who were newly diagnosed across all sexual orientations.

It was upon my acquaintance with Barry that I finally realised that living with HIV is not all it’s been made out to be. We went clubbing, had fun at his house especially after the clubbing and I let my hair down and my gay flag fly again. I was so emboldened by his life story that I held nothing back. I went to the saunas, traipsed through Soho, met people from all works of life who were living positively and were happy. I have to give it to myself, that for someone who saw all that the London gay scene had to offer and who was battling depression occasionally, I never indulged in drugs or chemsex, even though everyone around me was doing it. I didn’t mind if they used; I was just not going to be caught up in it. I was having sex, and lots of it at that, without recourse to psychoactive drugs, and it was fun. I didn’t even take alcohol or caffeine before sex. I was even outlasting those who were using, with just sleep and rehydration. It even encouraged some of them to try it my way.

A month after I had started medication, I went for another blood-work. When the results came back, I had an undetectable viral load with a CD4 of 730. The same day I got those results, my supervisor emailed me to confirm that I would be graduating with a merit even after the turbulent time I had. I was looking forward to life after school. Unfortunately, it was a trying period in the industry, so getting a job in the UK was really challenging and I was running a vicious cycle of getting through interviews but falling short of a job offer because I was on a student visa but couldn’t apply for a work visa until I had gotten a firm job offer. I knew I had to return home as it was stipulated in the scholarship contract, but I had a fair chance of staying back if I got a job. I was also awaiting the next tranche of my meds, which I was expecting to last me till I found a clinic in Nigeria. With my flight already booked, pushing back the date was costing me money which was already running low, as I had stopped receiving allowances from the scholarship body since July.

However, Fate, in her wisdom, knew I couldn’t stall any longer. I got news that my grandmother had passed away and I knew that I had to get back to Nigeria. Miraculously, less than 48 hours after her passing and a few days before I was due to return, I received a package containing a six-month worth of my drugs. I was relieved but sad that I had no reason to stay any longer. I had started saying my goodbyes to everyone once my return ticket was confirmed. I went to Ikea for Swedish meatballs with my adoptive family, had a very sombre goodbye with Derek at my favourite restaurant, and cooked a nice Nigerian meal for Barry whom I was spending my last night with. We made slow, sensual and passionate love all night. He saw me off to St. Pancras International, where I boarded a train to Gatwick Airport, but not before a teary makeout session, my last in public, on the platform for our goodbyes.

Sixteen hours and two flights later, I was picking up my suitcases at Murtala Muhammed Airport with an ache in my heart and a longing for the loves I had lost, but filled with gratitude for a year I would never forget in my life.

It’s been several months since that last kiss on Platform 4 of St. Pancras International. With the help of a few contacts, I located a clinic within a few months of my return to Nigeria, where the service has been great and the staff very welcoming. I had a job for a while but quit within a year because it wasn’t what I saw myself doing. I’ve realised that life is more than doing a job just to earn your keep. It’s about being happy with what you’re doing. Life is too short to not live a little. I’m still unemployed, but I’m not afraid of the wait. Sometimes I get depressed as a result – this is what I must work on going forward – but I want to do something that makes me want to wake up in the morning with a smile on my face and anticipation in my heart. Disclosure hasn’t always been easy, especially in a country like ours, but I’ve not been afraid of doing so if necessary, even if it means that my sex life has taken a hit because dealing with narrow-minded people isn’t worth the effort. I have been surprised by a few persons though and we have become great friends and lovers, but there have been a lot of disappointments. I have grown a thick skin to the disappointments; better to be upfront and avoid the pain than invest in a relationship only to be brought, crashing down, in the long run. I have experienced the reality that when some people say they are open-minded with regards to stigma, it means dealing with poz guys at arm’s length. Newsflash to them: we are now more likely to live as long, if not longer, than they.

To those who have been recently diagnosed or living with, but in fear of, the virus, bear in mind that while it may be a significant change, it’s still only a small part of you. See it as a minuscule guest who, while you may not be able to get rid of now, would get its comeuppance soon. My heart still aches for those I loved and left in London, but my reality is here in Nigeria. It may not be the way I planned for my life go, but it’s what I have to deal with at the moment. And to be honest, I would not have had it any other way.

So, on this day of my next other birthday, I can say, with my head held high, that I am a gay man living POSITIVELY with HIV and I’ll be damned if I’m not bloody proud of it.

Written by Sens8

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34 Comments

  1. Spectra
    May 21, 07:11 Reply

    Welcome home bro! I tested positive too in a faraway land from home during my service year. I still look back now and wonder where I got the strength to move on then without any professional help or even friends support but I did.
    May not be easy but we owe it to our lives to live it fully.
    To all the positives out there, know for sure you are not alone.

    • Sens8
      May 21, 08:15 Reply

      For the first six months after I returned, I only listened to Whitney Houston’s ‘I didn’t know my own strength’ cuz I never knew where the strength came from.

  2. Xavier
    May 21, 07:24 Reply

    Hi Sens8, your story was really touching and very heartfelt. No matter what happens, life will only get better no matter how gloomy it may seem now. I encourage you to keep the hope alive. It would be nice to connect with you as a friend, because you sound so positive.
    Got an email?

    • Sens8
      May 21, 09:33 Reply

      Xavier, it’s positivity borne out of challenges. As for my email, you could get it from Pinky, if you ask nicely. ?

  3. Foxydevil
    May 21, 08:01 Reply

    OK, I have a question?
    I know it might be insensitive to put it down here given the story of this writer, but this is the latest post and more chances of reply. Why are 90 percent of the stories here about sex ?
    In this fight for acceptance, how do we normalize our act if all we think and write about is sex, sex and more sex.
    I go through timeline of straight men and women and I see their business contact, job description etc but you go through the contact of a gay man and all you see is gay and fab etc You go through the pictures of straight people and women and you see normal everyday pictures of them but go through pictures of gay men and it is filled with nudes of men and himself.
    Does gay make people hyper sexually?
    Is sex the most important part of the life of a gay man?
    Because I am truly confused, all I read here is people talking of sex, hook ups, seducing. No business plans, no advert of jobs, no motivational everyday quotes of things related with life that dont have relation with victimhood and saying for the millionth time how gay men are bullied .
    I hate to say this ,but the stereotype people perceive about gay men, is most certainly true.
    Pink panther, I know you will probably not post this but I know you have seen it and I hope you have seen my opinion about this page .

    • Pink Panther
      May 21, 08:25 Reply

      Why don’t you present me with a business plan… Maybe you’ve got an advert for a job you’d like to send in… Or perhaps there’s lots of motivational everyday quotes you’re just dying to have published…

      Please hurry and send them in so I can post them. I wouldn’t want people to think Kito Diaries is an unserious platform that does nothing but talk about sex. God forbid that.

      • Foxydevil
        May 21, 09:18 Reply

        Get creative sir.
        This is your page, no one will run it for you.

        • Pink Panther
          May 21, 10:09 Reply

          I was being sarcastic earlier, Mr. Devil. Now I’m just regretting approving your comment and giving you the license to be an ass.

    • Tobee
      May 21, 08:44 Reply

      Foxydevil, I’ve wondered at that too. I often have to interact with young gay guys and a lot of the conversations revolve around sex. Is it youthful exuberance, hormones, or a gay-related high sex drive? I don’t know.

      What I’ve thought is that perhaps given the unfriendly homophobic environment in which many of us find ourselves, sex may be one major means of self-expression. So we think about it, lose ourselves in it. This (in my mind) is compounded by the fact that gay (and bisexual and transgender) men are not regulated by the sexual mores of the heterosexual community. Hence, comparatively, it’s free-for-all, do-what-you-want situation sexually.

      And then, I’ll add the issue of role models. Young gay guys (in Nigeria at least) are socialised – within the community – into the world of hook-ups, transactional sex etc. The ‘successful’ gay academic, or the ‘successful’ gay businessman is usually very discreet about their lives, hidden almost. And when they sneak out of their shells, care is taken that all sexual contacts remain completely that – sexual. So the average young gay man sees his sexuality as the ‘core’ component of himself.

      And maybe finally, there are psychological theories about coming to terms with one’s sexuality in which at some stages, one’s sexuality is the prominent factor. Followed by stages in which one’s sexuality is just one of the many interesting things about one. Maybe collectively, we just haven’t gotten there yet, maybe we will in time…if society gets more tolerant of sexual diversity.

      My two pennies…

      • Foxydevil
        May 21, 09:06 Reply

        Nothing else to add sir, you’ve said it all. Your words harbour too much wisdom. ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

      • himbo
        May 21, 09:23 Reply

        Foxydevil and Tobee bless you both.

    • Sens8
      May 21, 09:27 Reply

      To Foxydevil, fair points made but you do have to look at the history of suppression no matter what form it takes. Before Constantine, christians were the whipping boys because of their religion. Before the emancipation, it was black men and women for their skin colour. Before universal sufferage, it was women disenfranchised because of their gender. In nazi Europe, it was the Jews. In the lead up to feminism, it was girls and women made to feel ashamed of themselves. In the west, before sodomy laws were repealed, it was because of whom you had sex with. And here is where I agree with the last paragraph of Tobee’s, the thing you are deprived of the most, is the thing you’d most talk about. There were successful people from each marginalised group in each of these times but once they were ‘outed’, ostracism followed immediately (e.g. Alan Turing). Like Pinky said, bring one up, put it out there and see what happens. There are great queer minds out there on the streets of Nigeria. Unless you’re Charles Xavier, sitting behind your screen sulking when they are talking about sex won’t point them out to you.

    • ambivalentone
      May 21, 09:45 Reply

      I do not think KD is the Yellow Pages or LinkdIn. I can imagine the wahala involved in vetting service provider and customer to ensure BOTH parties are not kitos waiting to happen. Ppl are very quick to apportion blame when things go south.
      BTW, u must av bin conveniently absent when there were CRIES for advert placements. If you need a job, there’s no shame in asking.

      • Pink Panther
        May 21, 10:14 Reply

        Ambivalent one, please do not bother giving this one any education on Kito Diaries. Someone becomes acquainted with KD for two minutes, and suddenly he knows everything there is to know about how things operate here.

        • ambivalentone
          May 21, 10:26 Reply

          I know but HABA!!!! All it required was small sense, ‘tintini’ to not have spewed trash like dt on a sunday morning. I mean, only the next post has Ibk selling his art. It was still in that same post Ibk subtly dropped hint about time-wasting art aficionados. Edakun someone with brain should av worked out the details na.

          • Pink Panther
            May 21, 10:30 Reply

            He’s clearly the preachy kind that’ll readily and viciously call you a slut simply because you have an active sex life. That is why he has magnified what is just one aspect of KD and stayed blinded to the others.

          • Foxydevil
            May 21, 11:49 Reply

            Sorry to say this sir, but you sound very stupid.
            I take it you did mathematics in school and you are conversant with percentages and averages .What is the percentage of sexual stories to the percentage of other things you listed there?
            Maybe next time you need to read and understand before jumping to put down rubbish. I said sexual stories make up most of it not all of it, there should be a balance. And I ain’t looking for no job, I can dare say I will comfortably put you on a pay roll without flinching, I don’t have to be hungry or desperate to know there needs to be balance here. I came upon this page from the comment session of a very popular blog in Nigeria, more people than you think are reading it, is time we showed them we have more things to offer than our ass, cock or sexual appetite.

    • IBK
      May 21, 11:50 Reply

      This is a long comment..

      Not sure which gay guys you’re hanging out with or going through their profiles but I am willing to bet they are anonymous accounts on Twitter and Facebook. If you’re looking for business/seriousness you won’t find them there. I have an account dedicated to hoe stories but I’m also in school and trying to create a career with my art. Those accounts are the only way we are able to express our sedualness with some level of freedom.

      What I’m trying to say, you can’t get the totality of a queer man from anonymous platforms. We are still trying to hide and we sure as hell ain’t gon put up where we work, what we do, etc.

      And yes. Gay men are hyper sexual. Everywhere you go from the shores of Nigeria to the US to the Philippines to wherever. Gay men are very very very sexual. I suggest you get over it. The reason why Heteros “seem” less sexual is because they have females and they tend to curb the excess of that community when it comes to sex. But I assure you that the men are as sexual as we are but they aren’t repressed like us.
      Straight people don’t have anything to hide. They are the “normal” ones. You really shouldn’t compare marginalized folks as if they have access to the same well being of the non-marginalised.

      As for kd being very sexual, 90% as you put it.. I beg to differ. I’ve just gone back a few days and of all those posts you can count on one hand how many posts are sexual. Maybe it’s you clicking on only sexual content and thinking that’s 90% of what is here.. Teehehehe. If you haven’t noticed there are coming out stories, news, the silly things religious people say, journals, fictional and non fictional pieces about finding love, revenge, superstars, etc. Nah man, kd isn’t sexual.
      And even if you are right, what is wrong with that? People are telling their stories.. Let them.

      And we don’t need to pretend to be who we are not to be seen as normal. That will just be another form of hiding. We like sex (I’m sure you do too).. That may not be all there is to us but it is a big part of who we are. We are not heterosexual. WE ARE GAY AND WE WILL LIVE OUR LIVES AS FABULOUSLY AS WE DEEM FIT even if it means our bio will simply read “gay and fab”.

  4. Delle
    May 21, 08:08 Reply

    I loved the fluidity of your story. The hope it exuded and you, Sens8, are a strong man.
    Keep being positive. You have a lot of people rooting for you. ?

    • Sens8
      May 21, 10:21 Reply

      Delle, you are one of my favourites on here. Your sparkling wit and charming charisma is very endearing. And as we need to have roots before branches, having you rooting for me, especially as we share the same alma mater, is refreshing and uplifting.

    • Sens8
      May 21, 09:45 Reply

      Penning it down wasn’t easy. I had to scratch at scabs to get it out there. If it helps people gain comfort and peace dealing with what I had to, it’s a wound worth reopening.

  5. Foxydevil
    May 21, 09:40 Reply

    And last but not the least, may I add my two cents about this story.
    There is nothing brave or astounding about learning to manage HIV and AIDS.
    I always come across comments like “you are so strong, blah blah blah ” and I think it is stupid.
    I will make exceptions with people that got it though blood transfusion, faithful partners that a Cheating partner infected or people that got it through rape.
    But someone who was having sex indiscriminately and later got infected ,I have no pity to give, simply put you are dealing with the consequences of your actions.
    The hypocrisy reeking from this place is alarming, no one goes to a man who spent all his money without saving and says to him, oh you are so brave, you are managing poverty. No one goes to a man who spent all his life consuming a large amount of sugar without dieting and exercise and says to him, you are so brave you are managing diabetes. Everyone born in the 20th century, knows about HIV and the means of its transmission,the fact you allowed yourself to get it despite the level of awareness created and so many information continuously spread about it, doesn’t make you a hero in my books.It just makes you an ordinary man suffering the consequences of his actions.
    When I think of brave men, I look at soldiers fighting of boko Harams ,activists like the great Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King etc that’s what bravery is, fighting for a cause that not only benefits you but others as well not an individual living the consequences of his own actions .That my friend is no bravery, that is simply called adaptation.

    • ambivalentone
      May 21, 10:08 Reply

      Sweetheart, u missed out on ppl born with HIV, ppl who used condoms unknowingly perforated by an infected partner, the percentage not covered by effective condom use,…etc. There are just so many ways ppl picked on HIV that ur tinny hateful brain cannot begin to fathom. But of course, I do not make excuses for promiscuity.
      You have nice pedestals raised in honor of your heroes. Unfortunately, there were a million other blacks who fought against South African Apartheid, who also protested America’s unfair treatment of blacks. Popularity and education only made the difference for these two. They may be your hero and heroes for a lot more other ppl, but they are just run-off-the-mill joes to yet others. Deal with it.

    • Tobee
      May 21, 10:17 Reply

      Foxydevil, I admire your perspective, I think it’s original.

      I, however, think you may be wrong about how accessible information about HIV and safe sex is to the average Nigerian. And then when you consider targeted information for high risk individuals such as commercial sex workers, we guys, intravenous drug users; situation-specific knowledge may be even lower. For example, I have heard gay men suggest that anal sex is safer than vaginal sex because ‘you can’t get HIV from anal sex’. And remember the president who prevents HIV by bathing immediately after sex.

      Yes, this is the age of the internet. Yes, everybody should be responsible for their health, their bodies etc. But how many people check the internet for information on basic day-to-day things? How many even ask their doctors what their diagnosis is or what medications they are taking? I think it’s a failure of the infrastructures – education and health, and I think we (as a community) need to do more – I am aware we have organisations catering to this need such as TIERS.

      I also disagree with your idea that living with consequences of one’s behaviour is not bravery. I understand how you may conclude that facing the consequences of one’s actions is just a logical aspect of going on with life. I, however, think that deciding to go on and finding a reason to go on – even if due to one’s own actions – takes courage. Stepping forward to share that story to either warn others or encourage others is a double step – for me.

      I think I consider that the dynamics of HIV are different compared with diabetes. Being diagnosed with HIV carries moral connotations in this environment – which I am a part of. If I got diagnosed with HIV today. Some of the attitudes I will get include ‘…so this is what you have been doing’, ‘…well, you brought this on yourself’. And then add I am gay to it, and you have something like, ‘…it’s God’s judgment’, ‘…you deserve to die’. And even if they don’t say it, it’s playing in one’s mind, because one is a product of the society.

      These often worsen the outcomes of living with HIV. So if someone – irrespective of how they got it – moves on with their life, I find inspiration in it. That we are intrepid.

    • WhoIsUgo
      May 21, 10:18 Reply

      What is really doing you this morning? Tell us, we might be able to help ?

    • Sens8
      May 21, 11:01 Reply

      You are entitled to your comments but to be clear, I need neither pity nor commendations. And I certainly could do without the condescension from you. As per your idea of bravery, why are you still in the shadows, hiding behind your screen or your keyboard? Your altruism is so inspiring that it has cowardice written all over it. Am I ashamed of my status? LORD no!!! Would I have hoped not to have it? Yeah but I’m so much more than what the virus is. However one gets infected is irrelevant. It’s not how many times you fall, it’s how many times you got back up. And, foxy, I’ll be the last to be cowered by your stigmatisation. Chew on that.

    • Black Dynasty
      May 21, 11:25 Reply

      Ahn ahn!!!! Where is the empathy???

      I agree that being infected by having consensual unprotected sex is indeed the person

      • Black Dynasty
        May 21, 11:33 Reply

        Ahn ahn!!!! Where is the empathy???

        I agree that being infected by having consensual unprotected sex is indeed the person’s responsibility. However, we are all human and imperfect in various ways.

        When a fellow human being is going through rough times, i feel we should be supportive. Having seen an uncle die of an infection after having AIDS, or seen an ex of a friend get cancer and die post HIV diagnosis, i understand it doesn’t matter how they go it, we ought to be supportive and inclusive.

        Life is already fragile as it is, a little love and kindness goes a long way; you never know when you too will need it.

    • Clive
      June 01, 21:07 Reply

      Whoever you are I just want to let you know that you are really stupid, self righteous and judgmental. Crawl back into whatever hole you came out of, idiot!

    • BRYAN PETERS
      June 08, 00:00 Reply

      What a pretty shinny high horse you are up on Foxy. Well take heed less you fall off and break your neck. Oga, learning to wake up every day and face reality while living with the consequences of your actions (life long stigma attracting consequences for that matter) is a sign of bravery however you choose to look at it if you let go of all prejudice. The cowardly way would be to go on a spreading spree or worse off committing suicide, but no, he has decided to share his story, there by creating more awareness about the disease and also serving as a source of inspiration but you choose to stigmatize him. Shame on you Foxy. You are the problem with the Gay community. And as regards kd being to sexually oriented, it’s a case of you seeing what you want to see. There are diverse stories on different issues. Of course it all boils down to our sexuality but hey, that’s the unifying factor here isn’t it. Basically, if you don’t like the content here, then freaking take a hike. We would be better off without your phony pretentious ass anyways.

  6. ademi
    May 21, 10:07 Reply

    Nice one.. …courageous message. We r not the only one. ..let keep living positively. ?

  7. Pablo ™
    June 03, 08:48 Reply

    This devil of a guy is sick. It’s not an insult, but a fact. The earlier you seek treatment, the better

  8. Mash mellow
    August 03, 12:33 Reply

    Hello sens8,
    Read your story and all I can say is be strong and not be discouraged there’s always light at the end of the tunnel trust me.
    But hey I’m here offering my friendship that’s if you don’t mind.
    You can get my mail from Pinky.

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