Some Words Of Inspiration From Kenny Brandmuse

Some Words Of Inspiration From Kenny Brandmuse

In a Facebook post, Kenny Brandmuse writes:

He said his best friend just tested HIV positive, and he’d rather end his life somewhere in Abuja, Nigeria. He stated that he told him to go on Facebook and check out Kenny Brandmuse’s pictures. “That’s how infected people look like,” he claimed. As they looked at my pictures, he said his friend lit up and realized that being HIV-positive is not the end of the world after all.

As I read his message, my spirit rose within me. I looked in the mirror and whispered to myself, ”Mission accomplished.” Yes, as terrible as it may seem, I am privileged to be one of many thousands who have braved up to defy the HIV stigma.

See, my friends, I’m HIV positive. I wish it were not, but I am. So instead of crying you a river and inviting you over for a pity party, I celebrate every single day I have to #live one more day.

***

In 2007, I was bedridden for more than four months because my CD4 had dropped below 15 counts. CD4 cells (often called T-cells or T-helper cells) are a type of white blood cells that play a significant role in protecting your body from infection. According to the medical personnel, I had full-blown AIDS. I weighed less than a three-year-old child. Due to complications from carelessly operated tonsillitis, I couldn’t pass food or water, and I couldn’t talk to my loved ones. Talking was too painful. My sisters and my late mother took turns to stay by my bedside. My elder sister, Muti would not go home for months. She bathed me and cleaned my shit. My pastors prayed every manner of prayer. (No, they are not gay-friendly, don’t blame them. Most believers are not educated about human sexuality, sadly. But you know what? I still love these people unconditionally. ) My employer, Centrespread FCB DRAFT continued to pay my full salaries. I can write a whole book about the CEO, one of the kindest human beings but is mostly misunderstood out there.

My condition was so bad that I was admitted to the only ward reserved for worst cases of cancer at the Federal Hospital in the old 1004, Victoria Island, Lagos. Every patient around me started to die one after another. And I was only waiting for my turn. Don’t forget that HIV care was still very complicated in Nigeria.

You gotta thank Science. As soon as I started the antiretroviral drugs, I began to come around.

***

In 2009, as I recovered painfully and slowly, I promised myself one thing: I’m going to look after myself, no matter how bad HIV had damaged my body. Slowly, I started to draft out my #LIVE philosophy. For me, back then, to #live was to wake up early in the morning and lift heavy at the gym. All my years as a church minister, I was taught to deprive my body of good things of life and “seek ye first the Kingdom of God.” It was some sin to spend time on your body. The body is called ‘the flesh.’

I realized that actually, to #live was to try on the best outfits at the shopping mall and feel them on my skin. To #live, I eventually discovered, was to indulge in sinful scoops of ice-cream and bars of Swiss dark chocolate. To #live, as I eventually began to know, was to get my passport stamped and travel to places I had never been before. Take pictures. Post them on Facebook and Instagram. Gate-crash people’s parties. Dance like a bastard and go back home to take your pill to keep HIV at bay. To #live was going after my dreams of higher education. I couldn’t do my Masters when I wanted to because the USA had banned people living with HIV from coming to the States. I guess I was the oldest graduating student in my graduate class of 2015. Whatever! I did it. I #Live.

And above all else, to #live fully is to #live one’s truth. In my case, I always liked men. You know what I mean? I came to accept myself as a gay man at an awful old age. Even when I was caught once rimming a guy in college (ok, I know some folks will Google ‘rimming’; well, go for it!), I swore by my Bible that I was only ministering to this guy. Oh, those years of pretense and lies! Oh those nights of secretly admiring my wife’s brother, preferring him to her. Those nights I stayed back in the office to watch enough gay porn before heading home to go and make love to wifey with some pious face that reeked of hypocrisies and self-hate.

If you are HIV-positive or suffering some form of challenge that scares you, take courage. Get help as quickly as you can. I’m not stopping you from praying, but please go see an infectious disease doctor. If you need assistance, write www.isanyoneinafrica.com. We are not an NGO. We just take delight in introducing people to people.

#Live Revolution: Because when all help each other to #Live, we #Thrive.

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28 Comments

  1. Mandy
    March 30, 05:54 Reply

    Kenny Brandmuse, inspiring Nigerians and the world over since 1900. Who’d know, to look at the buff good-looking dude that he is now, that he was at death’s door once upon a time. His life is truly a depiction of what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

  2. Francis
    March 30, 06:56 Reply

    (No, they are not gay-friendly, don’t blame them. Most believers are not educated about human sexuality, sadly. But you know what? I still love these people unconditionally. )

    This is something I’ve come to realize. Eventually when I come out, I’d still maintain contact with some of my friends who aren’t gay friendly as anti-gay factor aside, they are cool beings.

    Even when I was caught once rimming a guy in college (ok, I know some folks will Google ‘rimming’; well, go for it!), I swore by my Bible that I was only ministering to this guy.

    ????? It’s not what it looks like, I swear to God.

    There’s a joy one derives from seeing a “quarter to die” HIV patient come around to full recovery. I’m glad he made it through and is working towards helping others to push through. ???

    • ambivalentone
      March 30, 09:27 Reply

      Haba!!! Wharsaldis? Such juicy tid-bit and u do not wanna spill? How did u even overcome ur paranoia to dream of hooking up, not to talk of rimming? Which place did u commit this act? Who caught you and whats your relationship with them? How gullible were they to believe dt sorta ministration is anything but medical/spiritual? Details. Details

      • Francis
        March 30, 13:14 Reply

        ??? Nna calm down oh. I was only quoting what Kenny wrote and then responding to it……though I’ve hooked up 2ce sha but na for London those ones happen so the fear of Kito wasn’t quite there.

          • Francis
            March 30, 14:42 Reply

            What dirty subtle advert? Hian! Biko if you know your way to and fro London, N500k fit sort you out for 1 month.

            P.S: Dollar and Pounds ti take over now so…… ??

            • Vhar.
              March 30, 14:56 Reply

              This Francis is just a bonga fish!

            • Keredim
              March 30, 16:15 Reply

              I beg Francis, no vex biko. Which part of London N500k fit sort person out for one month? Does that include plane ticket and accommodation?!?

              • Francis
                March 30, 16:40 Reply

                1. Correct Ticket Agents / Ticket Offers
                2. Correct Neat House/Flat Shares (All Bills + free WiFi included)
                3. Planned waka waka that fall within off-peak periods.
                4. SALES, SALES, SALES
                5. SALES, SALES, SALES

                Two visits while in Med school opened my eyes well well. lol. I still do the sales thing sef from Naija.

                Last Visit was Walthamstow , East London. The first two if I remember well were in Enfield, North London.

                • Keredim
                  March 30, 16:45 Reply

                  You no chop?!?

                  Enfield no be London

                  Walthamstow, well these days is quite dare, being close to Olympic stadium and all. When was your visit? And was some of your costs offset with sex?!????

                  • Francis
                    March 30, 17:07 Reply

                    LMAO. Nigerian Govt allowance and Popsy dem handle the first two visits. My pocket hear am small the last visit. Maybe senator go pay for the next one. I just need tutorials from a PRO ;-).

                    Hunger ke? Morrisons, Iceland, Tesco, ASDA even Poundland dey na. We leave the M&S, Sainsbury, Waitrose for you high earners.

                    P.S: Enfield no be London. See this one! No worry you go host me for your tush end next time.

                    • Keredim
                      March 30, 17:48

                      Ehyaaaa. ASDA, Morrisons, Iceland…Tell me, how is your waistline?!???

  3. DI-NAVY
    March 30, 07:02 Reply

    Too bad our country stigmatise HIV patients, I once asked a promiscous friend if he could date someone who tested +, and he flew with ewwwwww and said “God forbid and he’ll never test + in his life” that he rather remain cellibate. I shook my head to that utterance. Smh and this is some nympho who gets into the pants of every simon,isaac and Jacob. The truth of the matter is, most of the + patients live a healthier life than us who has refused to go test in years, they know their status and take adequate medications and eat right. I know a + patient whose skin is flawless, handsome face and a healthy persona. It’s just a virus people. Malaria even kills more than HIV, typhoid as well. People don’t get depressed cos they have the virus, but rather they feel suicidal cos of the rejection that comes with it. Being gay is even a social prejudice let alone being gay and +. To anyone who’s + out there, keep living right cos there’s someone who’s – that’ll love and appreciate you for who you are. It’s just a virus when you take your adequate meds. We should learn to be more open minded to matters like this…

    • Francis
      March 30, 07:27 Reply

      Na this kain pipul dey struggle bad with stigma when they eventually get HIV+ diagnosis.

    • Keredim
      March 30, 09:01 Reply

      I thank God for the inroads medical science has made in the care of HIV +ve people. Contracting the virus is no longer a death sentence.

      However @DI-NAVY, you stand the risk of stigmatising HIV -ve people with your comment about your promiscuous friend.

      Granted, he could have used better language to reject the idea of dating a HIV +ve guy, but I don’t think his choice should be sneered at.

      And him sleeping around (i assume safely) does not mean he will automatically get infected. Unsafe sex, however is another issue.

      @Francis, knowing your profession and the consequences of getting infected with the Virus and the level of health care available to all in Nigeria for free, would you knowingly date a HIV poz guy?

      • DI-NAVY
        March 30, 09:08 Reply

        Never had and never will i stigmatize hiv patients because it practicing safe sex is not just enough perhaps you might contact it from a well trusted lover without even knowing.

        • Keredim
          March 30, 09:15 Reply

          I said “stigmatising HIV -ve (negative) people”

      • Francis
        March 30, 09:20 Reply

        Stigmatizing HIV- people. Hmmmm. That’s a first.

        Someone missed the first paragraph of my health series and some casual mentions in the comment section. Lol. YES I would knowingly date someone who’s HIV positive if they are health conscious and I’m really feeling them. Besides PREP dey and I have access to quality healthcare as someone working in the field ?

        • Keredim
          March 30, 09:37 Reply

          Oh i read your series, as you know.

          Easier said than done. YOU have access to quality health care, most don’t.

          But kudos to you, it will appears your paranoia is ebbing.?

          • Francis
            March 30, 13:05 Reply

            ??? my paranoia doesn’t affect every aspect of my life with the same degree.

            You make sense sha, if I wasn’t working in the HIV field and I didn’t have the vast access to quality healthcare I most definitely wouldn’t have considered it. I guess being in the right place at the right time changed my orientation.

  4. Kenny
    March 30, 07:45 Reply

    Kenny Brandmuse a mighty source of inspiration. This piece inspired me and made me laugh. His ex wife and her brother will probably have a fit when they read it.

    • Chandler B.
      March 30, 14:22 Reply

      I tell you! Lmao. It’d probably renew their disgust and hate, but who cares.

  5. Santa Diaba
    March 30, 11:39 Reply

    I’ve been in love with Kenny for a long while. Such an inspiration ❤

  6. Jason
    March 31, 23:00 Reply

    This was truly inspiring. I like the fact that he us using his story to change people’s lives and to make them realise that being HIV positive doesn’t mean the end of your life.

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