THE LIFE I DIDN’T SEE COMING

THE LIFE I DIDN’T SEE COMING

EDITOR’S NOTE: I am posting this today to commemorate World AIDS Day, which is on this day, December 1. It is the story of life after a certain death, and the struggle of one in our community to come to terms with it. And because today is about taking stock of how far we as a society have come in the fight against HIV stigma and the provision of hope for all those living with HIV/AIDS, I figured this would be the perfect story for us to weigh in on.

Check on it and extend a hand. Thank you.

*

This is my story.

As I write this, despite the little time that has passed, I still feel like this could all be some horrible nightmare that I’d eventually wake up from. I find it even harder to take in because, as an avid reader and follower of Kito Diaries, I feel as though I should have been smarter, wiser than I was in the situation that brought about all this.

I am a deeply-closeted gay man, you know, the vault and steel doors kind of closet. I was well aware of my orientation from a tender age and, thanks to the many books I read, my self-acceptance was quite easy. In spite of this though, I never indulged in gay sex or explored, as I was scared to death of being found out.

All that naïveté changed though when I was posted to serve somewhere in the southwest earlier this year. A few days after camp, I met my first hookup, whom I went on to date briefly, until I found out he was cheating on me. He was a self-acclaimed top who wouldn’t allow me get as much as a finger up his ass, but would after fucking me, go out in search of who’d service his cakes. I was devastated when I found this out. I truly believed – or hoped – in the whole “You and I together, forever” thing, you know. I believed in love, rather than the gay culture of hopping from one dick or ass to another.

I soon moved on to Boyfriend Number Two. This one barely lasted two months; I was serving in the West while he was somewhere else. The distance was crushing, but that was not all. We had age and career differences. Worse still, he was married and kept it away from me for the longest time. All this culminated in a second heartbreak. At this point, I was done.

“So much for wanting to be in a committed relationship,” I told myself, as the Devil handed me lesson notes on how to be a hoe, which I learnt in record time.

I began to get more casual in my affairs with guys, starting having no expectations, instead moving from one hookup to another. And in all my trysts, I made sure I used protection.

Life was fun. I was enjoying all the attention and sex I was getting. But it wouldn’t be so for long.

Now, I must mention that I’d had unprotected sex with my previous two boyfriends, as I felt it would sort of tighten the bond we shared, and this was after they’d assured me that they were clean. How naïve I was. I must also mention that I am a blood donor, who voluntarily donates blood to a blood bank close to where I serve, as I have this condition where my body occasionally produces more red blood cells than necessary, resulting in a high PCV.

And so, one day, I logged on to Grindr to look for a new hookup as per the usual. In hindsight, I wished my phone had been damaged or stolen, anything to keep me away from using it that day. I met this guy online that day; let’s call him Ned. I scrolled up to discover we’d chatted sometime in the past, but my responses were not forthcoming, seeing as he was in another town quite far away from me. I’d never travelled to see a hookup before, and this wouldn’t be an exception, I’d thought then.

Ned greeted me and after the preliminaries, our chat began to flow, just as I loved them to be. And just like that, I was hooked. He told me he was a student in his finals in a university in the neighboring town, and I discovered that we are age mates. We quickly moved to WhatsApp, where we swapped pictures, and I made a joke about how he looked like someone in his late thirties; we laughed over that. I was charmed by him. And then he called, and hearing him speak got me officially smitten. Ned was cool and blunt in an amusing way; he’d taunt and tease me relentlessly and I was utterly fascinated by him.

I needed to see this guy.

Not wanting to seem desperate, I bided my time, until he asked me to come visit him. We’d video-called severally and I’d confirmed his accounts on both Instagram and Facebook, so I wasn’t scared of the possibility of being kitoed. But perhaps, in hindsight, a kito experience might have been a better situation after all.

On the day I decided to take that trip, several things happened which could qualify as some kind of scheme engineered by the Universe to stop me from going to where I was headed. It felt as though the powers-that-be were against this hookup, but I paid no mind whatsoever. I’d dressed up to leave the house when a knock sounded on my door. It was Jerry, a friend who had been on my neck for us to get down, a proposition which I’d repeatedly turned down. He’d come to ask for us to hang out, seeing as that day was his less busy day from work. Jerry pleaded and pleaded, but I wasn’t having it. I told him I had an important trip to make and I politely showed him the door. Premonition one!

As I jumped on a bike to the park, suddenly the heavens opened up without warning and out poured the rain. It was raining so heavily, I wasn’t sure I could make this trip. But I was determined. As expected though, there were no buses in the park, so I joined a clutch of passengers under a shed, hoping and waiting for a vehicle, which for a longtime, wasn’t forthcoming. Premonitions two and three!

Ned called me to inquire about where I was. I told him I hadn’t left the park, that it was raining. He replied by teasing me about how lazy I was and how I’m not a man of my words. We laughed at that and I assured him that come what may, I would surely see his troublesome self that day. I hung up just in time to make a dash for a sorry excuse for a bus that had just pulled up. We were crammed into this jalopy and it was barely comfortable. I got even more disappointed when I realized that where I was sitting, the rained was trickling from the roof and was drenching me. I didn’t bother so much. Anything to see Ned, I thought.

After two hours or so, we got to our destination. It was still raining heavily and the time was about 7pm. I struggled to get a cab that would take me to some other location, per Ned’s instructions. When I got to this location, I reached for my phone which I’d put in my bag to prevent it from getting too wet from the rain. I made to dial Ned’s number, only to realize that the moisture had somehow gotten to my phone, numbing the touchpad in the process. Premonition four!

I was thrown into a state of confusion. Ned called and I couldn’t answer. And I couldn’t call him back either. I was frustrated as I stood under a shed, trying to figure out what to do next. There was a final bus at that moment loading to return to my place; I could easily go back home and return some other time.

But then, I thought No! I thought that the Lord who had started this good work in my life would surely see it through to the end.

Then suddenly, an idea hit me. When Ned called for the umpteenth time, I quickly memorized his number as it flashed across my screen. Then I proceeded to look for a Good Samaritan who’d let me use their phone. After a lot of rejection from bystanders, a guy finally agreed to let me use his phone. I called Ned and asked him to come pick me up where I was. He was skeptical about my excuse, and it was obvious he feared that I was kito. But I assured him that I was really very stranded where I was.

Before long, he had come over and was standing right in front of me. And upon setting my eyes on him, I felt consoled for all the trouble I’d been through. He was everything I’d hoped for in terms of his looks, and I was delighted for persisting through with this trip.

We set off for his lodge. After eating, gisting and catching up, we had our shower and slept off. The next day was Saturday, and we stayed indoors for most of it, watching movies, cooking and gisting. Ned’s company was so easy. I fancied him the more. He came off as industrious and responsible, and I really liked him.

When it was nighttime and we were in bed, he was going to just canoodle with me. But I wasn’t about that. I wanted him badly. Before long, we were tearing at each other’s clothing and making out passionately. He was a terrible kisser, and I thought I would surely choke to death at some point.

And then, we were naked, skin on skin, and he was very well hung. I felt a fleeting moment of panic when I saw how big he was. He was MASSIVE! As we made out, he moved his hip around my derriere, clearly attempting to shove his massive dick inside me. I recoiled from his intent, thinking to myself how he surely wasn’t expecting us to have raw sex. I mean, he was nice and everything, but I didn’t know him that well.

“Condoms,” I said.

Upon hearing this, Ned made as if to suggest that that was a bother. I asked him if he had a problem with using protection, and he said no, that he feared that the condom would be broken. According to him, the condom always broke whenever he tried to have sex with it.

I told him not to worry, and then I reached out for two wraps of condoms from my bag. Soon after, I was sheathing him with it. Before I could even get it properly over his dick, the condom ripped apart. Just like he said it would. I assumed this often happened because his dick was very massive. When he shrugged an “I told you so” gesture at me, I told him to calm down, that the second one wouldn’t break. This time, I applied a generous amount of the lubricant I came with on him, and tried again. And again, the condom tore.

Now I was a bit unnerved. I was confused as to what to do. I’d read stories of people contracting STDs from having unprotected sex with people they didn’t really know, and call me crazy, but I’d rather get kitoed than contract some sort of sex-related ailment. I was getting increasingly scared, and I felt my gut wrench as I struggled to make a decision. Something Ned wasn’t helping me with. His dark, sexy body heaved up onto me as he breathed deliciously over my neck. I was thoroughly turned on. Then he made a whimpering sound, as if to ask for my approval for him to proceed. I had to give in. My hormones were calling the shots now, and there certainly was no longer any room for common sense.

“What’s your status?” I asked halfheartedly, and of course, he replied most reassuringly that he was negative.

That was all I needed. We quickly got down to it, and as expected, the sex was glorious. What skill he lacked in kissing, he more than made up for with the way he stroked my ass, making sure to hit all the corners of my sex pot properly. I was lying face downwards while he thrust in from behind, his tongue working wonders in and out of my ears as I moaned in pleasure. And when he came, he wanked me to cum too. Afterwards, we simply laid there on bed in each other’s arms. I knew right then that I was hooked on this guy. I’d fallen in love with him.

I left the following day, and we officially became an item afterwards. I saw no one. I loved Ned that much. He visited my place the following week and we had loads of fun together. And when we had sex, it was without protection.

Fast forward to a few weeks later, I came down with an illness. I became feverish, caught a nasty cough and catarrh that simply wouldn’t go away. I also observed that I was getting fatigued easily. I became more apprehensive when my groins and armpits started getting unusually hot. I didn’t understand what was going on with me, but I didn’t press the panic button. I kept calm and waited for these signs to subside, but they wouldn’t. I figured that my condition had kicked in -most likely the reason for these unusual symptoms I was suffering – and that I was due to donate blood. I went to the lab. Even though this was a fairly routine procedure, I was scared because I’d never had these issues whenever I was due to donate blood.

I was a regular at the facility, so I was usually attended to speedily. But on this particular day, something was off. There was an odd delay after I was done donating blood. I wasn’t dismissed like I usually was. And this had my gut clenching itself in knots. I looked on as a couple of other doctors were called into the other room to verify God-knows-what.

And then, even though I kept pushing the nasty thought away, it wouldn’t stay in oblivion. It kept on nipping at my consciousness, trying to paint a picture for me about how my life was about to forever change. Unable to bear the wait any longer, I called the junior nurse who had drawn the blood sample from my arm and asked her if there was a problem. And she replied, “Not really.”

Not really? I thought. Well, all that meant was that there was definitely a problem. When the matron called me into the room, the look on her face sent my heart, mind and soul into a downward spiral. I found myself struggling to breathe as I looked at her, unsure that I wanted to hear what she had to say.

“Are you a sexually active man?” she asked.

Just get it over and done with, madam! I thought furiously in my head. Aloud, I replied in the affirmative and she told me that one of my samples had tested positive.

That I am HIV positive.

It was all I could do not to slump and just die. But there was suddenly so much to do, as the matron booked an appointment for me to see the doctor in charge of STIs. When I eventually took my leave of the facility, I felt as though a numbing darkness was overtaking me.

Since then, I have communicated to Ned about my situation. After a short conversation, we agreed that he would have to go get himself checked.

I have seen my doctor and have been enrolled a HIV support centre in the state university teaching hospital here. I have also gotten my first batch of ART meds.

And I have spoken to Ned, who himself tested positive and has been disconsolate since. I feel bad for him because he really wasn’t aware of his status, even though I should feel betrayed that he’d lied to me that first time we had sex.

However, through all this, I have been struggling to cope. I am still reeling from confusion and devastation over my new life story. I’d developed a very tough skin for difficult situations over the years, but this realization is threatening my sanity. Much as I try to handle it with as much equanimity as I can muster, I seriously don’t know for how long I can keep up. My family knows nothing about my sexuality and I’d rather have a bullet go through my head than to tell my parents about this new development. If homophobia were to be a person, that person would surely be my father. I have no one to confide in, as this is uncharted territory for me. I am at a loss for what to do.

I need help and direction on how to live with this.

Written by Optimus

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42 Comments

  1. Mitch
    December 01, 07:40 Reply

    First things first, don’t go kicking yourself now. Even the most careful of us can have slip-ups. Make your peace with the fact that you’re +ve And understand that it’s not the end of the world. If anything, it’s a new lease of life you’ve been given.

    Now, about your fears over your family. I totally understand them. I felt the same way when I found out I’m +ve. But, one very important thing kept me going: My support system. My best friend, my circle of friends and Pink Panther.

    Now is not the time to tell your family. If you haven’t been able to tell them you’re gay, then telling them you’re +ve is completely out of the question. The last thing you need is to have them using your status to club you over the head as a failure or a foolish person. Because, trust me, they’d do that.

    What you need is to find a support system. Friends you trust, people who know you well, who have your best interests at heart, smart people who understand that being +ve isn’t a curse or something that calls for stigmatization or ostracization. Find people like that (I daresay you already have people like that in your life) and confide in them. Let them be your lifeline now. At least, until you get the strength to become someone else’s lifeline.

    Most importantly, relax and lose the weight hanging on you. What happened to you can happen to anyone. Lose that sense of shame, of failure, of regret and disappointment in yourself you’re carrying now. And own your positivity with pride. You’re just positive, not dead or a criminal or a harbinger of shame. Or a myriad other very fucking terrible things.

    You’re HIV positive.
    See it as your life just starting.
    Because it is a new beginning for you.

    PS: I’d be available if you need someone to talk to. Anytime.

    • Colossus
      December 01, 09:09 Reply

      This. Every single word of it.🙌

    • Homeboi
      December 01, 09:52 Reply

      Hi Mitch, am in such situation myself and would need some one like u to talk to.

      • Mitch
        December 01, 16:05 Reply

        Homeboi, contact Pink Panther. He’d give you my contact details. I look forward to hearing from you.

    • Eric
      December 01, 10:14 Reply

      Thank you Mitch you took the words right out of my mouth… You will be fine I have been living with it for two years now and trust me when I say your life is not over… I am also available if you need someone to talk to…

    • Kobe
      December 01, 13:32 Reply

      More often than not, I don’t agree with your positions. Pardon me.
      In this, I agree with every word you said above 👆.
      Thanks for the counsel, believe me it wasn’t meant for just the poster.

    • Optimus
      December 01, 19:57 Reply

      Thanks a bunch Mitch, these words means so much to me and I’ll bear them in mind. I hope I do have your permission to contact you???

      • Mitch
        December 01, 20:50 Reply

        Definitely!!!
        Just ask Pink Panther for my contact info. He’d give it to you.

  2. Williams
    December 01, 08:33 Reply

    Interesting read, don’t be emotional about the thing, it’s there so just be determined to fight it and win.

    1.You’re Fortunate to have found out early , so be thankful for that because it could have been worse.

    2.Make a conscious decision to LIVE.

    3. Your status is as personal as your sexuality. Telling family doesn’t give you more peace if they won’t be supportive, so just protect your space.

    4. Take one day at a time

    5. Your focus should be aiming to have an undetectable viral load and staying virally suppressed forever.
    With that, you’re as healthy as you can be. So just take the pills everyday at same time

    6. See , everything will be fine.

    • Optimus
      December 02, 22:02 Reply

      Can’t thank you enough Willy. Bless you

  3. bamidele
    December 01, 09:50 Reply

    Dear Optimus,
    Your story touches me to the marrow, but I’ll not pity you, and I strongly implore you not see yourself as a pitiful object. You need emotional strength; because lack of it poses deadlier than the status itself. As your doctor(s) would have told you, try to take your drugs regularly, and aim at undetectable level. You should be aware also that you can live as long as any normal person. Also, try to eat fresh foods, (eg, fruits, vegetable, nuts). Also, get enough rest, and remove any kind of worries from your mind. Get hobbies; distract yourself from the status.
    Indeed, you do not need to discuss your status with people, unless those you trust; otherwise some people, especially in Nigeria, will begin to ignorantly treat you like a plague.
    If you feel like chatting with somebody as a friend ; I’d be more than happy to be reachable!

    • Optimus
      December 01, 19:54 Reply

      Bless you Bamidele, I’ve surely reconciled myself with reality now and I must keep living.

  4. Vince
    December 01, 10:27 Reply

    hello Optimus, you’re not alone in this. I recall asking the doctor if I can get treatment without involving a third party say a parent and he said yes. In all that went through my mind-which frankly wasn’t much- that day in the clinic that reply was all that consoled me.

    And coming down with hepatitis B just about 4 months later was even a bigger blow.

    but hey, there is big hope for a cure. few days to my diagnosis, I read an article on dailymail about a research that’d start human trail sometime next year if all goes well. As at the time, the said scientist had been able to eliminate the entire virus from a lab rat.

    • Optimus
      December 01, 19:51 Reply

      Dear Vince , can you hand PP your email so I can access it? Please I need to talk with you.

  5. trystham
    December 01, 15:17 Reply

    Condom broke TWICE???? That is some to-see kinda dick.

    Humor aside, at least Ned is not faking outrage. I dunno if there is anything saying u guys can’t be together in both your current situations.
    Finally, I get the konji part and how that shii can make u do crazy things, I am however blaming you for not accessing PEP the minute u had gotten to your station. You seem ‘woke’ enough to have.

    • Optimus
      December 01, 19:48 Reply

      Trystham , PEP is taken not more than 72hours after infection. In my case, it was a whooping 3weeks already. Thanks though

      • trystham
        December 01, 22:16 Reply

        I know. You left the next day, didn’t you? Or at least that is what you wrote.
        Now you know. Unfortunately, its too late. I hope other readers note this whenever they are not sure of the status of whomever they’d be getting down with. ACCESS PEP!!!

        Anyway, what happens with this your high PCV thingie now?

        • Optimus
          December 02, 21:48 Reply

          I’ve been scheduled to have some tests, hopefully that’ll provide a reason and solution to it.

  6. Faxero
    December 01, 16:49 Reply

    We learn every day from our mistakes and the mistakes of others. Just like other comments made. It is not the end of the world. What will make you victorious is how you face the challenge and pick up yourself. I will tell you, do not have pity on yourself. Doing that will make you feel depressed. You have a whole life to achieve things dear. Meet people who you think have your best interest at heart but be mindful of people you inform about your current state. May God bless and keep you strong.

    • Optimus
      December 01, 19:45 Reply

      Can’t thank you enough Faxero

  7. Blackangel
    December 01, 21:19 Reply

    Optimus being +ve is not a death sentence, just take your medicine religiously with time you will even forget completely your status. Read about Kenny Brandmuse, he is the greatest inspiration to most +ve gay men. How many -ve gay men look healthier than he is. My brother just determine to live and don’t tell those you ought not to, besides never allow anyone shame you, that way , you’ll remain a conqueror.

    • Optimus
      December 02, 21:46 Reply

      Thanks so much Blackangel. I’ve made a conscious decision to live. I mean, I’ve got no other choice.

  8. Ebube Omari
    December 01, 22:53 Reply

    Optimus let’s chat on Twitter…
    @Ebube_iam
    I’ll be expecting you.
    But trust me, you’ll be perfectly fine, though not like you initially expected, but in a brand new way.
    I know this.

  9. Peace
    December 02, 09:15 Reply

    Dear Optimus,
    I totally agree with mother mitch of the house of Ferocity. I used to work in a virology lab dedicated to catering for HIV patients. So let me just add this which you may or may not have heard.

    Please take your drugs religiously, try not to miss your dosage. You can set a reminder so you don’t forget. And it’s better taken at night. EFAVIRENZ LAMIVUDINE TENOFOVIR DISOPROXIL FUMARATE TABLETS (ARV) is about 600mg which Is high…. And the symptoms you’ll experience like nausea, headaches or weakness are normal. But if you feel anything that is strange please reach out.

    Don’t miss clinic days too, it’s very important you attend them..

    Eat well too. Like I mean very well okay, fruits too..

    This Is not a death sentence, please do not overthink this. If you feel burdened, then talk to someone. I’m glad you’ve gotten contacts.

    And most importantly don’t forget that you’re not alone. You don’t have to go through this alone, we’re here to help you support you. We love you.

    Sending you light, love, warm hugs and kisses.. ❤️❤️💋

    • Tristan
      December 02, 19:32 Reply

      The newest alternative: Dolutegravir has been substituted for Efavirenz in the new alternative,TLD.

      He doesn’t need to worry about the SEs anymore. It’s well tolerated.

      • Peace
        December 03, 00:59 Reply

        Oh wow. I guess I need to come up to speed with my HIV knowledge. Thanks so much for the info Tristan. I mean if this one is well tolerated, then it would remove the need to take the ARV at night to eliminate the weigh down of the side effects.

        • Tristan
          December 03, 01:16 Reply

          Yeah sure. TLD is best taken in the morning.

    • Optimus
      December 02, 21:43 Reply

      These words mean a great deal to me Peace. I was actually advised to choose a preferred time in the morning and thankfully I’ve not noticed any allergies or reactions.

      • Peace
        December 03, 01:02 Reply

        Awwwwn thank you too for sharing your story with us… I’m rooting for you. ❤️

  10. Tristan
    December 02, 20:59 Reply

    I don’t want to pen down the nitty gritty of how I contracted HIV–it was expected–and how I felt when I found out my positive status.I can remember I sent my story ( A Letter to My Boyfriend) to pinky sometime in 2015 but I’m yet to see it on KD. However, I’m writing the sequel of the story as a novel.

    All I wanted was to just die, despite being medically informed. Being aware of my positive status was like fanning the embers after I had just broken up with my boyfriend. The world became empty to me and I felt lonely even when I wasn’t alone.

    Today, I have found peace through books, listening to people’s stories and surrounding myself with trustworthy friends that exude positive energy.I have found peace to the extent that I only remember I’m HIV positive only when my alarm rings.

    Optimus, I didn’t just survive. I lived and live life to the brim of it. You too can.

    I’m gonna be really honest with you… It’s not gonna be easy. You would cry, and even if you try to stifle it, there’d be invisible tears. You would want to punch the wall and when you do, you still wouldn’t feel the pain from the hurt. You would want to turn back the hands of time. You may blame someone and/or yourself, but in the end, what matters is that you will eventually pull through.

    A pill a day is better than living in fear. Adherence to your daily medications is very important until a cure is found.

    You will be fine. Sending you my love and prayers.

    • Optimus
      December 02, 21:39 Reply

      Bless you Tristan, we would pull through this eventually.

  11. Mike
    December 03, 11:07 Reply

    Hey Optimus, I really can’t pretend to know what this is like for you but I know it gets better. I would love to get to know you better though.

    • Optimus
      December 03, 11:25 Reply

      Thanks so much Mike, Kindly ask PP to for my email address.

  12. Sora
    December 03, 11:39 Reply

    This is a bit late. But as someone that’s poz, I’ll tell you what helped me.
    You didn’t ask to be infected. Nobody in their right mind would. But it happened. What helped me though, was taking my meds. I thought “okay sure, you’ve taken up residence in my body but your stay here will not be comfortable.” I started using my meds and got undetectable in about a month and a half. That was in 2018. Been undetectable for over a year now. It makes me feel like I’ve taken some power back from the virus. That makes it easier.

    • Malik
      December 03, 16:41 Reply

      💪🏿💪🏿💪🏿

  13. Lyon
    December 04, 00:02 Reply

    And Optimus chose to write about me…

    …I so see myself in his shoe.
    Sister, you’re not in this alone, but hey, life is beautiful and we’ve gotta take care of ourselves in spite of any situations we never bargained for.

    Lots of love, dear.

    • Optimus
      December 04, 15:19 Reply

      Thanks so much Lyon. We will surely pull through.

  14. Andra
    December 04, 09:28 Reply

    Things that Happen though

  15. Eddie
    December 05, 18:38 Reply

    Keep your chin up, dear🙂… You’ll be fine. If you need someone to talk to, I’m offering my ears and voice.. dm me on IG eddie_paz_
    Love you 🤗

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