UP AND DOWN MEMORY LANE (Episode 3)

UP AND DOWN MEMORY LANE (Episode 3)

Three years ago, I decided to get tested for HIV. The procrastination for the test had been going on for a while before then. On that Sunday, when it was announced during mass (when I still had time to stomach the bigotry and go to church) that there would be free HIV testing for interested persons after service, I made up my mind to get it over with.

After mass, I queued up and after a few minutes of getting the kits and other materials ready, the test went underway. Just before it got to my turn, the kits got finished. One of the nurses had to make a short trip to the health centre for more test kits. But for whatever reason, she did not return as quickly as I anticipated, considering the close proximity between the health centre and the church premises. I got impatient and wanted to go. But before I left, I asked the other nurse if it’d still be free if I went to the health centre for the test. She said yes, and with that, I left.

Monday came and passed, and there was no test. I didn’t go. I didn’t go on Tuesday and Wednesday. This was not because the health centre was far from where I lived; as a matter of fact, I walk past it every day. By Thursday, as I walked past the centre, something jolted me back to reality; this reality being that if I was to test positive, delaying the test wasn’t going to make it go away. During my WASSCE, UTME and Post UTME result checking time, I always checked my results as soon as they were up on the portal. I didn’t panic like most other students because I knew the results would not change if I stayed forever without checking.

So, I made a u-turn into the health centre. When I got in, I made my intention known to one of the nurses who then led me to a small house with numerous tiny rooms. There she took my blood sample and started the test procedure. The next five minutes or so that followed was, for the lack of a better expression, the most nerve cracking moments I’ve ever experienced in the whole time I’ve spent in this planet. During this very short time, my mind went into overdrive with its imagination of the worst. How are you going to explain to your parents and relations? I thought. Who are you going to tell them gave it to you? Do you even know who gave you HIV? You don’t even know how or where you got it, do you? I hadn’t seen my result and I already felt condemned.

I was in such a state when the nurse called my attention to something she was saying to me.

“Excuse me?” I said, blinking myself back from hell to the present.

“I said you’re negative.”

“What?”

“You don’t have HIV,” she repeated.

I took a moment to draw in a shaky breath. Then I said, “Alright thanks. Bye-bye.”

Two years later, as I walk towards the motor park to get a taxi home after the day’s lectures, I was approached by a certain young man wearing a wine red polo that had the inscription ‘Donate Blood. Help Save A Life’ printed on the front. He wanted me to donate some blood. I’d never donated blood before, so I decided to do that. Plus I figured that testing for HIV would be part of the process. So, I signed up. Forty-five minutes later, I walked out of the stand with a mini gift bag they gave to me for giving up one pint of my blood.

Now it’s been almost ten months since this donation happened, and like a stubborn fly, I’ve had two major slip-ups. As a result, I geared up to have another HIV test. An opportunity presented itself to me a few weeks ago when I went to the school clinic because of the diarrhea and dizziness I was suffering. After a little chat with the doctor, who remarked that I talk like Ben Carson, in the course of his diagnosis, he recommended a test. And after a beat, he wanted to know if I’d like to have a HIV test as well. I thought I was ready. But I wasn’t. I declined. Next time maybe…

Written by Michael

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15 Comments

  1. Max 2.1
    March 12, 06:35 Reply

    I’d like to know what those major slip ups were…

    • Francis
      March 12, 08:00 Reply

      Lol. Do they matter? Use ya imagination ?

    • michael
      March 12, 11:22 Reply

      Yea. Like say if nah you, you go gree talk.

      • Max 2.1
        March 12, 18:38 Reply

        You don’t know me, so you don’t know if I’ll talk or not.

  2. Eddie
    March 12, 07:34 Reply

    I don’t think it’s compulsory to tell people the mode of infection…doesn’t matter if it was through sex or needles abeg…you got it that’s what matters…

    • Francis
      March 12, 07:59 Reply

      Gbam! Most people, me included tend to conclude it was via sex until proven otherwise but I know better now.

      Best of luck with that next testing. Slip ups happen as we are humans. We just hope/pray we don’t stay paying for those slip ups for the rest of our lives.

  3. wife beater
    March 12, 08:00 Reply

    Ehn..whats this?ur debut piece was so promising,i was rooting for u! And two episodes in,u fall off the wagon n serve us mediocrity! Uncool!*fumes*

  4. michael
    March 12, 08:56 Reply

    Lol.. Its not always going to juicy and dramatic. Sometimes it’d be boring and uninspiring. So, sorry @wife beater if this entry didn’t measure up to your expectations.

  5. spy
    March 12, 08:59 Reply

    Beautiful piece. Pls write more of this. HIV/AIDS is becoming a pandemic in the Nigerian gay community. This piece here is an awareness of sorts. Thanks for penning it down.

  6. Delle
    March 12, 15:35 Reply

    Such an interesting piece.

    I actually think 90% of HIV infections are sex-induced seeing as the virus can’t stay alive when exposed.

  7. Somebody
    March 12, 17:50 Reply

    I had to take my HIV test when those non-governmental peeps came to my school few weeks ago … and it’s true those 5 minutes of waiting was nerve racking!!! It’s something I advice everyone to do

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