Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.

I could have stopped a horrible thing from happening to someone but I didn’t try hard enough. I let my prejudice get in the way and I may have to live with the guilt for a very long time.

I had a neighbour, a friend named Joe, when I lived in my former apartment, who had a (gay) friend aged about 19 at the time I first got acquainted with him.  His name was Henry, and he spent a lot of time in our compound visiting with my friend. I found him really smart and all, and I also got to know that he came from a really poor family and as such, he had to drop out of school and fended for himself most of the time. It appeared also that he slept around a bit to survive, and for this, I judged him then. I was kind of insensitive to his struggles.

There was a time I heard from Joe that he was involved in an orgy somewhere in town. Apparently he had gone to see a friend for a hookup and there were other guys there who took turns with him. I wasn’t sure it was a rape situation; it appeared he gave consent, but I was very worried when I heard it, and I knew I had to teach him about safe sex and STIs. I did try when I finally caught up with him, but he wasn’t very interested in what I had to say. I got angry because of his dismissiveness and ended our talk. I felt like: Well, if you want to sleep around, be ready for the consequences.

I should have tried harder; I really should have tried harder.

Another day came when Joe called me and asked for a prescription to treat gonorrhea. I asked who the drugs were for and he said it was for his classmate. I told him to call me from a pharmacy so that I would speak to the attendant on what they should buy. I briefly entertained the thought that the drugs may be for Henry, but later discarded it. When Joe called again, I told the attendant what to give him, and then I moved on to other things, completely oblivious to what may have happened.

Fast forward to last week, I was returning from a trip and came upon that kind of traffic that makes you wonder who you offended in your village to be caught up in it; certainly not in this Buhari economy of 145-naira-a-liter business. Fortunately for me I was close to my former place, so I decided to take a detour and chill there till like 9pm when the roads would ease up a bit rather than waste (precious) petrol stuck in the holdup. I popped into the compound, and fortunately, Joe was at home. I dropped into his flat and collapsed on the couch, relieved not to be sitting in traffic.

He had a friend visiting and the three of us chatted about generic stuff while catching up with the times we’d missed in each other’s lives.

Then I remembered Henry, who’d be twenty-three now, and I asked about him. An uneasy quiet descended in the room. Joe looked down at the floor for a few seconds before raising his head and finally saying that Henry was currently lying in the morgue at the Port Harcourt teaching hospital.

My head started spinning, my mouth became salty; I kept screaming, “No, No, NO!” He was too young to die, I could not believe it. When I asked what killed him, one person said pneumonia while the other guy said Hepatitis, both of them uncoordinated responses that told me they were lying and that something worse had happened and they were hiding it.

Long story short, the young man had picked up HIV and was not aware of it. When he started showing signs of illness, the family made matters worse by taking him to a prayer house where he spent a few months and severely deteriorated. When it became too bad, they finally got him to the teaching hospital, but it had become too late. He died a few days after admission.

As I listened to this story, my heart kept breaking into a million pieces and guilt threatened to smother me. Even on the ride back home, the guilt hung in the car with me like a dark cloud. I kept thinking that if only I had pressed hard enough, if only I had pushed him to listen, if only I had put away my bias and taught him, maybe he could have learnt about safe sex and not come down with HIV. Our resident shrink Sensei tried to console me but I really could not put away my guilt; I could have tried harder and harder until he listened to me. This was a poor kid from an impoverished background needing guidance. Men preyed on him in exchange for a little cash which he needed to survive. And this was the end.

So forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. I did not try hard enough, for if I had tried, maybe I would have been able to save this young man from himself.


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  1. Mandy
    July 06, 06:55 Reply

    This is so sad, even sadder becos of the hand it seems life dealt Henry. Impoverished and with no particular skill-set beyond using sex to get what he can. There’s lots of information to be had about taking care of oneself in this sex-driven gay community, so much awareness, but you’d be surprised how ignorant most of the community, especially the younger generation are of all this knowledge.

  2. Kenny
    July 06, 06:55 Reply

    This is really sad. Don’t beat yourself up too much over it. Prejudiced or not, you did try to talk to him but he wasn’t having none of it. So he’s responsible for the consequences of his action.

  3. Dubem
    July 06, 06:58 Reply

    I cried ????
    For the boy who never took care
    For the life so wasted
    For the parents so lacking in knowledge that they saw a prayer house as the first solution instead of a hospital
    For a society that preys on the young and bereft
    I cried ????

    And yet I remain grateful for a platform such as KD. More of our youths should read and be educated and enlightened and reach out as well.

    • Dennis Macaulay
      July 06, 13:23 Reply

      We will do more, we will double our efforts to spread the word and I will immortalize his memory.

      His death will bring something good out of its ashes!

  4. Kenny
    July 06, 07:01 Reply

    On another note, it’s so sad and sometimes annoying that Nigerians are so ignorant about hiv. This guy could have lived a long healthy life but they just had to take him to a church. Same thing happened to my dad’s mechanic. I don’t know if he was an MSM. He was sick and he had one weird kind of rash like that and they took him to a white garment church in my area. I told my parents that I strongly feel that he’s been infected with hiv and they tried to get him to seek medical attention but no, they said it was the witches from his village that placed a hex on him hence the weird rashes. Long story short, I came home from school only to hear that the man was dead. About a week before he died, they finally took him to yaba where he was confirmed to be positive. Sensitization about hiv shouldn’t be about prevention only, but immediate treatment once infected should be preached also.

    • Pink Panther
      July 06, 07:08 Reply

      That is the annoying part. The part where they eventually get around to taking the patient to the hospital at a time when it has become too late. Why not receive this sense in the beginning? Why does the hospital suddenly seem like a good idea as a last resort instead of a first?
      You’re right. Sensitization of HIV really should focus also on educating people on bringing that loved one to the hospital. This is not the kind of ignorance that can be lived with in bliss. Deaths can be prevented if people knew better.

    • Dennis Macaulay
      July 06, 08:57 Reply

      I gathered the family kept insisting that it was some spiritual arrow. They insisted on prayers until it was too late.

      We need to do more on HIV, we need to do more!

  5. Jo
    July 06, 07:33 Reply

    Really felt sad. it is sad to see that our society is rigged to the disadvantage of any non conformist. Even if it was caught on time and be explained how he got it, the stigma eh plus the HIV. Anyways, he would have lived a bit longer I guess. R.I.P

  6. Too clean
    July 06, 08:14 Reply

    The consolation is that you at least tried!

    btw,Denis,Denis,Denis…Wah is hapuning?


  7. Shuga chocolata
    July 06, 08:33 Reply

    You did try but, it wasn’t enough.
    So don’t beat yourself up.

    Same thing happened with a friend and he called me enemy of progress? I tried till I prude further and dude was down with HIV and HEPATITIS C, I was scared for him not because of his but for HEPATITIS. I’m so scared of that disease like I’m scared of playing football.

    He is well alive and takes his medication,
    Living a healthy life.
    All thanks to Internet.

    It was a hard decision between been friend with him and keep up with his shenanigans or be truthful to him. The latter paid of.

    • Francis
      July 06, 09:06 Reply

      I don’t like that “enemy of progress” or “busybody” tag and that’s why I don’t dwell on ish too much. I tell you once, you no hear, I try again and still no favorable response, I face my front one time and pray God shows you the light asap.

      Personally I don’t like being badgered too sha.

      • Shuga chocolata
        July 06, 09:20 Reply

        I understand you my dear but, you signed up for whatever hollering I give.
        I should know and speak the truth even when it hurts.

        A friend asked a question this morning,
        “Is been right more important than friendship?”

        Need your answer and probably reasons if any.

        • Francis
          July 06, 10:00 Reply

          Speaking the truth to that friend is obviously more important especially if he’s a FRIEND. If he decides to end the friendship cause the truth is bitter well that’s on him.

          Like I said before (and I’m biased as that’s how I like to be treated) the key is not to be a pest about it. Some peeps are just stubborn as fuck and need a small scare to behave. Henry’s scare was that Gonorrhea but unfortunately no one was there to ring the alarm well well.

          • Shuga chocolata
            July 06, 13:00 Reply

            I hear you, we shall continue the discussion in the inner chamber.

  8. Francis
    July 06, 10:03 Reply

    Hopefully those of us that can like to take advantage of underprivileged/gullible/weak folks would take note. This one is partially on them.

  9. elikem
    July 06, 10:22 Reply

    I agree with you wholeheartedly Francis, we as a community need to have some empathy and stop preying on each other. so many young boys are used and abused because of their economic disadvantage.

    these boys are already so vulnerable, let’s be better
    sex is not everything oo my ppl
    sex is not everything in this life
    we are only harming ourselves.
    a word to the wise.

  10. wytem
    July 06, 10:32 Reply

    There should be some education on this and part of the education should focus on the symptoms of acute HIV infection so that in the event it occurs, the patient and family will know where to go.

    • Francis
      July 06, 10:48 Reply

      Acute HIV infection shows face like every other ailment so it’s difficult to tell without doing a test BUT once you see person with whitish patches in the mouth, lumps all over, herpes zoster(shingles) and cough of over 2-3 weeks, it’s HIV(TB) until proven otherwise

  11. Chizzie
    July 06, 11:17 Reply

    I don’t understand. How does a 23year old die of full blown AIDS? I really need to understand this because from what I know HIV isn’t that virulent. People can live for up to decade with out exhibiting signs of the illness while appearing healthy.

    I’m not disputing that this story is true I just need to know why certain ppl progress to full blown AIDS and die so rapidly from it. What exactly are they doing wrong?. Cause I know ppl who have had latent HIV for years and are not on meds yet because their viral count’s on the low side.

    So here’s my theory :

    I won’t say it was HIV/AIDS that killed him. I’ll say it was a combination of poverty and ignorance,and of course having sex with multiple partners who might have probably contributed to his viral count causing him to be super infected, resulting in his rapid progression to AIDS.

    Cause in the normal sense of things HIV should not escalate so rapidly. I think we need to clearify these things to avoid the fear and panic associated with reading HIV stories like these

    • Francis
      July 06, 11:28 Reply

      Cause I know ppl who have had latent HIV for years and are not on meds yet because their viral count’s on the low side.

      Please are these your people residing in Nigeria? Cause the last time I checked viral load count is super expensive and not done just like that unless you know person that knows person.

      The progression to death from HIV depends on the type and complications/associated diseases it comes with i.e HIV + TB + Hepatitis + Renal failure + TB Joshua/Delayed proper management = DEATH

      • Chizzie
        July 06, 11:43 Reply

        CD4 count *I think that’s what they call it.

        But all those complications you mentioned are determined by how high or low your viral load / Cp4 [sic] kini is. And what stage of HIV the person is in.

        And prior to those complications arising they are very distinct symptoms that arise that suggest the person is headed to full blown AIDS..

        My point is HIV like any other illness goes through stages. You don’t have acute HIV infection and suddenly die from AIDS the next week as the write up implies. You really are more likely to die from untreated Malaria sooner, than you are from HIV.

        • Francis
          July 06, 11:51 Reply

          You missed this part

          When he started showing signs of illness, the family made matters worse by taking him to a prayer house where he spent a few months and severely deteriorated.

    • Arabian Princess
      July 06, 13:07 Reply

      He could have even been infected multiple times…that one is much more stronger than when the person has just one strain of HIV

    • KingBey
      July 08, 08:26 Reply

      Some complications from HIV can kill without even progressing to AIDS. Pneumonia, TB, etc.

  12. Chuck
    July 06, 12:27 Reply

    Hopefully he went to Heaven.

    • Chizzie
      July 06, 15:06 Reply

      Lol This is also what I think whenever I read or hear about someone’s death.. It’s the judgemental Nigerian in me ??

  13. Dennis Macaulay
    July 06, 12:44 Reply

    I don’t know exactly when he got infected, but the period between when he started showing signs of sickness to when he severely deteriorated was just about 4 months. Which he spent in a prayer house.

    • Kenny
      July 06, 13:33 Reply

      He could have been infected long before that. You knew him when he was 19,he probably died at age 21. The virus would have spent some time weakening his immune system before symptoms start to show. Heck he could be infected for 6-9 months and not be aware. And he could have picked up other stuffs along the way which made his deterioration faster. I’m scared for those who were having unprotected sex with him o. They might not know to check their status now.

    July 06, 14:42 Reply

    Lots of young guys die this days due to ignorance and promiscuity. They want to fuck everyone. The older generation thats suppose to be helping and providing support are the very ones taking advantage of this young boys. I weep for the young generation, they keep dieing like chicken and it seems no one can to anything abt it. I do my best by preaching and crying out loud on my social media the dangers of living a reckless life. Just this year alone I know of 10 young boys that have gone to their early graves.

    May God keep us all.

    • KingBey
      July 08, 08:31 Reply

      It’s very disheartening. The way boys between age 16 and 21 go about asking for hookups these days, you go fear. Someone will come on a facebook group of about 5K guys and share his number…..asking for a big Top in Surulere, Ikeja, Apapa, Mushin, bros only you? Matter taya me abeg.

  15. sensei
    July 06, 15:39 Reply

    I have heard a similar story but in this case, the boy is still alive and well. He is walking the same path. I fear how it will end.

    I had hoped that the LGBT community would be more interested in real issues such as these. But no. Saddens me to see what we have become.

    • Truth
      July 06, 15:56 Reply

      it saddens you, really? when you’re part of those contributing to it. Don’t exclude yourself from this please.

      • sensei
        July 06, 18:09 Reply

        Na wetin I do this person, biko? Smh. You really need to calm down. Before hatred will consume you.

      • sensei
        July 06, 18:13 Reply

        You really need to calm down. Hatred consumes you. If I am everything you think and say I am, why then do you bother? I don’t think I am worth it.

        • Pink Panther
          July 07, 04:57 Reply

          LOL. Truth apparently is only selectively Truthful. 😀

    • Chizzie
      July 06, 18:11 Reply

      Oshey o. Mother Theresa. Holier than thou. Full of pseudo wisdom.

      • sensei
        July 06, 18:14 Reply

        Good evening, Chizzie. How are you today? LOL

  16. Sasha
    July 06, 16:01 Reply

    And when boys are told to close their knees, they start preaching about sexual freedom. alot of you on this blog including the ones dishing out two cents advice are positive, I bet you’re too scared to go for testing becuase you know the whole of Lagos and Abuja combined knows the colour of your anus.

  17. Harrison
    July 07, 18:30 Reply

    Too much fear mongering going on here.. In the gay world, every person who dies must have died of AIDS. No confirmation. No nothing. If he had fever it must be HIV. Abeg make una calm down..

  18. Brian Collins
    July 08, 09:18 Reply

    Has anyone seen Temi Cole? I miss him.

    Real sad really, everyone on KD should just decide to go for testing. More awareness on HIV is needed. Even Chizzie doesn’t know the difference between CD4 count and viral load and that the former should be higher and the later lower, for someone be to at least healthy.

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