This story was shared to our Executive Director from a young girl living with HIV via Twitter on 20th September, 2020. This is the verbatim of it. We hope it inspires you.
Hi there, so a while back, I listened to your interview on spotlight. And I found it pretty enlightening. I’ve been wanting to text you, but I just didn’t really know the right words to say. I just felt like I needed to share my story.
I was diagnosed with HIV in 2013, a year after my mum had passed away. She had HIV too, but the thing is, I wasn’t born with it, and my mum had been HIV negative until she contracted the virus from my father who then was unfaithful.
So, what happened for me to know that I had HIV?
I’d been feeling back pains and my body was becoming weak. And on one particular Sunday I couldn’t get out of bed, my back hurt so badly and I couldn’t breathe properly. My chest and my back had developed some shingles and they’d hurt so badly. So I went to the hospital. They did every test and couldn’t find anything until they tested for HIV and found that I had it.
Hearing the news, broke my hurt really. I’d always been careful and I’d never slept or kissed anyone before. I just didn’t know were I got it from. What broke my heart the most was that my family directly assumed that I got the virus from sexual activities.
So years down the line and still confused, trying to figure out where I got the virus from but no answer. I’d thought and thought but just couldn’t figure it out. Until one day, my aunt and I had to go collect my mums death certificate that was going to be used as proof at the bank to enable us to put her accounts in my name. While at the bank, I decided to look at the death certificate and find out what killed my mother, because no one told what she was suffering from. And in bold black it was written “HIV/AIDS “. I shed a tear honestly, I had mixed emotions. But I was glad I found out because it all started to make sense now. I’d always use my mums, niddles for sewing, her lazer blades and ear rings too. And that’s how I contracted the virus.
My journey has been a learning process really. I’ve had to learn to accept myself for the new person I’d have to be, I’ve had to learn how to live with HIV and take my pills everyday, I’ve had to learn how to eat right and take care of myself. I’ve learnt and am still learning.
The first few years, I lived in denial of my new normal. With every pill that I took, I’d always consider myself as one awaiting death. I just didn’t feel normal anymore. I’d have constant headaches, when I took my ARV’S I’d become really dizzy and so tired. I just couldn’t do it anymore, and so I stopped taking my medicine. I convinced myself that if I stopped taking my medicine, I’d feel normal. I really didn’t like myself and how some nurses and doctors would look at me when I went for my check ups. I hated HIV radio adverts, i hated hearing the HIV jokes people made in class and that i just had to pretend to laugh so that i dont seem suspicious. But what i hated the most is that, i was in it alone, i was fighting it all on my one and i just didnt have anyone who i could talk to about how i was feeling. I also stopped taking my medicine because i was just ready to end my story. But long story short, I overcame it all and started treatment again. Theres really so much to talk concerning my journey, but this is just abit about it.
I just felt like letting about of myself out, maybe it might make a difference one way or the other.