Living a balanced lifestyle
It is almost exactly three years since I first found out that I am HIV positive. It started so simply, with a rash my partner experienced that needed to be treated. I went with for moral support and the doctor asked us when last we had been tested for HIV.
I didn’t squirm at all, I normally go for one every year - must admit I skipped a few years but nonetheless it wasn’t a concern to me. So we proceeded.
We waited for the results and it became apparent that something was not going to plan, for it should only take about five minutes to show on the “white-pregnancy-type” tester. We were called back and were asked to sit down.
It was then that I was told I am HIV positive. My partner was more shocked than I was. I was numb, didn’t know what to feel. I was confused but calm. Immediately thereafter we went for counselling and then it all sank in. This is it. I am doomed. Well, so I thought.
It made no sense
We went home, silence in the car, questions running through my head: When? Where? How? Futile at the time but relevant I suppose. It was just before Christmas and all I could think about was how my festive season is going to end up. I needed a drink to be honest, but resisted the feeling.
I sat for days thinking about it afterwards, but it made no sense. I had a partner for four years and he was negative and I’m positive? It just did not click. But I dealt with it. I didn’t enjoy the festive season and I knew the news was going to kill me if I don’t tell my parents at least!
I called them both and they came to our flat. I said it, and for the first time I cried. I cried with my mom and dad. I felt like such a disappointment. Everything they taught me was suddenly washed down the drain and I thought they would disown me. But my parents raised me up and said: We Love You! Don’t cry! You are still our son! “People die of car crashes every day for heaven’s sake!” my mom shouted to get my attention. Amazingly my parents became my first support structure after my partner. I then felt safe, loved and cared for and at that moment I let out a sigh of relieve.
It’s true what they say, you only feel real love when something big happens. This was something big, and although I cannot recall how I contracted HIV, my partner and parents accepted me regardless and that was a blessing from above.
In January I got my results from the first CD4 count that was done, 1 300 and something. It was good results my doctor said many people don’t have such high counts, including HIV negative persons. Another sigh of relieve - at least I don’t need medications for the next few years if it stays like that.
I slowly confided in a small group of close friends, and I must say, I could not have asked for better friends and family in my life. They support and accept me, something that is alien to many people who contract HIV.
If I could give advice to one person who tested positive, don’t let your own fears get the better of you. Your family and friends can sometimes surprise you and they can become a support structure that can only encourage you to continue to be the person you are, if not greater!
As an HIV positive person, I definitely appreciate my life more. I also understand what it is to eat healthy and to live a balanced lifestyle to keep my CD4 count high.
Your health is important
If that doctor never asked us to get tested three years ago, I would have infected my partner.
Today I’m single; imagine how I could have spread HIV to my future partner unknowingly. Currently I'm more aware of how I must protect those close to me and I encourage family and friends to practise safer sex.
Always insist on using a condom, man or woman - your health is more important than a night of passion, unprotected.
Get tested regularly if you sexually active abstain if you can, live a healthy lifestyle and accept and love those that are affected and infected by HIV.
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