There’s always that one thing in all of our Adult lives which we dread the most, but find that we must do. For me it was a HIV Test!!
It seems to me that here in Nigeria; the test is more dreaded than the disease itself. We can watch movies and talk-shows, attend stage plays, seminars and workshops that all talk about HIV/AIDS, but when it comes to going to get tested for the virus, the majority of us shrink in fear or just “It’s not my portion” it.
I’m as Nigerian as it gets, so it wasn’t the exception for me. I’d had a test done a couple of years ago which came out negative, but it was one of those DIY test kits, and I sometimes questioned the veracity of the result it had given.
So there I was, single for the first time since I can remember, with major plans to take over the world on my own, but being mocked by this little demon that raised its ugly little head whenever I had any thoughts about my future.
“You wish” it’ll say, “What makes you think you’re better than all those people that have the virus?” Then in the usual ‘co-incidental’ manner that Life loves to deal its cards, it was at this point that I started to just ‘happen’ to turn on the TV, and guess what the movie would be about….HIV/AIDS.
I open the newspaper, and like the Grim Reaper, a story or news report about it would be right there beckoning to me. I’m having lunch at a restaurant and what is the couple on the next table idly chatting about? You guessed right…HIV/AIDS and how they suspect a friend of theirs may be living with the virus.
Then I begin to hear all kinds of gist about how so many people within the Lagos social circle have the virus and are going about their daily lives normally without a trace of the virus showing on any part of them.
Short of getting a restraining order against HIV/AIDS or just accepting that I already have the virus without even getting tested, the next reasonable thing I could do before completely losing my mind was to go get tested.
I made the decision and then conveniently pushed the actual day of testing for another 2 weeks. Finally, I gathered all my very, very little courage and decided I must go for the test on Thursday.
Thursday came and just before going for the test, I got on my knees and said a little and very simple prayer.
“Dear God, I know you are aware of what’s going on right now. I am terrified of taking this test because I know that I probably deserve to have the virus. But Lord, I’m not asking you to help me because of anything I deserve, but because you are a merciful God who gives 2nd chances. Please give me a negative result and I promise I won’t mis-use the rest of my life. I would love my body, myself and be responsible. Thank You Father, for I know you have heard and answered me.”
With that I drove down to face my greatest fear. I got to the Center, told them what I wanted, paid the fee and had my blood taken. I panicked a little as I watched some of the ladies who worked there, particularly the one taking my blood sample, look me over. They were checking out my bag, shoes and clothes!!
For a moment, I wondered if just to make my life miserable for looking good, they could switch my blood sample with another person’s own that contained the virus. As I considered that possibility, I decided that there was nothing I could do about it, so I might as well just let it be.
They told me that it would take another hour for the result to be ready, so I decided to go and pamper myself to prepare for whatever eventuality; I went for a pedicure.
A pedicure and a lovely walk in front of the Unilag Waterfront Park later, I came back for my result, feeling at peace with myself, God and the world.
The lady, who had earlier been checking me out, handed me the stapled result with a smirk on her face. My probing eyes searched her face and the faces of all the others for any tell-tale signs. I got none. They just chatted amongst themselves as if I didn’t exist. “Oh my gosh, maybe that’s the sign I need!! They are acting as if I don’t exist because in their minds I’ve seized to exist!!” I panicked and looked at the paper in my hands. “I’m holding my own death sentence in my hands!!”
I forced a smile and said good-bye, rushing to the car where I said another little prayer before I opened the result.
“NEGATIVE: As at the time of this test”.
I laughed like a Mad-Woman in the car, which I probably looked like, as a little crowd soon gathered outside and watched.
Follow more of Tari’s adventures on www.tariere.blogspot.com