HIV Doesn’t Kill Anymore; Get Tested, Don’t Die Of Ignorance
I once heard someone say that the fear of HV is the beginning of wisdom and somehow I think he is correct because the moment you know you are going to get tested, you begin to get nervous and pools of sweat just wash all over you. Especially it’s your first time getting tested if or if you’re not sure of your status.
No matter what category you belong to, don’t let naysayers and ignorance stop you from knowing your status and giving yourself a chance at a better life.
There are people who have lived with the virus for over thirty years while there are others that have died from just malaria. We will all die anyway, but wouldn’t it be worse for you if you die out of ignorance?
ALSO READ: Sixteen Danger Signs Of HIV: GET TESTED
We still live in a society where despite the socially promoted awareness as well as life experiences either directly or indirectly of prevalence of the human immune deficiency virus there are still those who don’t know their status and are not even willing to know.
Lots of people, especially the youths are afraid of knowing their status especially if the feel they are at risk of testing positive. They are so afraid that they will rather go about ignorant of their status and continue having unprotected sex hoping their partner is negative.
What this group of people aren’t aware of is this “The earlier you get tested, the earlier you give yourself a chance at a better life’’.
One benefit of getting tested is that it makes you aware of your status as well as makes you sexually responsible. It helps you keep your lust in check if unmarried and if married it helps you keep yourself protected by always using a condom if cheating on your partner or aids you in staying faithful to one partner.
Why are people still afraid of getting tested? The fear of HIV is the beginning of wisdom because once you test positive you suddenly realize that sex isn’t as sexy as you thought it was before you knew your status. You begin to mentally check everyone you have ever had sex with as well as trying to find out who, when, where or how exactly you got the virus.
Testing positive is a scary thought, one you shouldn’t let last too long in your head because if you keep going through your daily life without getting tested and knowing your status, you are actually worse than those who took the courage to get tested and tested positive.
You may wonder why this is so, the reason is because when you know your status and you test positive, you immediately begin taking ARVs ie Anti-RetroVirals.
This drugs begin to work immediately in keeping the virus in check by stopping it from multiplying in your blood thereby giving you a chance at a longer life.
Ignorantly wishing you are negative and not getting tested doesn’t benefit you as it’s your body that will suffer the repercussions of your decision to not get tested when it suddenly shuts down. It’ll get to a point if you refuse to get tested, the virus takes over and nothing will save you, it’s just a matter of time before you die and become a statistic or an example to people who didn’t bother to know their status.
Gone are the days when testing positive is the end of your world. Last thirty years there were no readily available drugs (as it was very expensive back then) and testing positive was an ultimate death sentence, today, the case is different. There are drugs that stop the virus from multiplying in your blood.
Plus, If you go about untested, you give room for the virus to live in your blood without treatment it kills you off bit by bit as it takes years for the virus to become fully active and then leads to full blown AIDS. It makes you weak and susceptible to every illness and at that point a simple headache can kill you.
It’s actually worse for you if you don’t get tested because if you continue to ignorantly have unprotected sex without knowing your partners status, you invite different strains of the virus into your blood which could be deadly for you in the long run.
No two HIV positive individuals have the same HIV strain because no two individuals have the same DNA or RNA so if you even test positive you will still have to always have protected sex so you don’t invite different strains into your body.
If you are positive and you’re taking ARVs and you have unprotected sex with someone who is also HIV positive, when you go to your doctor, he or she will have to start a new treatment for you because you have allowed a different strain into your body and therefore the previous treatment you were taking is null and void. You’ll begin all over again.
So if you even test positive, you will still have to be sexually careful.
Yes, there is the fear of stigmatization, but should you really care what others think of your health? Is it your health or theirs? Who knows if they will die before you? There are lots of diseases out there that can easily kill a person. There’s Hepatitis A and B, which most people don’t even know about talk more go to get tested for.
The deadly thing about Hepatitis is once it has infected your blood stream, you go to bed one night and don’t ever wake up and no one will even know that was what killed you. Some will say its witchcraft, others will say its poison, but only your body knows what killed you and your body has no mouth of its own so it can’t say anything cos you will be dead, gone and buried.
There’s also Tuberculosis which has been named deadlier than HIV because first it starts as just normal cough, then it migrates to whooping cough, then it gets to the critical stage of being infectious cough which can be contracted through kissing. Let’s not even talk about cancer and the over fifty types of cancer that puts you through hell once you have been diagnosed, and if not caught early is usually a death sentence.
It is important for everyone to go for medical check-up and stop living the life of an average ignorant Nigerian. There are lots of diseases way worse than HIV, so don’t let the fear stop you from getting tested.
There has been news spreading around the country which is subject to verification that from 2016, the Nigerian government will make it mandatory for every citizen to get tested and if you don’t test before 2016, you will pay for your ARVs which presently is being given out for free.
Don’t let the fear stop you. It’s better to wake up in truth than to keep living a lie. The lie of ignorance. The lie of not caring. The lie of not knowing. It’s such lies that still makes HIV prevalent in Nigeria.
Here are some truths about the virus:
HIV doesn’t kill anymore.
You can be HIV positive and still get married to a HIV negative person if they love you.
You can marry a HIV positive partner and still not contract the virus if you are Negative as long as you both take the precautions which your doctor recommends to you both.
You can have a child if you are a HIV positive female and give birth to a HIV negative baby if you get tested early so you can at least give your unborn child a chance.
Once you start taking treatment, your viral load ie the quantity of the virus in your blood begins to reduce drastically that in time, if you get tested, the HIV virus won’t even be in your blood because the job of the ARVs is to stop the virus from multiplying and keep your blood as clean as possible.
HIV doesn’t kill, it’s the ignorance that kills.
HIV on its own just goes into your body and starts multiplying by photocopying your RNAs. This RNAs when copied begins to destroy your white blood cells which is your blood soldier which fights sicknesses. When your body has no soldier to fight for it, illnesses as simple as malaria can kill you.
HIV on it’s own is harmless, but it needs to kill off your white blood cells to take control of your blood and that is why the Nigerian government keeps encouraging everyone to get tested so you don’t die out of ignorance.
It is alarming to find so-called knowledgeable people who don’t even know their status and they don’t even care.
Families should make it mandatory for their kids no matter how old they are to get tested. I had a friend whose parents took him to the hospital themselves just because he refused to get tested and always seemed to have an excuse anytime the family went for general check-up just because he was afraid. His family forced him, he went to the hospital, got tested and he was even negative, the fear was unnecessary.
Talk to people who are HIV Positive and you will discover they all had the same thing to say, they were all grateful they got tested even if it came back positive, at least that way they knew where they stood with their health and they started making better choices with their sex life and their health generally.
Besides, you don’t contract it just through sex; you can contract it through sharing toothbrushes, those who have no problem allowing their friends share their toothbrush, you can contract it through sharing shaving sticks, clippers or blades, you can contract it through blood transfusion, those of you ladies having abortions and facials that involves picking you face with that iron-acne picker, you can contract it through unsterilized utensils.
HIV is not a death sentence, it’s a chance to begin making better sexual choices no matter what the result is be it negative or positive.
Get tested, HIV doesn’t kill anymore, Don’t die of ignorance.
Photo Credit, VanguardNG