Hi guys, it’s Lady P, your email buddy. I here once again, bringing you true life stories of people and their experiences with sexually transmitted infections.
As you know, we are gradually getting to the end of the year. Something we’d really want you to start the New Year with is making a little bit more effort in being more conscious of your health, especially your sexual safety. Testing yourself and your partner to confirm your status and theirs. Test with our Slide Safe pack. But don’t stop there. Stay away from unprotected sex. You can have a sex life that is free from STD and unnecessary worry by always having a Slide Safe pack on you always. After you’ve got your pack, then come back and read Tahir Suleiman’s story.
We didn’t know much about HIV
“HIV was not really known to us in Kwara state, because of the low educational exposure we have here. A lot of us prefer learning trades. However, with my little knowledge and exposure, the only information I could gather about HIV was that it can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. I never knew that sharing personal objects like razor blade, nail clippers, hair clippers and sewing needles can cause one to be infected with HIV.”
“November 2016, I remember vividly. That was when I found out I had HIV. Who knows how long I have lived with it before the discovery. Some health workers in corper uniform came to the local government area where I reside and said they wanted to carry out a screening exercise on us. So unsuspectingly I did the test. I was not even scared because people who did their test before me had smiles on their face after being told their result.
Then it got to my turn. I did not expect anything different. Few minutes after they put my blood on the strip, I noticed the expression on one of the Lady’s face (their leader). I never thought it was my result that had caused the change in her facial expression. Maybe she was unhappy about something. Then she asked me to come closer so that she would reveal my test results. I did as instructed.”
News that changed my life
“After the normal post testing counselling she did for everyone, she then told me, ‘Mr. Suleiman, your test showed two lines and this means you may be HIV positive. But we have to do 2 more tests to confirm the result.”
It felt like my world had shattered. I told her she was making a mistake and that she had to do another test immediately. I didn’t mind if she had to extract all my blood. She told me she would rather not, so as not to raise suspicion.
The following day, I met with the lady. We went to their main centre in Ilorin town. I did the remaining 2 tests and the result still showed that I am HIV positive. I can’t begin to describe how I felt. I got counselled, did series of test and then I started receiving my ante-retroviral treatments.”
“There is nothing much to say on regrets, just the fact I did not know there are more than one way to contract this disease. In all my 14 years of marriage, I have never cheated on my wife and so I am sure I did not contract it by sleeping around. I also don’t know if my wife is HIV positive because we had intercourse on several occasions before I found out about my status. If she is, I don’t know if she infected me or I did to her.”
“What is trust? Trust is when you totally believe someone or something but as for me, I find it difficult to trust anybody now. If you have the ability to trust someone, then you can go ahead. But be sure to know that they are not sleeping around.”
If I had a 16 year old
“Now that I know the importance of education, my 16 year old must be properly educated so that they won’t be ignorant like me. I would advice that they should never share sharp objects with anyone not even their closest friends. Also when they old enough and ready for marriage, they must insist on testing their partner for all the available sexually transmitted infections.”
Final words from Lady P
Every viral infection has more than one means by which one can contract it. Unprotected sexual intercourse especially with multiple partners is a gateway pass for being infected. The virus is mostly found in every fluid of its host. By fluid I mean; blood, vaginal and penile secretions, saliva, sweat, and breast milk. So once anyone comes in contact with any infected fluid, the chances of being infected is high.
Most times, people unknowingly come in contact with this contaminated fluid. The best way to handle this is by regular testing to be sure you are STD free. Don’t forget to test your partner. We can’t overemphasize the importance of testing before symptoms show up. Don’t be Uncle Thomas. Get tested to be sure. Out of 10 people who gets tested, only 1 is most likely to be positive
Note we had to re-edit this mail for readability, due to so many errors and grammatical blunders