I can now confidently say that I have had one irresponsible 2016 and early 2017.
I had a good job which I decided to leave due to a mild case of depression. I had fallen into a dysfunctional behavioural pattern. Having sex with strangers at least once a week, were talking from visiting male sex bars, random hook-ups and the rest were male prostitutes, in all honesty 80 percent of these interactions were unprotected. I was going to gym, looked hot and had money which is what the boys wanted. It never for a second crossed my mind that I was being unsafe.
I had a hole in my heart which I couldn’t understand which lead to drinking and the latter.
It all seemed to be fine and exciting and I didn’t for one second see anything wrong with the sporadic rendezvous. It made me feel relevant, like I mattered and was noticed. I craved for male attention and this was the one way I knew how to get it.
Fast forward to 2018 January after I left my job. Things had changed, where are the boys-wait a minute the money is gone- nowhere to be found. My lifestyle took a dramatic turn and became all silent. Money was running low and I eventually moved back home where I met a guy a week after I arrived, he was monied, intelligent and attractive and I had nothing but my charm and the skill of knowing how to please another man.
I then got him hooked on me, availing myself to him because I knew he was lonely and wanted someone who could be there upon request. I left a minor detail out and this is how we met, which was on a hook-up site and then went on a date the very same day. He drove me home and stayed the night, we had such passionate and another common factor unprotected sex.
We broke up 3 months down the line and a couple of months down the line I got terribly ill where I was in hospital for 2 weeks and diagnosed with HIV. Now that was the interesting part, I never received any counselling, but I accepted at that moment that I am where I am because of my destructive actions and still wanted to live. I did what I needed to do, took my medication (ARVs), had to change my diet and learn to live again.
It isn’t as easy as I make it seem, I had such an amazing support system which God was at the centre of. I read the bible daily, prayed, family, close friends and my spiritual advisor. Notice all the elements which I mentioned are support, positive and I cut out most of the negative. I continued my medication from 17 Aug 2017 till today and I am as healthy and strong as the next person. You cannot tell the difference between me (HIV positive) and an HIV negative person. Sadly, it isn’t that way for everyone because some people have made their HIV status a defining point in their lives, which it doesn’t have to be. They give up, become depressed, don’t take their medication and sadly some end up dead.
I cannot undo the things I have done which have lead me to the current predicament, but I have full control over what becomes of me from today and the remainder of my life. I have a goal right now and that is to be virally supressed when I take my next viral load test but that can only happen if I stay on my treatment.
I look forward to each day of my life now like the next person does, I hope to live for decades to come which I know is possible through the correct behaviour change, ongoing treatment, using a condom when I have sex and the positive mental attitude which I have adopted.
I could have prevented the trauma had I tested sooner and knew my status which means I could have taken better care of myself and possibly have infected less people along the way. I do not have control over that and I’m at peace with it.
I am not one to preach but I cannot only encourage the ones which this might reach to adopt the similar steps if not better and you can continue the life that you had hoped for.
Just so you know, this is the first time I share this with anyone who isn’t close to me and it feels so good to let it out. My body may be doing well but my mind is still recovering from it all, but it gets better each day with every positive step in the right direction.
I hope you make the right choices too. Take care of yourself.
The one trying to make a positive difference one day at a time