I have been living with HIV for fifteen years.
There was a girl who came into my life. She had another boyfriend with whom she was in love but, whenever she fought with him, she would come to me and tell me, “I have left him.” Finally, one day she came to me and said, “I have cut all ties with my boyfriend. Will you come and ask my parents for my hand in marriage?”
It was her birthday and I took her a cake and a nice dress. After a while her boyfriend and his father came in and began engagement proceedings of their own. Right in front of me, they cut my cake, she had come wearing my dress, they were offering the engagement cake to her boyfriend, and I was watching.
I was so shocked that I didn’t want to live anymore. I began to drink and started to live very carelessly. I lost my common sense and began to visit sex workers. One day I fell very ill and I was admitted to the hospital. That’s how I found out I was HIV-positive.
I felt that I was going to die. People from church who came to my home to visit me—the way they looked at me was very wrong.
Over time, my desire to live slowly returned. After visiting the jaws of death twice, and returning from that, I realized the value of life and how it is often wasted. Now I have a wife and children, and my dream of doing social work is a reality. My wife is an HIV-positive person and my good friend. I met her at the NGO (non-governmental organization) where we were working together. Since then, my life has become more colorful. I have a guru who says that only when we accept ourselves will other people accept us.
Although I was scared, with the support of my friends and family, and only because of that support, I am standing here today. HIV has not killed me. For those people who are scared or who are keeping their illness a secret, I tell them to come forward, get tested, accept who they are, and keep their family and country safe.