By Gideon Chukwuemeka Ogbonna
No, you won’t. This AIDS will not kill you. Except you want to let it. So why worry? Why inflict yourself with pain, so much pain? Why boggle your mind with unending questions? You’d say it is easier said than done. I agree. But the world is learning to accept you for who you are. Days when fingers and wary eyes trail your footsteps in the marketplace are receding. The world knows better now. It knows that being positive is not a death sentence. It knows that few years ago, due to the limited therapeutic options, the virus took people in their thousands, but not anymore. It knows that the treatment options now are many – first line, second line, even third line drugs (in some countries).
So why kill yourself by yourself?
Why run away from the hospital where you can get adequate help? Why don’t you adhere to your medications…medications which you got at no cost? Can’t you see how important you are? Can’t you see we don’t want you to leave yet?
I can tell you stories. Many stories. Stories of healthy people that stuck to their medications and lived normal lives for years. The numbers show it – 5 years. 10 years. Even more. Still I can tell stories of people like you wallowing in self-pity and stigmatization. Of a young girl who stopped her drugs because her pastor told her: Sister, prayer and fasting is a better therapy. Of another who hid her status from her family, didn’t adhere to her medications, only to seek help when it was late. There are countless stories of men and women who sacrificed themselves on this altar of self-pity and consequent folly. Don’t be that story. Trust me, you have better days. Dying is not an option.
Now, this is what you will do. You will learn how to breathe, to free your heart from the burden of pain and fear. Learn to think about love – Love for your family. Love for yourself. Waltz into the hospital. Get your drugs. Listen to counsel. Eat healthy. Adhere to your medications. If you believe in healing, stick to your belief, but never stop your medications. Never.
Learn to be free. Fly. Soar.