Sometime ago a young man was sent to see me in my office. I meet with him, he was looking so depressed and frustrated I asked how I may help him. He then told me that he suspects that he is infected with HIV virus, then I tried to find out from him how he came about his presumption. He informed me that he is a married man with three kids and he was transferred to the northern part of Nigeria from the south to work for a period.
Sometime in the month of February 2015 he had unprotected sexual intercourse with a lady in the north and again with the same lady in the month of March 2015. They both went for the HIV test and the lady tested positive to the virus. He was quite petrified and thinks that he too was already carrying the virus because he was having some form of symptoms, but I had to explain the meaning of the Window Period and Post Exposure Prophylaxes (PEP). I also referred him to the clinic where I access my treatment from; he was placed on ARV for 30 days and was asked to come back for another HIV test in 3 months' time and for another in 6 months.
But before all of this, the guy never give me a breathing space but I am glad when he told me that everything I told him was exactly the same things he heard from the doctor and counsellor accentuated.
The second case for me which also occurred in the same week was a married woman who was referred to me by her friend who is one of my neighbours in the estate where I domicile in Lagos. The woman in question requested for an appointment with me because I was featured on a documentary that aired on National Television.
She found a pack of ARVs in her house and took it to a doctor who told her what the drugs are meant for, she passed-out immediately after she was informed. The hospital had to dial the last number she called on her cell-phone which luckily turned out to be her elder sister. By the time she was revived, they decided to find out from her husband what he was doing with the drugs. As soon as he was asked, he just busted out into tears uncontrollably, owned up to the fact that he was the one using the drugs and that he was sorry for keeping that kind of sensitive information to himself without letting his wife know.
Her elder sister immediately advised her to walk out of the marriage and sought my professional experience to counsel the woman. It was very challenging situations for everyone involved but at the end of the day my sharing was able to do some work and she went for the HIV test too.
I was discouraged about the men involved in these two cases because of the audacity they had to hide such a big issue from their spouses, when we knew the risks involved by exposing their spouses to unprotected sexual intercourse and the high possibility of transmitting the virus to them. There actually are no "Risky Persons" but rather "Risky Behaviours" that put people at the risk of contracting HIV. There is a great need for us to scale up on PrEP and more awareness and education around PrEP and PEP among our communities.
I was in a chat with my cousin and I had a long chat for over two hours. He asked me lots of questions about HIV/AIDS and its related disease, he wanted my advice for one of his close friend who spent so much funds in accessing the HIV treatment.
One thing he said at the end of our conversation is that he wish he had been chat with me on the issue long ago before now. He was able to talk about his fear of going for the HCT and we discoursed the window period of HIV. It was quite fulfilling and still is for me to have to inform, enlighten and educate people on HIV/AIDS. I guess it's one of the things that drives my passion as a person.