I’m not a writer but today I met a couple and I feel compelled to share their beautiful story. This is a love story between a HIV-discordant couple, what I mean is one person is HIV positive while the other is not. The woman in this case is the positive one. She was diagnosed to be retroviral positive accidentally after a very serious illness where she had to be admitted in the hospital for a while. She was devastated by the news, she didn’t know how she got it, she was always a good girl, never promiscuous. She had a fiancé at that time, they’ve been going out for a while now and the wedding date had been set. She was in a dilemma, should she tell her fiancé about her status? How will he take the news? Will he leave her? She was in her late twenties, she couldn’t start afresh she didn’t have the luxury of time. These were her fears. She however summoned courage one day and told him about her status. Her fiancé was shocked; he couldn’t imagine being married to someone with HIV, the disease with no cure! He broke off their engagement and ran away, well not literarily but he cut all contact with her for weeks. She was devastated, she regretted telling him, she hated herself for being so flawed, tainted. To her surprise he came back few weeks later, he said he could not imagine his life without her, they would find a way to make it work and they did. They went to see the hospital to see a doctor who educated them and counselled them on what and what they must do. Fast forward to the future, they’ve been happily married for almost 10years now with 3children. Her husband and her children are retroviral negative and she is as healthy as she can be. Her family knows about her status but her husband’s family to date don’t know about it, he never told his family because he knew it would change their attitude towards his wife. Never has he mentioned it to her whenever they quarrel, it hasn’t changed his feelings for her, in fact he has become more caring. He reminds her to take her drugs, he accompanies her to the HIV clinic… This is what true love is. I was almost moved to tears at the end of this story, this woman is so lucky to find someone who loves her so. There are however some lessons to be learnt from this story:
Never keep secrets if you’re in a relationship, it is human to be selfish and just cover it up just so you can be happy but I can assure you that if her husband found out after they had gotten married, the marriage won’t have lasted.
Another lesson is that anyone who truly loves you will accept you for who you are…flaws and all. No one is perfect, everyone has secrets; if he/she walks away, they never truly loved you anyway.
This is more on HIV awareness, being HIV positive is not a death sentence, you can still live a normal, long, happy life. There is no cure for HIV but there are antiretroviral drugs that can suppress viral replication, reduce the viral load and limit the course of the disease. You can also get married to a HIV negative person and have children who are also negative. All you need to do is to ensure that you are consistent in taking your necessary medications, see your doctor regularly and you will be fine. In fact, HIV drugs are free so you have no excuse for not being on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) if you’re HIV positive.
For those who are HIV negative, do not stigmatize, and don’t treat those who are HIV positive as lesser humans or as being monsters. Put yourself in their shoes, most of them are already in a dark place, spread love and not hate.
Coincidentally, valentine day is just around the corner. I want this to be the last thing you take with you: love conquers all. If you’ve ever been disappointed before, I hope this story makes you believe in love again.
By Aroso Bidemi