My throat is swollen, swallowing anything, including saliva, was a painful task. I reported to work as usual that morning, very moody and waiting for the late afternoon when I would walk to the private health facility to tell the doctor I had been visiting on and off for the last six months that once again, the medication he had last prescribed did not work as I was feeling very ill.
I went to the facility in the first place because as the day went by I could abide the pain no more. The nurses welcomed me, but with a face of pity and recommended an HIV test! The first words out of my mouth were; why? Where would I have gotten “it” from? They spent some time trying to convince me that indeed I was showing most of the “symptoms”. Here I was telling myself that surely this is just another of the various tests I had taken prior to this day, including arthritis and rheumatism, and that once done with it we will just test for anything else. I finally agreed to take the test, after negotiating the price for something I could afford as I had literally run out of cash from the various doctor’s visits.
The lab technician drew my blood as he informed me that the results would be out after forty-five minutes. In the back of my mind the thoughts of which other tests I would have to take to diagnose and HIV was obviously not the case!
I took the opportunity of the forty-five minutes to lay on the doctor’s examination table and take a nap. I was roused up by the sound of the doctor being informed by one of the nurses that I had taken the test. I went up and seated in front of him and demanded him what else we can test for? He told me I had made a smart decision but I heeded him again what else we can test for?
The laboratory technician came in with a brown envelope in his hand; the results. The doctor opened the envelope and removed a sheet of paper in A4 size and immediately said “I do not like the results of this test”! Confused, I grabbed the sheet of paper from him and tried to read it but I could not. One of the symptoms I was experiencing was the loss of my eyesight hence I could not read the small print clearly without strain.
The doc said
“Jacque the test outcomes are positive”.
I demanded from him what that entailed, and where I would have acquired it and why? He talked to me for hours, back and forth with questions he found difficult to serve, like; is AIDS from Satan or from God??
Fortunately for me he took time to try and explain about HIV and AIDS and how it is transmitted with emphasis on how one can live a normal healthy life with HIV if on medication, a good diet and keeping physically fit.
Taking all of that information in one go. Those words stayed in my head as I headed home in shock and clamoring in the dark as I experienced blurred vision.
What lay ahead of me? What would other people think? Who would take care of my children? What will my Father say?