The Fear of HIV test
I have never seen myself as one who would just walk into a hospital and ask to be tested for HIV, but on this day, it was not the hospital, in fact i never had it in mind to get tested for HIV.
It was the final year of my undergraduate studies and UNN decided to do an HIV awareness program in PAA (Princess Alexandra Auditorium). There were going to be lots of theatrical performances, songs, teachings, and several departmental appearances, but what I did not know was that there would be a free HIV test. I can not really remember the month but I know my group DPI, had a song rendition/drama presentation, and I had to sing; actually I and Uchechi were the lead singers until Uchechi decided to make me start before joining(badt girl).
We had lots of rehearsals, and when the day came, we dressed so fine and headed to the hall.
On getting to the hall, I saw a banner that read “Free HIV test”!
Mtchewwww wetin concern me? I totally ignored, I just told myself ” I did not do anything”.
Passed it and entered the hall.
Got to the Hall quite early so I could witness everything. The hall was so beautiful(PAA is a fine place); busy ushers dropping order of events on the chairs, slim girl taking pictures near the AC, people with heavy makeup fanning their faces (when program never start)…
I called my lecturer to know if he was on his way and he asked me to wait.
I stood observing for a while then notice the people who would be testing people, sitted, and smiling on the left.
A lot of pamphlets on their table and cotton wool.
None of my business y’all.
The program finally started and everyone was present. All DPI members were present and I sat close to Uchechi near AC. We listened to several talks and sermons from different H.O.Ds and top lecturers. What’s my own? I was just thinking of performance and when they’ll call us, yabbed a few people with Uchechi and Agbo and tried to memorize lines.
Final year was very excruciating for me, and this made me look so small, dark, and unhealthy (story for another day).
After plenty plenty talk, Ikuku (my lecturer) gave us the cue to go prepare as we would be presenting next. I went for the mic as I would be singing the stay alive song (a HIV song by styl-plus)before the main performance. After singing to the front, Agbo came and took the mic from me before I left through the back door.
I had to turn round to enter the hall through the main entrance. On getting there, see my departmental guys standing close to the HIV test area. On seeing me, they (especially Gideon) started shouting “Wendy Wendy come and do test”
I just told them I’m not doing because I know I’m negative. Gideon stopped me and begged me to do the test, that even if I’m negative I should just collect the condom and give him because he needs it.
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“Gideon abeg leave me I, I no dey do HIV test till I wan marry”
“Wendy abeg just collect am give me, I just need like 10”.🤦♀️
For everyone who got tested, they gave 2 condoms free just in case your water pass your garri.
I never even make up my mind finish o, Gideon still dey beg…see this lady, lepa, from nowhere o, she was one of the people who tested students “Fine girl come and do the test, it won’t hurt. You live in the hostel, right? You don’t know if you have it or have gotten it from combs, or blades or manicure set…there’s no harm in trying, the only way to be sure is to get tested”…🙄🙄🙄
Who is this bikonu?
I started checking who I have shared comb and blade with from first year till final year, let me not lie I started panicking that I might actually have this thing. I’ve only shared bed with Chinyere, chinenye, Oluchi, Debby, Tina, Tessy, Stephanie…i don’t wear anybody’s pant…abi is the blade that cut me in second year? Abi is it Chinyere’s needle that chook me? But blood did not come out na. Even the nail that chook me in the department did not bleed na…
My mind traveled everywhere. This lady was preaching and my mind was traveling, I started to sweat.
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Finally, Gideon agreed to escort me to take the test because he has not been tested. I followed Gideon, tracker, and 2 guys like that from my department, and some ladies from other departments.
We queued and I couldn’t talk well. It’s supposed to be an instant thing, like test and know your status in 2 or 3 minutes, so I just wanted to be done with it, collect the condom and give Gideon.
I was the first to be tested out of 8 people on my queue, but my brothers and sisters my own result did not come out in 2 minutes, not even 5; every other person that got tested got their results, all negative even Gideon. 🙄🙄🙄 what is going on here?
I started singing praise and worship inside my mind let me not lie.
To make the matter worse, the lady called me one side and asked to see me, saying she wanted to discuss with me about certain things🙄🙄🙄🙄
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“Certain things that I’m positive abi wetin? Abi you want to counsel me ni?”
Gideon was just waiting one side because his own came out negative to collect condom, I had to ask her “what’s my result ma?”
She just kept on asking me to be patient that my results are not yet out. Why na only me?
She just kept on asking me to calm down
Calm down wetin dey do me?
I just sat down and listened to her educate me on how I should get tested every 3 months! 🙄I just dey look this woman… So na so I turn HIV positive?
Finally! The results came out and I was and still is negative. I just paused, told her thank you ma, God bless you, gave Gideon his condom and went home. No more program, no more HIV awareness, I’m fully aware now.
By: Wendy Joseph
Featured Image: Alere