It’s been four years since I was diagnosed HIV positive. Everything came to a standstill, I felt lost , hurt and angry.
He had cheated on me over and over again, but I chose to turn a blind eye, after all. I wanted marriage, children and cultural respect.
Yes, I wanted to experience that ululation of being welcomed as a muroora (daughter in law) ,I wanted my people to receive that sacred cow, (mombe yechimanda) which showed that I was a virgin when he took me. I had been taught that a woman stands by her man, is submissive and does not question his authority. I wanted to be the perfect wife.
I wanted to have that incredible white wedding, with a designer dress from Kleinfelds. Yes, he could afford it. Money was not an object, I was his number one priority……..or so I thought.
The sex had been incredible,or so I thought because he was my first, my one and only sexual experience.
It never came to pass, he impregnated and married someone else. I only found out about my status when I had moved on and had just gotten engaged for the second time. Fiance number two was understanding at first, we were discordant but we wanted to make it work. Sex was good, we made love and we did our best to be careful and used protection all the time. I came a lot and so did he. Hot sticky white mess.
Six months down the line, he left for Australia, now we all know what happens with distance, time in any relationship and of course the medical examination for a visa. The requirements for a blood sample and how the visa will be denied due to positive status. We fell apart, and it was then that I fell apart completely.
I drank so I could sleep, I drank so I could forget, I drank to numb the pain. Best whiskey, château and whatever it took to get me going, I just drank. For a while it worked,and I wanted to just die, but I was too cowardly to take my own life. I thought about all the people I loved and how hurt they would be but then again if they knew my status would they love me still? I wondered and pondered. I still do actually.
A year later, I got a job working with positive people in various communities. That was my wake up call. Seeing how people lived, continue to love and how they wanted to stay alive for their children, made me realise how selfish I had been. I was there instructing them on safe sex and encouraging them to take antiretroviral drugs religiously. Yes, hypocrisy and denial at the highest level.
I decided to get checked and my cd4 count was way below 350, the alcohol had also started taking its toll on my liver and kidneys. I distinctly remember the doctor shouting at me, asking me if I had a death wish. It was right then that I asked myself, if I wanted to die with no legacy, no kids, no love. I cried and he hugged me but I cried so hard, I had to be sedated.
I know at this point you are all wondering what kind of bedside manner does this doctor have , fraternising with patients like that……..and shouting at them instead of being nice. Well, he was a doctor but he was my friend too.
I have been on medication for the last three years and my life has changed drastically. I stopped drinking for two years, my kidneys and liver are fine. I eat healthy meals and I exercise regularly. I’m not one for the gym, but I do walks and swimming. Discrimination and stigma are still rife in our society, no one cares how you got it, they label you and they make assumptions about your sex life. It can be very very annoying to be in public transport or at a gathering and you hear people talking utter rubbish about someones status. It takes my all to pretend I can’t hear them and to hold my tongue. However, I have made it my mission to keep in touch with clients, provide young adults with good counselling concerning sex. For every unprotected orgasm there is a consequence, be it an unwanted pregnancy, irritating STI or the dreaded HIV.
I have been celibate for three years as well, no kissing or touching , no masturbation. It was a personal choice. At first I felt I didn’t want sex because it made me end up positive. Then I didn’t want sex because I didn’t want to infect anyone else. I used to scrub the toilet and tub after using it, because I just was so afraid someone might catch something. Believe me, educated as I am, I was afraid of all the myths and I thought I would get very sick, thin and get unpronounceable sexually transmitted infections. I never did get them. It is possible to just be HIV positive and be free from all other STI.
It took me a long time to realise that I was discriminating against myself, I was stigmatising myself. I had to go out of that deep dark place and realise that inasmuch as I blamed my first love for all my troubles, I was partly to blame too for not advocating for condom use and for not testing regularly.
I have met a man, who has plenty of his own drama but he is a wonderful friend, aware of my status, can make me squirt each time his lips are on my clit and I had no idea that I could actually do that. Lolest! Even when he suckles my nipples I feel intoxicated.
I’m hesitating a little in letting him into me because I think my hymen grew back…lmao! When we do fuck, adventures will be the first to know.