#WorldAIDSDay2011: Essay competition on HIV/AIDS, vote for your winner now (2)

by Ewone Anthony Eghosakruz.

Category – Fiction.

Title – Grass to Grace.

For years in my local council, seeing me live with HIV/AIDS was still somewhat of a shock and thorn to them. Each time I lost a bit of weight or got a little bit sick, they’d think that it was time for the burial. Modern sensitisation such as ‘CrowdOutAIDS’ was not available and stigmatisation became irresistible.

I Contacted HIV at the age of 20 through a one night stand my first time in the city. He was travelling the next day for a Job interview and we quickly connected then made love. Being 40 now and 24 years on, I still remember the encounter vividly as it was the first and best yet most excruciating time for me.

I got to know about my status 2 months later back in the council through a community awareness programme by the Government. I was encouraged by the then community specialist not to lose hope of life and keep struggling.

Quite sincerely, I’ve harped on those words and been a believer since then.

I managed to finish school in four years and having searched for jobs since then with a recurrent fate of being turned down, at age 29, I decided to become an advocate to help against stigmatisation of HIV/AIDS infected persons as well as give sensitisation on why one can live with it, not knowing it would be the best decision I had ever made.

 After enrolling for training and learning, I was certified to teach and report back developing issues in my community. I went back to my community and swung into action. I taught and counseled young and old people living with the disease and we formed a network.

During one of my reports made to the main health centre in the city, I fell in love again and this time, with an HIV positive man. He too was an advocate and we both loved what we did. We courted for 2 years and got married to the amazement of my uncle and community members who had counted hours, days, and months thinking we would kick the bucket. We lived on the same Antiretroviral drug (ARV) and decided one day to enquire if we could bear a HIV negative child.

The doctor affirmed this and exactly on my 37th birthday, we were blessed with a boy who tested negative even 6 months into his birth.

Today, I’ve got a 3 year old son and a 45 year old husband and we’re living life to its fullest. All we do now is mentor and advocate for the human rights of HIV/AIDS infected persons.

 

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