So, it is another Monday, my start of Mourn-Days. Is your office not supposed to be a place you joyfully prepare to go to on Mondays? Even if it is only to go and showcase your new shoes, suit or bag? That might be the reason for any other worker but I love my job. I thought I was the luckiest person when I got this job because it was my dream job! I love telecommunication! I love ICT! I spent 8 years in schools studying, preparing. My certificates and previous experiences were the reasons the Human Resource Manager retained me after disclosing my HIV status to him. There was absolutely no Working Place Policy that protected HIV+ workers. Sebi they said Honesty is the Best Policy…so I thought I did the right thing by telling him the truth. I also thought gossip matter na for women but this particular guy told everyone in the office. They all discriminate except for Sisi Aina, she is the reason why I still go to work. Every other person shuns me as if I were an evil communicable disease. The worst is whenever I get the flu, they all wear face masks to talk to me, and some, gloves to get things from me…it is as bad as that.
I did not get HIV because I was a slut. No! I was never slutty and can never be. I made a foolish mistake because I was careless and blinded by “lolf!” We were told to be faithful with our “faithful” partners and most people rule out the use of condoms when it comes to “their faithful partners,” so did I. I mean, Gboyega was so lovely, down-to-earth and a lover of the word. I was not even attracted to him because of his good looks, the other attributes got me. We fell in love and gave in to our burning desires three months into the relationship, se we no try? I normally wouldn’t have done it but I was so in love…I swear Gboyega was the only guy who had seen me naked up till this very moment. Most young people get HIV from the ones they trusted the most. If you are not sure over and over again about his/her status, please, I take my mama head beg you, no do, no do o. Gboyega didn’t know he had it too but he blamed me the moment I told him to go get tested, #shakingmyhead. I wouldn’t have known too, it was my Uncle who acted as my angel. I was feeling ill and I went to the hospital, he was a Medical Doctor, I tested negative to Malaria parasite, immediately, my Uncle demanded I get an HIV test. I went bananas with him, why would he be that pessimistic? “I don’t sleep around!” I barked, “oh, but have you slept before?” He shot back, I dodged the question for five minutes, “have you ever had sex before?” He shouted and it sent fear triggers all over my body. And there was that look, the look that can make the devil repent of his ways. “Once,” I nodded my head in shame. He did not raise a finger of judgement, not even a look of contempt. He filled out a form for me and I took it to the lab. I don’t know why he is always right, he tells patients their problems after listening to them talk about their symptoms. He is really a great and gifted Doctor.
After answering all the questions Gboyega and I should have asked ourselves, the lab attendant pinched my thumb and blood trickled. The blood was spotless, HIV+less, I thought. My mind was not even with the Doctor who asked the Post-Test questions, I guessed; he got my attention after asking me what I would do if I were positive. “God forbid!” I answered, so sure my Uncle was wrong for asking me to take the test. “Miss Temitope Folarin,” the Doctor started as he looked from the A4 Result in his hands into my eyes, “there are lots of support groups in our facility here and no one is alone as living with HIV is not the end of life…” “No!” I let out a sharp cry as I covered my ears to stop myself from hearing the rest of the statement. You know how people begin to cry after the Doctor’s opening speech of, “we tried our best and we are sorry but…” That was the same with me.
It’s been five years and I am okay, no lele but my boss is making my life a living hell by trying to steal my dream away from me. I would have left but I did not want to take that big risk of leaving certainty for uncertainty. They make me suicidal at that office and I so do not feel like going anymore. I have forgiven myself of my past mistake but they keep reminding me of it.
#SayNoToDiscrimination #SayNotoPoorWorkPlacePolicy #SayNotoPremaritalSex
Get Informed. Get Protected.
Dr. Folarin Temitope