My journey with HIV has been good, bad and ugly

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I began advocating in 2015. I was born with HIV and I am 27 years old. It has been good, bad, ugly but God is faithful.

I don’t think I have a typical day. My place of work is a shift system and I work on a shift basis. So, basically, I don’t have a typical day because with every shift comes a different schedule.

Virus suppression is basically about taking your (Anti Retro Viral) ARVs; so that the amount of virus in the body is not mutating or replicating itself in your body. All this would happen if one takes the ARVs faithfully.

I am connected with the United Nations Women Beijing plus 25 task force. Also, I am working with World Health Organisation Africa on an initiative called ‘Tea on HIV’ which was launched recently. I am one of the six African youth profiled by WHO Africa.

I take my drugs daily at 10 pm (and I just take one pill). And it is important to stick to your drugs as a person living with HIV because that is the only way you are going to control the HIV virus. Because as you know, the HIV virus mutates, it grows, it replicates itself in the body. And sometimes, when one fails to take his or her medication; it can end up causing drug resistance and can become drug-resistant. That is very important to stay adherent.

When I stopped taking my ARVs; I got what is called treatment fatigue. As much as people say when you take your drugs, you get used to it; it would get to a point you would not just get used to taking your drugs daily.

Doing my advocacy work; what actually gives me hope is that I get to wake up and encourage people out there who are still suffering from self-stigma; who still have disclosure issues; some who are actually afraid of knowing their HIV status; some who know their HIV status but afraid of starting their medication. So, that gives me the hope that if I am encouraging someone out there to use me as an example in their daily life. It keeps me going.

I do live my life. My status does not define me. I want to be remembered. I want to be an icon in this generation that at least I created change; I was a beacon of hope in my generation.

Currently, I am not reading any book. But the previous book I read was Michelle Obama’s Becoming.

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