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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Test

Here, I share with you my own personal experience when my wife and I had to take the HIV test three years ago.

The Pastor made it very clear to us that, as a prerequisite, we had to go for a HIV test before we got married. The results of the test would determine whether the church would marry us off or not. If either of us tested HIV positive, then, that would mean the end of the journey to conjugal bliss.

That was three weeks to the publishing of the banns. Never had there been a harder time in our lives than at that very time. The task that we had to accomplish was almost daunting.

Our minds were abuzz trying to figure out our pasts: had we slipped in our earlier trysts? And if so, had we contracted the HIV virus? What would happen if the tests confirmed our worst fears?

After lengthy deliberations, we decided that taking the test was the only way of either confirming or allaying our fears.

The next day we headed to a Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) centre that was in town. We were received cordially, and, after the preliminaries, we were ushered into a room where a counsellor was waiting for us.

I’ll never forget the cold chill that ran down my spine when I entered the room. I felt like a cow that had entered an abattoir. My face was flushed and my lips felt dry. I tried to compose myself to no avail. The feeling I had could only be equated to the feeling of an accused man feeling guilty before being pronounced so.

With a warm smile, the counsellor led us through the counselling session which included questions posed at us and explanations she gave for the questions we asked her.

Then came the question: “Are you ready for the test?” My wife-to-be and I exchanged glances and, almost in unison, we said, “Yes.”

We were led to a room that was adjacent to the office. This was the ‘testing room’. Blood was removed from the big veins in the crooks of our arms. Then we were told to wait in reception while the tests were made and results processed.

The fifteen minutes in reception were an eternity to me. There were a number of magazines on the table. I took one of them in the pretext of reading but in real sense it was to camouflage the fact that my mind was in turmoil. All manner of wild ideas and thoughts were doing their rounds in my head.

“What if I am found to be HIV positive, what will become of my life? What will come of my wedding bid? What will people say and how will my parents take it?” My head was spinning. My mate was going through the same motions.

When our names were mentioned we jumped up in unison almost leaving our hearts on the seats! The counsellor, with two spring files in her hands, led the way into her office. We followed suit, our steps almost faltering.

Once inside the office, she asked us to be seated. With a disarming smile playing on her lips, she told us that she had the results. Our hearts missed a beat.

With the precision of a marksman, she opened the two files and looked into them. At the back of our minds we knew that the contents of the files held the key to our fate.

She looked at us and, as she was about to say something, she stopped and cleared her throat. Was that hesitation? We felt the air in our lungs being forced out.

“Both of you are HIV negative. You don’t have the HIV virus. Here, have a look at the results.”

For a split second we could not believe our ears. Then we stood up, with tears of joy coursing the breadth of our cheeks, hugged each other and thanked the counsellor profusely.

As she handed us our result certificates (the key to our marital bliss and ‘happily-ever-after’ story), she quipped, “These results are very different from the ones that show academic qualifications. You can depend on your academic certificates to open doors for you tomorrow i.e. the qualifications don’t change. The certificates show the skills you have acquired. The results you have received today, on the other hand, can change at the flash of lightning if you don’t take care of yourselves.”

Read this poem that encapsulates the advice of a grandmother to her carefree grandson who does not care two hoots about Aids.

You can contact me at this Email Address.

11 comments:

Taabu said...

Nice one Ritch. AIDS is REAL and we either accept that fact, measure up and own up or PERISH. Each one of use is either AFECCTED or INFECTED with the scourge. Only behaviourial change will see us through this calamity. We have all heard about this but must repeat the obvious lest we all perish collectively.

That said, those already affected and infected need us too. AIDS is no longer the death sentence it used to be. You can be positive, live positively and contribute in life and country as any other. But RESPONSIBILITY is the key. We are it together. Wheteve little you can do to spread the message please do and save the humankind in general and motherland in particular.

Proud Kikuyu Woman said...

You reminded me of that eternal moment you are waiting to know the results, and everything that goes on in your mind-why you came here in the first place, what will happen if you are HIV+, will you still do the same things that made you come here?? When I went slightly more than 2 years ago, they let you know how to read the 'HIV metre'. Like if the blood has gone beyond this line, you are negative, if it hasn't you are positive, if its at this point, the results are null and void, so we have to repeat the test.
I found my counselor to exceptionally skilled at her counseling job. She said I should pursue my dreams no matter what. Because HIV/AIDS is moving from the death sentence it was some time ago to a manageable chronic illness. That's part of the reason I think the Church should marry couples, if they so wish, even if one of them is HIV+. To make or not to make babies, that is another issue.
Has anyone been able to make their relatives take the test? Not me. They'd rather not know. Your opinion?

salf said...

Test for AIDS! With all the VCTs, am yet to find my way into one. I think if most people are like me, we have cared less to know our status. But thanx to the one who posted this experience. About whether church should wed +VEs, i leave that to the persons who are wedding. But I know the church's stand not to wed +ve people is a great deterent for most youth in church frm engaging in promiscous behaviour.

MARIANNE BRINER said...

TO pROUD kIKUYU WOMAN: I AM GLAD YOU WROTE THIS - IF YOU REALLY DID BECAUSE I STILL DOUBT - BUT JUST IN CASE: DO YOU KNOW NOW HOW I FELT AFTER THAT 'JEFFK KOINANGE ENCOUNTER' ............. ???????

i KNOW, SOME PEOPLE WILL JUST LAUGH 'DESERVES HER RIGHT' .... BUT LET ME ASSURE TOU, I DON'T WISH ANYBODY AND NOT EVEN MY WORSE ENEMISES THOSE DAYS AND WEKKS OF NOT KNOWING IF YOU RECEI8VE YOUR DEATH SENTENCE OR NOT .... AND EVEN WORSE - LIKE IN MY CASE - WHEN THAT SEXUAL INTERCOURSE WAS DONE BY FORCE ........ BY A MAN CAKLLED JEFF KOINANGE ......

Vikii said...

MB, are you ok?

Story ya VCT ni ngori. Hapo hakuna debate. Ushawahi cheki msee amechizi? I have a little brother who was trying to get an australian visa some time back. Those guys from that side are kinda retarded coz they insist that u cant get a student visa bila hiyo test. Bro wa mine alikuwaga kadinyaa si uongo. He thought of talking to a doctor friend of ours to cook results but then they told him it was the high commission that decides who conducts the test.So unado nini? Unafikiria. Lil bro told me he had hacked the shit-----Go to the pub, take like 24 bottles of tusker and head straight to their damn testing centre. The idea was to get that much needed courage. That worked and the little boy was given a clean bill of health. The following morning, I headed to the same local pub and by 3 ocklock, nilikuwa VCT. Haikuwa mbaya sana. Now you know where to get the strength.

Ritch, keep up the good work bro. You are the freaking bomb. Taabu comes second with EPL analyses. You two are the automatic winners of Vikii's "Quality posting" award.

Kalamari, Phil and Chris MUST go to the VCT. We call it leading by example.

chris said...

Vikii my brother,

I notice with concern that you have left out Luke "observing evonomic growth" and many other Kumekucha brothers. I also notice that Kalamari, Phil and I are being "punished" for our poor posts.

Ni sawa lakini I also suggest that before we move any further that you (Vikii) post your Aids Free certificate from a reputable VCT here in this blog (lead by example-your own words). And from somewhere where we can easily verify its' authenticity.

Have a nice day.

-Kumekucha-
P.S. Does Aids have an incubation period approaching 2 decades? That is the only thing that would justify a test for me and my Kiuk beauty.

Phil said...

Chris, which poor posts are you talking about. The essence here is to teach each other. Let them post their quality ones - dont they have the same access and your e-mail address? And why keep commenting, only to keep mum when kroll report is leaked?

About the VCT test, it is a real problem to many people. Less than 10% of the population know their status. To limit the test to people who intend to marry is a bit naive considering the many come-we-stays and babies being born out of wedlock.

The suggestion has been, and Barrack Obama proved it, let our leaders beginning with the entire national assembly take public tests; so as to encourage the rest of the population.

The church is only concerned about the children who will be rendered orpharns a few years after marriage. How about those who do not get married, or those who got married ages ago na bado wana mangana inje? How about those drug addicts who recycle hypodermic needles? How about our own medical staff who run the risk of contracting the disease fromt heir patients? Rape victims?

Ritch, thanks for this, at least we know how it goes.

Vikii said...

I didnt crucify you guys for 'poor' posts. I only recommended that you go for a test. looks to me like Phil already knows his status. Its very probable that Phil is HIV positive.

Phil, u surely do not understand me. About two days ago, there was a post on tribalism by Sue (It got like 20 something responses) Days before it, there was another one by Chris on why Raila will lose in Lang'ata, i didnt respond to either. I just do not talk about things I dont know.

And by the way Phil, I am in ODMK. None of the leaders there was implicated in the Kroll report. It was your party, ODM, which was very well represented in the Kroll report by chairman Kosgei and people like Joshua Orwa Ojodeh.

Are you going for the test?

ritch said...

I should thank you guys for being there to read and comment on what is posted on this blog. You make my day. Chris, Vikii, Phil, Sue, MB, PKW, Tabuu and the rest, you are just gems! Cheers.

ritch said...

I should thank Chris for allowing us guys to be part of the great Kumekucha family.

Proud Kikuyu Woman said...

Thanks Ritch.
MB, sorry the HIV/AIDS debate did not take the turn you wanted-your MB:JK saga. You and 'Chris' should definitely bring that back and all we will be talking about is YOU, MB.

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