So, here’s a line I so often, earnestly, honestly and unapologetically use during my counseling sessions… “Being currently unmarried, and given what I know about the virus, its treatment and prognosis following infection, I could actually knowingly marry a HIV positive lady!”. Of course, the reaction I get is often of bafflement, relief and some cynicism.
I’ll assume virtually all of us here on social media have, at the very least, some rudimentary idea of what HIV is, as well as its mode of transmission. So, I will not bore your lovely heads with all that jargon. What I however unfortunately notice and would draw attention to, is that there clearly is a huge lacuna as to the accuracy of our collective knowledge of its prognosis, given the resources available in today’s world.
Hence I thought to share just a little of the current realities the ‘modern day’ HIV infected person faces. And I will give an account in as plain a manner as I can.
So, a person comes for a test, sometimes voluntarily… Other times on the recommendation of a healthcare worker. He/she gets counseling before and after the test. Of course, results could be positive or negative.
For those who turn out positive, following counseling, they are immediately commenced on treatment. Please understand… currently, THERE’S NO CURE FOR HIV INFECTION (any counterclaim is an absolute lie). However, the drugs given have the capacity to suppress the virus to the point it is rendered practically useless. This, in a sense, indicates that this infection would be incapable to removing a single day from a person’s life span.
In fact, there are modalities for monitoring how much of the virus persists in the infected person, and those who are serious with treatment, get to the point where the quantity of virus in the blood is so low, that it’s said to be UNDETECTABLE (Please note that this is not same as being cured, as the virus is still present, but to a very suppressed degree!) Furthermore, those who have attained the status of being UNDETECTABLE are practically incapable of transmitting the virus to others! This has relevance with regard to sexual partner transmissions, mother to child transmission (during pregnancy, breastfeeding or otherwise), etc.
Point being made here is that so many people are living extremely healthy and fulfilled lives even while being HIV positive! This is fact!
Caveat here is that they only are able to live such healthy lives because they are on medication, and they’re only on medication because they know their status!
It begs the question then… Why so much stigma with the whole concept of HIV? Yeah… Treatment is for life, but so is the case for Hypertension and Diabetes. These people are healthy, productive, getting married, having kids who are virus free… Generally living full and happy lives! Again, why the stigma? Why the persecution?
Please, get up, shake yourself off, and get tested. The worst that could happen is that you test positive… So what? There’s very effective and free treatment available… While we hope for an official cure in the shortest possible time.