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AIDS aid!

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Today is world AIDS day but unlike breast cancer awareness nobody seems to be making a fuss. In fact apart from one or two people mentioning it, everyone else went about business as usual.
   I heard about Paul Walker’s death today (No he didn’t die of AIDS). He was a talented actor and damn fine. May his soul rest in peace. I digress I am sorry but death is always such a shocking experience and the truth is that even though most of us have no clue about when we are going to die, the person living with AIDS feels like he or she is sitting on a ticking time bomb. This disease still doesn’t have a cure, not even a vaccine and yet you still hear people saying “Baby I prefer skin on skin!” (Hellooooooo? Like seriously?)
Contrary to delusional belief, there are more people living with HIV around you than you think and some of them are angry with the world, others are unaware that they have it or even living in denial. Most of them are not bad people, just unfortunate and for the self righteous lot who associate HIV with promiscuity, GOOGLE is your friend! There are other non-sexual ways of contacting HIV. Protect yourselves and the ones you love.
    And if you are living with HIV, don’t lose hope. At this point how you caught the virus is immaterial. What’s important is that you remain healthy, happy and free to live your life without any social or moral prejudice. There’s always a reason to be thankful. Here are five things I would recommend because virus or not, life is too short to be wallowing in sorrow.
1. Take your drugs. They are easily accessible and relatively cost free.Even if you are believing God for your healing taking your drugs does not demean your faith in any way.
2. Get periodic medical check ups. HIV predisposes a person to a lot of other secondary infections. Don’t take anything for granted even cuts and bruises
3. Join a support group. There are more HIV support groups than you think. Find one online if you are too shy to attend one in your neighborhood. A burden feels lighter when shared. If there isn’t any, try to make friends with some of the other patients at your clinic.
4. Get busy. Get a job. Thankfully most companies are not allowed to discriminate against staff who have the disease and in your spare time do something that will make the world a better place. Volunteer at a charity organization or help out someone in need. It’s been proven that helping others makes you feel less helpless.
5. Don’t deliberately put someone else at risk. The person may deserve to share in your pain or the person may even be someone you are emotionally attached to whom you know cannot handle the truth but infecting someone else won’t make you whole or happier.

And for the rest of you who are HIV negative or don’t even know your status here are some facts
1. Get tested. Because you were negative last month doesn’t mean you will be negative forever. Every time you have unprotected sex you expose yourself to everyone your partner has ever had unprotected sex with
2. Check your lifestyle. You are not untouchable, be careful
3. Do not discriminate. You are not better than the people living with HIV, time and chance happens to us all and some of them may even outlive you.
4. Skin on skin is a bad idea, condoms don’t cost much and unless you are sure your partner is 100% faithful, protect yourself if not ABSTAIN
5. Be thankful. That you are alive. That you are in good health. That you have troubles you are able to bear.

Today is WORLD AIDS DAY but it’s also the start of the last month of the year, start this brand new month with a brand new lease on life, get tested! Let’s spread the love and not the virus and hopefully 2014 will bring with it a cure for the virus.

Peace and love.
RIP PAUL WALKER (you will be missed)
xoxoxo
Miz Chutzpah

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Posted by on December 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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True Love vs Fairytale Love

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I have many hats in my little bag and on days like this I get to wear two. I had just been on the phone with a heart-broken patient (names changed to protect their identities). Amanda had been diagnosed with HIV a year ago following a shady blood transfusion at one of the private hospitals in Lagos. This had to have been the most terrifying period of her life but she survived the ill health, the drug side effects and the stigma from family members and after a protracted sick leave returned back to work. None of her colleagues was the wiser. They treated her the same and seeing that my dear patient was successful, smart and very beautiful she had an army of interested menfolk wanting to make her their Mrs. She made a conscious effort to ward off any advances even though she admitted that every night she still cried unto God to give her a good husband. She wasn’t very hopeful because the average Nigerian man would never willingly marry a HIV positive woman and likewise. Then along came Emeka. Emeka was a dream and soon despite her steely exterior he began to affect her and that was when I got the first phone call. She wanted to know when was the best time to tell a suitor that she had HIV and more importantly HOW to break the news. She was convinced she would be judged, abandoned and worse still, the news of her status would be spread abroad by her suitor leaving her with a stigma she wouldn’t be able to shake off. She was in a dilemma, I was in a dilemma. Seriously nothing in med school prepares you to be able to give this sort of advice. I told her to follow her instincts, be sure his love was genuine before sharing her secret and most of all, not expose him to the virus in anyway. At this point, I would like to say categorically that you cannot catch HIV by hugging, kissing, sharing toilets or cooking utensils or by sleeping together on a bed!

 
Amanda started dating Emeka without informing him of her status. She said she tried several times but just couldn’t. Emeka sensed she was hiding something and kept bugging her while assuring her of his unconditional love. He began to hint about marriage and Amanda realized time had run out. Most churches in Nigeria require a HIV test before they conduct the ceremony. Amanda under a lot of duress broke the news to Emeka. Emeka’s first reaction was fear, his second unfortunately was rejection and the rest is history. Emeka wanted a fairytale not the harsh reality he was presented with.   Before you start defending him and preaching about why self-preservation is key, let me tell you about the eye-opening experience I had at a missionary hospital. I was on a one month posting to the hospital and I saw a lot of families, some having up to six children attending the special clinic they ran. At the clinic the most common demographic were families comprising of one HIV positive patient and his/her HIV negative spouse and children. The clinic staff provided support and counselling for couples who had one HIV positive partner and ensured they and their families lived a healthy life without transferring the virus. So YES it is very possible and you may ask yourself what made these HIV negative people stick it out with their partners and even marry them and have children together. According to Lionel Ritchie, ‘They call it, we call it, you call it, I call it love…♥♥♥’  

So now the question to ask yourself is how deep is your love? How much can it take? Many people just want the fairytale wedding along with the fairytale tall, dark (or extremely yellow), slim, good-looking and very rich spouse. Unfortunately the number of people in the world who fit that description is very small compared to the average looking, 99 problems, struggling to make ends meet populace that abounds. No wonder so many women and men are crying out for a spouse. They all have the same expectations for a spouse and the supply of this particular breed of perfect homo sapiens can never meet the demand.   So is your love the stuff that real life happy endings are made of or is it as flighty as our beloved fairytales? Would you marry a HIV positive person? Or maybe someone who was blind, mute, deaf or without arms or legs? Would you marry a person with vitiligo or albinism? Would you marry someone scarred by accidents or burns? Some of you wouldn’t even date a fat, seemingly unattractive person much less one with heart disease or a grim diagnosis or even someone with sickle cell genotype. Would you marry a broke dude or a woman who couldn’t have children? I can hear the loud ‘Olorunmaje!!!’  

People who do not conform to the world’s idea of beautiful are usually the most beautiful of souls. Warm, kind, funny, amidst their suffering they have developed strength and the grace to laugh at their condition and reachout to others. Under the layer of imperfection is a soul and a spirit no different from yours and when you talk to the wonderful people who have chosen unconditional love and married someone who the world would have otherwise scorned, they seem genuinely happy with their choices, seeing a depth that is incomprehensible to the keenest of eyes.  What is the guarantee that your hubby or perhaps wifey, the perfect one you married will not lose his/her job,  health, money, position, property, figure or looks after marriage? What would happen to your fairytale then? Adversity develops character and unfortunately most people with seemingly perfect lives have never really had the chance to develop their inner man so what happens when they are stripped of everything? Nobody yearns for misfortune but time and chance happens to them all. Today I urge you to ditch the fairytale love affairs the same way you swapped Disney cartoons for blockbuster movies and embrace the imperfections and endurance that make true love what it is. Remember that beneath the bleached skin, Brazilian hair, red lips, designer clothes, money bags, six packs and baby face lies the person you will be waking up to for the rest of your life. Remember that pedigree does not mean he will respect you, wealth does not mean he will be kind to you, education does not equate faithfulness and looks do not guarantee fine children!  

Have a great day chutzpah fam, Xoxoxoxo 🙂

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2013 in Relationships

 

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