HIV/AIDS Positive Living And Love Life

14-April-2012

My name is George Olong, 30 years old, and am from the remote region of Northern Uganda, a district called Oyam, Awangi village.
I want to share this touching story of mine that I have gone through. It’s a story of love, betrayal, and AIDS. It’s about my encounter with the deadly disease that everybody knows today as AIDS.
The purpose of sharing this story is to call upon all those people who are HIV positive to be OPEN in their love lives. It doesn’t mean that if you have AIDS no one can love you. Love is derived from the heart and once someone has loved you when you have opened up to him or her about your status, then that person will still love you.
In January 2009, I got a job with Security Group in Jinja as a security Guard. I was stationed at Kiira Dam at the Owen falls dam. My task involved manning the access control at the Main entrance to the dam and carrying out any other security measures needed.
Having worked there for about 3 months, I was taken to guard UBA bank, located along Alice Mulokyi Road in Jinja town. I worked there for about seven months and as I was getting to fit myself in my new place. I thought of now renting a room; all along I was basing at our office since I was working strictly at night and therefore showed no need to rent. My monthly salary was 120,000USH roughly about 50 dollars.
While at the bank in around August, a lady approached me and introduced herself to me as Anne Maria and told me that she needed help, her purse had been stolen and she could not reach her place and so she wanted me to assist her with some money to take her home. Seeing her and the way she talked, I decided to help her out, I gave her the transport money she needed even if I did not know her, she told me she would refund  back my money, and as a result she picked my number to assure me she is going to pay me the money I had given her.
Few days later, she started communicating with me and we became friends, never did it down on me that this would not just be a friendship but rather a start of something that would lead to a birth of a human being.
Maria invited me to her place in Njeru, which was about 4kms away from town. I didn’t give her any response that very moment though after sometime I accepted her invitation and went to see her after insisting. She welcomed me and ushered me to her room, in the room there were no chairs and so I had to sit on the bed. I was used to such a situation since I had even been in it at campus...
We chatted and talked about all sort of things you can ever imagine of, she told me she had two children though she never revealed to me their parents, the children were not with her at the time and so she was alone. She told me that she has ever had an affair with Kainerugaba Muhoozi (The president’s Son) and that she has a son with him.
As time went on, our friendship developed into a relationship even when I knew she was older than me, I had fallen for her and I loved her. After about 5 months into the relationship, I came to discover certain facts that I didn’t know about Maria, Maria was HIV positive and was already taking drugs; This, she had not revealed to me and never was she planning to reveal it to me. I don’t know why up to now, yet I had been so open to her and all that I was.
On the day, that this happened, I was taking my day off from work and was resting at home, Maria had gone for work in town, when suddenly I saw a tablet pack on the table containing seprine, but this type of drug was different from the one I knew and the sight of it on the table came to my thought,this drug was not new to me; I had even seen it before and knew what it was and who could take it.
So I begun to search the room to find out the truth, and to my surprise when I checked Marias’ suitcase, I found 4 containers of ARV drugs, her ID of where she gets the drugs and her card that was being used to record her CD4 counts. I was shocked, paralysed and felt numb, completely dead even if I were breathing.
I could try to sleep on the bed but I was just bouncing up and down as if I was a ball being played with, I tried to swallow drugs but they could just fall out of my hands. Immediately, I called Maria from her workplace and told her she needed to get home fast, after sometime, she arrived, and there in front of her on the table were the drugs, ID and CD4 count card.
Her first reaction was; ‘Who told you to check my suitcase?’Upon hearing this, I felt like slicing her into pieces, I just could not believe that she was the one saying this without even any sign of remorse. All that was in my heart was like a devouring lion that is angry and caged with a chain on the neck.
On hearing this, I felt I just needed to strangle her and kill her there and then. She knew very well what her status was and never revealed it to me even when she knew I really loved her. I felt betrayed, used and I felt I was living with a killer. Someone who was intentionally planning to send me to my grave before my time.
I asked her what these medicines were doing in the house, and in her response, she said the drugs were for her friend, a lady who never wanted her husband to know that she had HIV. And so she would come and take it from her place, THIS WAS A GRAVE LIE. A very big lie indeed. The photo in the ID showed it was hers and that she was lying that it was her friend’s, when I asked her about the ID, she again blew it up by telling me that she was the one that got the medicine for her friend from the Centre where she is assigned..
To ask her all this, I really wanted to know the truth and nothing beyond the truth and if she would be open to me now that I had seen the drugs, I was willing and ready to forgive her if she had opened up and told me the truth on sight. She lied and never accepted.
From that very moment, I lost all the love, affection and trust I had for her and started seeing her more as a killer and a very deadly one. I told her I was living and for good.
I told her to treat peoples’ hearts with purity and respect should anybody come in her life after I had left. I told her to be open in her next relationship and be loved for who she is.
I told her being HIV positive is not a new thing, and that. It’s not that they are not to be loved; they are human beings who deserve to be loved and treated equally just like others. All it takes is to open up and tell that person having affection on you what you are.
For about 6 months after leaving her, my life was a living Hell; I saw myself as a dead man moving and soon will be buried. All the savings I had made, I spent it like there was no tomorrow, whatever I could lay my eyes on, I wanted it. I could move on the streets of Jinja as though I am a mad man. Psychologically, I was in a mental state, lost confused and mentally mad. My colleagues would see me and talk, but they never knew what was on my mind and what I was going through.
It took me time to gain the courage that I needed to test myself, all that I had on my mind was that am already infected. Later on I decided to go and take a test even though I never felt sick at any one time. But the thought of sleeping with a HIV person for this entire long could not get out of my mind.
I went to AIDS information Centre –Jinja for the test. When I arrived at the centre I told the counselor that there was no need to test me but rather to start giving me the ARVs since I know myself- I had already slept with someone who was HIV positive and for a very long time. The counselor was so surprised to hear me say this so boldly. She calmed me down and counseled me and told me despite all that I had gone through, I still needed to take the test to see if I was positive or negative.When she asked why I had not come with the lady, I told her the lady could not come with me because she knew she was already positive but could not tell me.
The test was done and after a few minutes of waiting, I was called in and talked to for a while before she could reveal to me the results, I was told that I did not have the virus and that I was free from AIDS: – ‘What the hell could have happened to these peoples’ machine?’ I said to myself. I could not believe what I had heard neither did I believe their results. I told her that’s not true, it was not until after pestering her that she went and brought me the card were I had sign when I was being counseled.
After leaving the centre, I went to four other places to do the same test and all the results they gave me just matched the first one………. ‘NO SOMETHING IS NOT PROPER HERE’I said to myself. After about one month I travelled from Jinja to Kampala where I went to the AIDS INFORMATION CENTRE, KAMPALA BRANCH LOCATED IN KISENYI where again I did another test and it was still negative. Lastly I went to JOINT CLINICAL RESEARCH CENTRE (JCRC) where I took a DNA PCR test and the result was the same as the other ones I had taken. At this point, I settled for the last result I had taken.
I came home feeling somehow a happy man but nothing had changed in my life, I remember when coming back from JCRC at one time I even stopped and smiled to a fly on the road- something that had never happened to me in real life, relief filled my heart. After a while I began having a negative feeling towards women. I never wanted to love any woman again because of this,” why does love have to be this way?, Why can’t people see and know that someone loves them?, why don’t people value each other’s life and heart?” these were just some of the few questions that kept popping up in my mind
Sometime after , Maria called me and told me she was pregnant with my child, -I hated her and did not want anything to do with her anymore, even her voice alone  made me  hate her the more. She said she was one month pregnant when I was leaving her. I tried to change all my contacts but still she managed to get through to me.
She later gave birth to a baby boy in Jinja Hospital through caesarean on 30th/9/2010. I was called by her friend who was with her in the hospital; she told her that if she was to call me by herself, I was not going to pick up her call. I did go to the hospital after a day even though I was just  500m away from the place. A friend of mine took me to the hospital after I had shared with him what I was going through.
While at the hospital with the things I had taken for her, I saw the little baby lying down on the bed. Everybody in the ward where she was recognized me when I entered, I carried the baby but could not hold him for long in my arms since I was shaking- the feel of carrying your own blood. “Wow…………… a tough journey” I thought to myself. I gave him the name James Daniel.
And from that very day, I placed what I had gone through aside and knew here now lays a responsibility I had to take, I told her I would be providing for her to take care of the baby since she did not have to breast feed the child. I knew I did not have to let the child be part of our problem - he is an innocent person and not a part of it.
Around this time, I came to learn that Maria not only had two kids but three and Daniel was the fourth-. Whenever I could get salary, I made sure I send her before I can put it into any other use . I would rather sleep hungry but when I know that Danny has eaten. When he became about one year, he was tested for HIV and he did not have the virus either. It was relief to me and I felt some happiness in my life again.
Though I wasn’t living with her since I had already got my place, I made a point to visit and see how the kid was growing.
Today, Daniel is four years old and living with his mum, he is in school and whenever I have time, I rush and see him.
I have always told his mother to keep taking the ARV drugs which she is given. And with the advice I give her always, she has managed to gain a lot of courage and weight; she is giving the best care to my son even though we are no longer together.
I therefore appeal to all those who are living a positive life, that its not a crime to be HIV Positive, when on drugs, you can still be useful to the society and people around you, BE OPEN about your status and let people love you for what you are.
In life, there are many people who are willing to associate with you and get to know you, don’t feel ashamed of who you are. There are people who will come into your life and love you that way. They will love you, treasure you and respect you. Just open up and find true love.
Many people may reject you, but not all people are like that, and to many you may be nothing, but to someone you maybe that special light in their lives.
Let’s embrace the spirit of love and Openness so as to reduce on HIV infection.