I first noticed the sign of HIV in my life during my last semester examination at West African Bible Collage Lagos in 2001. Then there was development of Lymph nodes in my face and neck regions. But, due to lack of proper information regarding HIV/AIDS then I was in dark about the whole thing.
At the end of 2001 precisely between Nov – Dec 2001 I fall seriously ill, the hospital my brothers took me for medical attention rejected me, advising that its better for them to take me to village they were told that it better for me to die in the village than in Lagos which will be double expenses to bear.
It was at this critical condition that my junior brother hired a car to take me and my family town in Anambra state. At the village there was lots of confusion when we arrive because, most people don’t know the cause and type of illness that befall me, many attributed it to witchcraft, juju, poison, I was left to die slowly at home.
But thank God, because He has lots of plan for me, I was first taken to the greatest traditional healer in my town, but after his examinations he told my people that the so called poison have eaten deep into my liver and lungs, he told them that I will drop dead if he administer any concoctions, he then suggested that I be taken home and placed on blood building and nutrient to gain strength before they will bring me back.
It was during this period of waiting hopelessly, that my mother in-law suggested to my mother that she will not relent in her effort in seeking solution from my source. At this stage a family friend suggested that I be taken to mile 4 hospital Abakaliki a specialist hospital for treatment of TB in Ebonyi State, because than I was coughing non-stop with blood laced sputum and also having uncontrollable diarrhea.
At Abakaliki after many test the Doctor in charge confirmed that its not TB, but one strange thing he discovered after extracting 5ml string full of purse was that I have lots of purse occupying my chest region and lungs which will need an operation to remove, he then gave us referral to NAUTH Nnewi.
At NAUTH on admission an operation was carried out by group of doctors and a pipe was inserted through my lungs and almost a bucket full of purse was extracted from my chest region. Series of test was carried out which I was on a hospital bed.
It was at this hopeless condition I first learnt that I did not only have HIV & 1 & II but TB as well. My first initial re-action with this news was that what will be the faith of my wife and only daughter as at that time.
But thank God He chose for me a loving and caring wife who stood by me throughout this period of trials despite the fact that she tested negative..
Now we have four children all negative to HIV I have been on ARV treatment for six years now and my wife and children are all HIV Negative.
All this were possible because of correct information I have gained about HIV/AIDS, I have overcome stigma and discrimination which in the highest killer of people living with HIV/AIDS.
I have participated in British Broadcasting Co-operation (BBC) and Anambra State Broadcasting Service (ABS) geared towards bringing hope to HIV infected and affected people a volunteer HBC worker for Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) Center for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA). I am presently the coordinator of spring of Hope Foundation a support and care group of people living with HIV/AIDS and also Anambra State coordinator of Association of Religions leaders living /Affected by HIV/AID, a zonal leader in my local church I also hold other post in my church, village and town.
Being HIV positive is not the end of one’s life the challenge is to overcome stigma and discrimination especially within the faith based communities in Nigeria and society at large. With your support and my support we shall all be HERALDS OF HOPE AND AGENTS OF CHANGE
Evang. Chinedu Puis E.