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Today in school, we had teachings on HIV counseling and treatment. This was not the first time I was having such a teaching but again, I was fascinated at the numerous stories we heard. One was of a couple that had been married for years. Suddenly, the man decided he needed a second wife. You can imagine the first wife’s dismay on discovering that the soon to be new wife is a known HIV patient of the clinic where she works as a nurse. The question asked was, “what should the first wife do?” Some said tell her husband, others said don’t tell him. And some said, “I’ll just leave and cease being his wife, he is the one that wants a new wife.”
So, I ask, “when should you want to know certain health issues about your partner/girlfriend/boyfriend/fiancé/fiancée?” By health issues, I mean genotype, HIV status, history of mental illness in the family, blood group, etc.
One other story had it that the wife to be was found to be HIV positive three days to the wedding while the guy was negative. Were they to continue with the wedding? Would postponing it help? Could they at least get married first, and then sit down to discuss it later? Or could they wait for the window period… in which the guy might turn out to be positive too? So many questions.
I will love to hear from you. But, here is my perspective…
These things become important the day and moment the importance of your relationship dawns on you both. That eureka moment of, “I am getting married to this person”. This does not mean such things are not considered in the early days of the relationship but their essentiality to your future and the future of your family and children becomes paramount when the picture of family life with that person becomes crystal clear. It is at that moment you have to ensure that not one of your children has to be subjected to a life of crisis or mental deterioration. Or you decide that you both can weather the storm if your genotypes are AS and AS. That is when you have to choose whether your partner being HIV positive is not a deterrent to a positive life together. That is also when you may want to find out if he or she ever had a sexually transmitted infection that was not treated or an abortion that was not properly carried out or … a missing womb. That moment is the moment of truth. It is the, “And so…?” moment of all relationships. It could be a beginning of an end or the beginning of the continuation.
At the end of the class, some of us stayed behind to have our status checked. It is said that it is only a sinner that runs when no one is chasing him. But sometimes, a righteous man who has been unwillingly exposed gets scared… needle pricks, injuries not well protected, blood transfusions, transmission from an infected mother, etc. Do not be quick to judge.