So, towards the end of my day decided to pass through Aga Khan hospital to check on my blood test results. For the past month or two something had been compelling me to go and get my blood tested, so last about two weeks ago I decided to finally do it! I decided to start off at a hospital and the first place I thought of was M.P Shah, which has I guess become our default family hospital(after our beloved family doctor, Dr.Patel passed away many years ago. Gosh, I liked him so much, he was like a 2nd father to us! but more on that another day.) So anyway, I went to M.P Shah and asked the guy at the reception if they do HIV test, and he told me "no." I'm like huh, you dont do HIV tests? Again he replied in the negtive(no pun). This guy must not have known what he was talking about, or am I ignorant? Kwani which hospital is this where they dont do HIV tests? I was kinda pissed but I didnt feel like looking for someone else to talk to. So I left there and decided to look for a VCT the next day. Um, I then realized really didn't know where any VCTs are located in Nai for real. So I emailed the Ministry of Health(don't laugh) to ask them where I might find a VCT in the Nairobi area. Well, of course they didn't reply(and still havent) but luckily, the next day I spotted a testing centre off Milimani Rd. and I went to see if they'll test me. Just my luck, they don't test after 12pm on Fridays! "Come back on Monday"Argh! Okay, so am I ever going to get this over and done with? The next week I got a message through a friend on facebook that someone was in ICU at Aga Khan and needed a blood donation ASAP. So, I was like hey, why not try and save a life and at the same time get my blood tested? Great, so I go to Aga Khan and waited there for like half an hour to donate blood. The donation went well enough,but boy did that blood pumping tire my wrist. I guess there wasn't enough pressure in the tube so I had to pump twice as much! Another guy who was donating next to me pumped too fast I guess and he falt woozy so he was told to rest. I felt just fine afterwards, drank some juice that they give you and was on my way.
Went to get my blood test results today, and met the same nurse who took my blood at the lab during the donation. In the waiting room, I inquired as to what my blood test results were, and she told me to give her a few minutes as she checked up my name. After locating it, she pulled out my card and placed it on the counter as she sorted something else out. I glanced at the card and I saw the words POSITIVE in blue ink, and my heart did a triple take. She then ushered me into the lab and proceeded to pull out a chair. "O.K what's going on here" I thought as I sat. She then informed me about how the blood donation went, and that the patient in ICU tragically passed away(I felt real bad) but how thankful they were for all the blood donations. She then asked me what I would do if the results were not good. I said I would just "deal with it in someway." She chuckled and replied that there are many ways in which people "deal with it." Some go to the 10th floor of KICC, some go looking for a waterfall somewhere... Well, clearly she was not relieving my uneasiness at that minute. She then opened a folder, pulled out my file and scanned the results. She then told me they did tests on my blood for HIV, Chlamydia,Hepatitis and a few other diseases I cant recall right now. She then smiled and said all my test results came out negative. What a relief, here she was pulling my leg and pulling out chairs,as if I'm about to receive the most dire news of my life! Why lie, while it felt good to be free of all those other diseases, I wanted to know if the big elephant was still hogging space in my room. Was I free of HIV or not was all I wanted to know!
It's really crazy how much fear the words HIV can invoke in a person. Even if you are not living an irresponsible lifestyle, you still feel like you not immune to it. I remember many years back when there was a scare going around that people were planting HIV-laced needles in theatre seats and phone booths(where you retrieve your coin from).At around that time I sat in a matatu and something very sharp poked my back from inside the seat cushion! Gosh, for about a week I thought I was done for! Had someone planted a HIV-laced needle on my matatu seat? Uuuwii! I experienced the worst kind of thoughts during that time, even though the whole notion was absurd(for many reasons I wont go into).
So why am writing this experience? Because for the past few months this thing of HIV in Kenya has been on my mind quite a bit. I find it very sad that 15 million Kenyans don't know their status and 84% of HIV infected people are likewise unaware they have the virus.So I've been trying to come up with ideas that could help in the fight against HIV in Kenya. The first step in the fight against HIV I think is knowledge. Know your status, do you? I do now, and I hope anyone who reads this blog will overcome any fears they have, MAKE TIME and go and find out their status! I felt it would be lame of me to preach about finding getting tested if I didn't take that first step, and that's why I did. There's no way we can fight this virus which has ravaged Africa without each of us knowing where we stand. I plan on putting the idea's I have down and visiting the Ministry of Health to discuss and present them. I know the Ministry has been trying to get people to find out their status for years. But so far I think their methods are lack any imagination, creativity or incentive for people to go get tested. So yeah, I'll write more on this new mission I have later, but in the meanwhile please get tested and find out your status. Oh, and if youre still wondering what that "positive" thing on the card was all about, turns out my blood type is B POSITIVE, cool.
Hosea 4:6 "My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge..."
(ps.please forgive any grammatical errors in this post, alot on my mind)