13 Mar 2006- I’m 34 years old and was diagnosed of HIV in 2001, I must say that it’s not been easy for me having to cop with being HIV and being on treatment that’s actually made me even worse than I ever felt before starting my treatment. I know a lot of African gay men living with the virus in some African countries would very much want to be on treatment, but how much would it cost their lives at the same time having to spend much more on the expensive HIV drugs?
I always head that the medication had different side effects in HIV patients that’s why I could not get to start my medication as soon as I got diagnosed. Politically I have also head that some doctors tend to prescribe the treatment or the drugs hence a good profit for the manufactures of the anti- retrovirus. I’m not sure about all this but it has raised concern with part of my research.
I then started my medication in 2003 all because I had to be comfortable with what I was going to decide and at the same time being aware of the side effects that’s I would be experiencing. After having had check ups and told that I needed to start treatment, I was ready but I did not have anyone advice me about my medication except being told what times to take the medication by my doctor. Please don’t get me wrongly about this, I know there are millions of people on these HIV drugs but we all have different side effects.
My medication has turned out to be worse that I thought, I was told that side effects might take 6 to 12 months then I would be used to the medication and the side effects would slowly disappear. Now I have been on medication since 2003 and I have got worse. The side effects I have are really bad that I have had to limit myself in so many things like, activeness in the bedroom department, always tired, heavy night sweats, severe stomach pains most of the times and fallen into depression and a number of times I try to take my own life.
I have always talked about this with my doctor and at one point they suggested that I should change medication but this time they had to tell me the side effects that I would have at the same time they also prescribed me anti sickness tablets which left me no choice but to stop all my medication. Now I have even come to discover that there are a lot of African gay men living with the virus and I’m sure there must be a lot that are having the same problems as me.
It has become a habit now that I have to forget to take my medication because usually when I forget I feel much better, when I explained at my hospital the doctor said it was dangerous to that, but on my side it has helped me to an extent of feeling lot more better. Having told my doctor about this and having been going for check ups every three months which never really helped me, so I decided to stop my medication. I just have to wait for that day when I will not feel pain anymore on this earth.
I have regretted enough that I’m HIV and it’s damaged much of my life, my career and my social life so I’m better off medication, but my advice to those that are on treatment and are coping with it please stick your medication. As for me my hospital it has not helped me in any way to look into my problem during my treatment, I have suffered so much during my treatment.
To some point I have told myself that maybe this medication or treatment on me was some sort of test, I don’t know but that’s how my life went down the drainage during my treatment. I never even managed to work because I could not make it working for more than five hours without feeling sick, I would sweat and my sweat smelt like I worked in a medicine laboratory. I know of more friends that are HIV and are not on medication but they are doing very well, having seen what I went through they don’t even think they would want to be on medication, that’s the life I have lived during my treatment and now you wonder why most people want to take their own lives, its this kind of suffering.