My name is Faith Olawale; I’m the secretary of positive life association of Nigeria (PLAN), based in Ibadan, Oyo state.
Q: When did you realize that you are HIV positive?
A: I was feeling some strange things, strange movements in my body and I went to the laboratory for a test, the result came out positive. I couldn’t believe it, I ran to another laboratory and again it was positive, it was then I believed in my heart that I have HIV and the reason why I went for this test was because my late wife has been falling sick continuously. Had it been that I knew much about HIV then, my wife would still have been with me now.
Q: When did you loose her?
A: She died in 2001 when she was about to deliver a baby. Prior to that time there was little information available about HIV/AIDS. If we had known, we wouldn’t have gone into making her pregnant again and there were no drugs available unlike now.
I thank God that she left behind a beautiful girl for me who is not positive and is doing fine, she’s doing wonderfully fine, so that is that.
Q: How were you able to access treatment?
A: I was referred at the Catholic Hospital.
Q: What year was that?
A: That was 2002. The drugs came in 2002 and we were enrolled same year. Before then, we spent faith’s wifea lot of money seeking treatment here and there. We spent about N12,000 – N15,000 each month before we were placed on the government program. Initially even the doctor didn’t know the correct prescription and this had some side effects on us, but later they got familiar with it and changed our prescription, and ever since it’s been working effectively.
Q: You have a new family now?
A: Yes, in fact, my wife will soon put to bed (she gave birth to a bouncing baby boy in December 2005).
Q: Tell us about it.
A: I thank God for what the Lord is doing today; I thank him for what the Lord is doing in my life and my family. I was able to start a new family today after I got information about HIV and I can boast anywhere that I know enough about HIV. When I realize that despite having HIV you can still have children that will not be positive and having verified it, so, it was then I decided that I have to remarry and in December 2004 I got married to a lady, a very beautiful lady sitting beside me, she’s my queen, the most beautiful lady in Nigeria. We met at a program in Abuja and that was how we came together. She’s about to deliver now and by the grace of God the baby will be fine and test negative.
So I’m using this opportunity to tell our people that test positive that it is very possible to still have children, they can still marry and have a wonderful life. HIV will not stop you from achieving what you want to achieve in life, it will rather give you a new beginning in life so that you can know where you are going and how your future will be. If I must tell you, just come to UTH (University Teaching Hospital, Ibadan) and you will see the number of people who are living with HIV and are giving birth. A good life is possible.