My 10 Years of Living with HIV

The morning I was diagnosed with HIV was like most others. I had just left my hotel and was heading for the International convention center to attend the Fourth National AIDS conference in Nigeria. It was May 2004, 10 years ago this month.

The day before, I had just given a presentation on HIV and men who have sex with men (MSM is the term to describe men who have sex with other men but do not identify as gay). I was sharing the stories of the friends I had lost to HIV. The most memorable was my best friend, Ibrahim.

Ibrahim was a year ahead of me at the University of Lagos. We connected immediately the first time we met. He was everything I wanted to be: tall and handsome, with swagger, a great sense of humor and a sharp intellect. It was a shock for me when one evening in June of 2002, I got a call that Ibrahim had been in the hospital for over two weeks and that his condition was deteriorating. Ibrahim had recently been complaining of a series of mysterious ailments, but I had no idea he was so sick.

When I walked into the room, what I saw changed my life completely. He was like a bone. His eyes were open but empty, his hands fragile, and his smile was that of someone barely hanging on to life. I rushed to his side, held his hands and…

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