‘Na only my mama know say I get HIV for 10 years now’


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“Na only my mama I trust to help keep my secret na why be say na only her I tell say i get HIV, I know say oda family members dey suspect afta I fall sick few years ago but none dey sure.”

Na so Halima (not real name) wey dey live with human immunodeficiency virus wey dem dey call HIV for over 10 years now tell BBC Pidgin.

“I no go ever forget di day test result confam say I get HIV and di way I feel e just be like say my world don end.”

“Dat time, Aminu Kano hospital neva get SS Wali centre wey be for pipo with HIV so na anoda hospital first diagnose me.”

On why she no trust oda family members enough to tell dem, she tok say by di time some pipo hear, dem go begin broadcast her to pipo say she get di disease.

“I dey attend family gatherings and me and dem dey relate normal but why I dey fear to tell dem be say e get pipo wey if dem hear sometin like dis, dem no go ever keep am to demsefs.”

“My secret dey safe with my mother and I know say whatever affect me go do her too na why I feel safe to tell her and all dis years she no gree tell a single soul.”

‘Dem marry me off at di age of 15’

According to di 35-year-old wey dey stay Kano state for northern Nigeria, dem marry her off to one elderly man at di age of 15 and na forced marriage because she no like di man at all.

“Because say I no like di man, I no gree stay one place for di marriage, na elderly man wey reach to born me sef.”

“Na afta I run leave im house I come hear say e don die but before den, I bin get belle.”

“So na during tests for hospital na im dem confam say I get HIV.”

Halima say her pikin no get di virus.

Drugs for Halima

Halima show foto of her drugs wey she dey take once a day

Support and relationships issues

Halima hail workers for SS Wali centre wey dey give dem not only drugs but various support as well regarding dia condition.

She tok say na dat support help her to remain healthy all di time.

“If you see me for road you no go ever tink say I get HIV because I dey take care of myself and no dey joke with my medication.”

“Before, na twice a day I dey take my drugs, but now, na once and doctors dey happy with my situation.”

Regarding marriage, she tok say she bin meet one man for dia support network but unfortunately di marriage only last nine days.

“Wetin happun be say di man get anoda wife and e first tok say she gree for am to add anoda wife but immediately afta our marriage, na im she give am condition to either choose her or me.”

“Na so e come meet me dey beg me say make I no vex dat God go give me anoda pesin, so I marry am for just nine days.”

Halima say she still get hope say she go get good man marry and live happily like most couples.

“For now, I dey idle and go like get sometin doing becos I no like how I dey now.”

“I bin get business before, but pipo use credit finish am for me.” She tok.

‘HIV no be problem anymore’

Currently, no vaccine or cure dey for HIV, although recent tori about pipo wey don recover from di virus don raise hopes.

While HIV no longer be death sentence, and pipo with di virus fit live normal and healthy lives, some campaigners believe say perceptions dey too far di oda way.

HIV na di virus wey dey attack di immune system and if e dey untreated e fit lead to AIDS – disease wia di body no fit fight off even mild infections.

For 2020, about 38 million pipo worldwide dey live with HIV and roughly 700,000 die from AIDS-related illnesses, wey fit be di result of di virus going untreated.