I am 33 and had lived and worked in the United Arab Emirates for several years until I was deported having tested positive to HIV. When I arrived, I disclosed this to my family and after enjoying the little savings I had, they rejected me and now want nothing to do with me. Everybody has closed their doors on me and I have no support whatsoever. They just keep hurling insults and accusing me of prostitution when I was in Dubai which really puts me down. I am alone, have no way of providing for myself as I don’t know my way around yet and I don’t even know where to get treatment and support for my condition. Please advise me.
Vivian, it is rather unfortunate what has happened to you and that your family members took advantage of your situation to use up all your savings. In this age and time, and with the increased levels of knowledge about HIV and AIDS, it is actually inhuman to accuse someone of engaging in commercial sex work just because they contracted the virus. As a matter of fact, there is nothing you have done that all those people have not done. The only difference is that they have been fortunate and you were unfortunate. That said, we need to deal with the situation at hand which is that you have no way to support yourself and your family members have turned their back on you.
The good thing is that you can access treatment for HIV free of charge and if you follow doctor’s advice, you can live a long and healthy advice. This is the easier part of this situation as in many instances HIV treatment while free requires several other elements for it to be effective which include proper nutrition, good living environment among other things. You will have to talk to those family members you trust and who can take you in and take care of you for some time. In every family there is always that one or two people you know you can run to when all else fails. Upon securing this, you will have to do your very best to get a means to support yourself at first and eventually move out on your own once your financial situation stabilises.
It is just unfortunate but for now I see no other way apart from seeking periodical support from a trusted relative. In fact, the family member that offers to support you could also help you get some form of livelihood so that one you will not have to rely on them 100 per cent and gradually you could stand on your own two feet and move out of their home and into yours. Try and keep trying and you will find a family member who can host you for a while.
Simon is a relationships counsellor
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Sorry for all that you are going through but know that this is not the end of life nor is it a death sentence. As for your relations spending all your savings and later turning against you, it is a very common occurrence. I only wish you had known this before you got so low.
That aside, the most important thing for you now is your health and you need immediate attention. Visit any of the government health facilities and you will get all the necessary medical help. There are also a number of organisations and associations for people living positively with HIV. Joining them will help you emotionally and socially. Some of these associations have elaborate programmes to support their members.
Now that you’re back home, look around for something to do. Probably a job in your area of training, if you had one. Or once your health stabilises you could seek to work in other countries where what you went through in the former country does not take place. I believe you still have the whole of your life ahead of you.
As for your relatives, do not allow yourself to be bitter. Find it in your heart to forgive them. You will be surprised how heavy the weight of unforgiveness is once you let it go. Your experience with them should not make you shun making new friendships. Live your life to the fullest.
Please waste no more time as far as getting medication is concerned. The earlier the better. You do not have to give up, it is just a matter of time and you will be back on your feet healthwise, socially and financially. I wish you all the best.
Hilda Boke Mahare has a background in Counselling Psychology
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