My phone can diagnose HIV but how do I get the drugs?

HIV, Smart phone, Dongle, Sexual wellbeingA device attached to your phone could soon be used to diagnose HIV in 15 minutes! This exciting new device could help the poorest people across the world to take control of their own health.

Uses only a finger prick of blood.
Cost only $34 to manufacture.
Small enough to fit into one hand
Does not rely on laboratory facilities.

Gets its energy supply from the phone so can be used in remote places

I applaud the makers for their new device called ‘Dongle.

Being able to find out if you have caught something quickly reduces the risk of spreading it to other people.

HIV, Dongle, Sexual wellbeing, HIV test

 

 

So it is an exciting development in the fight against HIV, particularly in African countries where mother to child transmission of HIV (amongst other routes) remains a major concern with over 2 million children infected with HIV while in the womb, during birth, or by being breastfed.

The next step is for the antiretroviral medications (used to treat HIV) to be so readily available in developing countries as well.

Otherwise, what is the point of fast, easy and cheap diagnosis if there isn’t corresponding available and cheap medication to treat those diagnosed with HIV in poor communities?


Dr Adaeze Ifezulike is a Family Physician/GP based in Aberdeen. She is a Finalist at the UK Sexual Health Awards 2015 and for her book ‘Understanding Contraception: A guide for black ladies’ she has been nominated ‘Author of the Year’ at the Women4Africa Awards.

 

contraception, HIV, STD, Hepatitis

Nma comes to the clinic.

HIV? Me? No, I’m married! (26)

HIV, Sexual wellbeing network, Adaeze IfezulikeI saw she was booked in to see me. It was exactly a week after her husband and she had been together to see me. I was glad to see her name in the list of patients I was to see today.

“Hello Nma,” I smiled at her.

She managed a smile back. She looked a bit ill. Her eyes looked swollen as though she hadn’t slept well. I felt a twinge of guilt. Dike had kept me busy and so angry that I had completely forgotten Nma. How had she been coping? What had been going on at home? After all, she was the real victim in all this.

“How have you been?”

“Very well, thank you.”

” You don’t look very well,” I said gently, “please tell me how you have been.”

The tears slowly trickled down her face and the drops gathered momentum until they became a stream down her face.

I passed her a tissue and watched silently as she fought with her feelings.

“My husband’s job, his immigration status, his insurance…”

“What are you talking about, Nma?” I asked bewildered.

“He can’t lose all that because of me.”

“Because of you..?”

“My HIV is my problem. I must bear my burden alone and let him carry on with his life.”

So that was it. Dike had been brainwashing her, blaming her for the HIV. Making her feel that his job,immigration status and insurance would be at risk because she had HIV.
And yet he had given her HIV!

The Afrocarribean Health Event holds on 25th October at RCCG Fountain of Love Church hall, Palmerston Road, Aberdeen, Scotland. This free event is unique in that it tackles health issues that affect afrocarribeans.
Topics that will be featured include Mental Health, Hypertension and Diabetes, Sexual Health and Weight Management.
Experts on the above topics will be available to answer questions. Lunch will be provided. All adults are warmly invited.
Register for the event here.

 

contraception, HIV, STD, Hepatitis

Blackmail

HIV? Me? No, I’m married! (25)

HIV, Sexual wellbeing network, Adaeze IfezulikeSo that was it? Apology over? Not even the slightest pause to see what I would do with his incomplete apology? He was ready to carry on as if nothing had happened.

For a moment, I toyed with the idea of banging down the phone. Or maybe screaming at him. Or whatever. What
do people do when they are very upset? Or let me rephrase that: what would I do if I wasn’t a doctor holding a phone that was very likely being recorded and whose contents could be used against me in the court?

Before I could answer my own question Dike said:”My job is very important to me. Right now I am being considered for the post of Regional Director of my company and I don’t want anything to spoil my chances of being promoted.

“So this issue of my wife’s HIV must be kept very quiet. I wouldn’t want my company to find out about it.”

“Your wife has HIV, Dike. Shouldn’t you be thinking about how to get her treated and supported rather than worrying about your job?” I asked wearily. He was just unbelievable and I was tired and wanting to go home.

“You don’t understand,” he snapped. “This is my career we are talking about. I haven’t come this far for anything to scuttle my dreams. Nobody–I repeat nobody–will stand in my way.”

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The Afrocarribean Health Event holds on 25th October at RCCG Fountain of Love Church hall, Palmerston Road, Aberdeen, Scotland. This free event is unique in that it tackles health issues that affect afrocarribeans.
Topics that will be featured include Mental Health, Hypertension and Diabetes, Sexual Health and Weight Management.
Experts on the above topics will be available to answer questions. Lunch will be provided. All adults are warmly invited.
Register for the event here.

contraception, HIV, STD, Hepatitis

The phone call

HIV? Me? No, I’m married! (24)

contraception, HIV, STD, Hepatitis“Hello my good Doctor,” Dike drawled.

“Hello.” I replied in a cold voice. I was in no mood for niceties with him.

“Can I help you?”

“I hope you are not too busy. You doctors need to make out time to rest, go on holidays…”

Unbelievable! What was this about?

“I am fine, thank you. So what can I do for you?” I repeated.

“Well, about our visit to you last week. I want to apologise for the way I behaved. I shouldn’t have walked out of the room the way I did. I hope you can forgive me.”

I waited expecting him to carry on: was he not going to apologise for shouting at his wife and I, overturning my table and scattering my documents..?

“Now doctor, I want to ask you a favour.” Dike carried on.

The Afrocarribean Health Event holds on 25th October at RCCG Fountain of Love Church hall, Palmerston Road, Aberdeen, Scotland. This free event is unique in that it tackles health issues that affect afrocarribeans.
Topics that will be featured include Mental Health, Hypertension and Diabetes, Sexual Health and Weight Management.
Experts on the above topics will be available to answer questions. Lunch will be provided. All adults are warmly invited.
Register for the event here.

contraception, HIV, STD, Hepatitis

A doctor’s life.

HIV? Me? No, I’m married! (23)

HIV, women health,contraception, abortion, rapeBy the thirty-sixth patient, I was exhausted but happy.

‘What a hard life a doctor’s life is,’ I mused as I bit into my nearly stale sandwich which I didn’t get to eat at lunch time because I was running late.

I could feel a mild headache at my temples which I always get when I am dehydrated.

‘Keep hydrated,’ I said to myself like I would say to my patients. ‘Doctor, practice what you preach!’

Ten minutes are provided for each patient: but how do you rush an elderly woman whose sole social engagement of the week is coming to see me?

Many patients like to tell me where they have been to in Africa. They might take a full two minutes trying to recall the places they have visited with the hope that I might recognise one of the places.
Lagos, Warri, Johannesburgh are the commom ones. And it is lovely chatting with them. But that usually leaves eight minutes or less for the actual consultation. It would be no problem except of course there is usually a list of things each patient wants me to sort out in the little time left…

I jumped as the receptionist knocked and popped her head round the door.

‘Are you free to speak to Mr Dike? He has been on the phone six times today. Says he really needs to speak to you.’

This is what I wanted to say: ‘Tell him to go away and never come back. Tell him that if he phones to ask for me, I will report him to the police for harassment. Tell him I have no business with him or his family.’

But all I said to the receptionist was: ‘Okay. Put him through.’

The Afrocarribean Health Event holds on 25th October at RCCG Fountain of Love Church hall, Palmerston Road, Aberdeen, Scotland. This free event is unique in that it tackles health issues that affect afrocarribeans.
Topics that will be featured include Mental Health, Hypertension and Diabetes, Sexual Health and Weight Management.
Experts on the above topics will be available to answer questions. Lunch will be provided. All adults are warmly invited.
Register for the event here.

 

HIV? Me?

HIV? Me? No, I’m married! (22)

contraception, HIV, black women healthIt was just a short walk from my car into the surgery but the weather was so windy and wet that my dainty umbrella was useless in all that ferocity. I got a bit wet.

As I hurried into the surgery, the receptionist called out to me.

‘Dr Ezii,a gentleman called and left a message for you.’

‘Oh? Who was it?’ I asked as I took the mail out of my pigeonhole and hurriedly scanned through it.

‘A man named Dike.’

‘What the…’ I bit my lips to stop the swear word that had risen to my mouth, smiled my thanks to the receptionist and made my way to my consulting room. I was burning with anger.

It had been two days since the event with Dike. I thought I had managed to erase the bad taste the whole thing had left in my mouth.

I was still disgusted with myself over my cowardice at the doctors’ meeting. How could I have chickened out like that? What shameful diffidence!

What did he want now? How dare he even try to see me? Perhaps he was coming to apologise? Well, stuff his apology!
I immediately got into the business of the day. I had 36 patients to see with a paltry fifteen minutes break after the first eighteen. I had no time to waste on Dike and his family.

The Afrocarribean Health Event holds on 25th October at RCCG Fountain of Love Church hall, Palmerston Road, Aberdeen, Scotland. This free event is unique in that it tackles health issues that affect afrocarribeans.
Topics that will be featured include Mental Health, Hypertension and Diabetes, Sexual Health and Weight Management.
Experts on the above topics will be available to answer questions. Lunch will be provided. All adults are warmly invited.
Register for the event here.

 

 

 

The policy on violence.

HIV? Me? No, I’m married (21)

HIV, Black women's health, contraception, Understanding contraception: a guide for black ladiesI sat through the doctors’ weekly meeting like a zombie. I barely heard what was going on.

I nodded when someone spoke to me and smiled at my colleagues. All I could think of was what had happened an hour ago in my consulting room.

I felt anger building up again as I thought about what Dike had done. How dare he overturn my table!

I recalled his vehemence and how frightened I had been. I knew the NHS policy on violence towards staff – surely this ticked all the boxes? This was more than enough to show him the door. He would be de-registered immediately.

His details would be passed to the big bosses at the Community Health Partnership (CHP) and it would be recorded in his notes that he was a violent man and a threat to health professionals.

Those notes would follow him like his shadow wherever he might go to register. They would follow him forever.

They would be an invisible mark that nothing could erase.

I was jolted out of my reverie as the senior partner went round the table asking for ‘any other business’.

Each colleague shook his head. I squirmed with impatience, willing them to hurry up and get to me. I had something to say. I had a story to tell.

“Dr Ezii anything else?” He inquired as he got to me.

I took a few deep breaths. This was my moment. It was payback time and I was going to enjoy every moment of it.

‘No, nothing else,’ I heard myself saying. ‘Nothing to add.’

 

The Afrocarribean Health Event holds on 25th October at RCCG Fountain of Love Church hall, Palmerston Road, Aberdeen, Scotland. This free event is unique in that it tackles health issues that affect afrocarribeans.
Topics that will be featured include Mental Health, Hypertension and Diabetes, Sexual Health and Weight Management.
Experts on the above topics will be available to answer questions. Lunch will be provided. All adults are warmly invited.
Register for the event here.

Living with HIV

HIV? Me? No, I am married! (20)

“Your wife has HIV.” I said, my eyes fixed on Dike’s face.

“What! HIV!You cant be serious!” Dike jumped up from his seat.

For a moment I thought he was going to smack my face. Frightened, I quickly got on my feet. From the corner of my eye, I saw Nma get up as well and make a move towards Dike.
Even before she could take a step, Dike swung round to face her.

“Where did you get that from?” he spat at her “You slut.”
Nma recoiled in shock.
She looked as if a thunderbolt had struck her. It was that look that shook me out of my trance.

“Now, look here, Mr Dike..” I started angrily, “I will not stand by and watch you insult….”

“Yes, defend her!” he shouted furiously, swinging round to face me, “You women are all the same.”

With a swift movement, he overturned my side table. I watched in disbelief as my BNF and other documents spread across the floor like leaves during autumn.

“I will deal with you if you have given me HIV,” he shouted at Nma before storming out of the room.

Nma mouthed ‘sorry’ to me through the tears streaming down her face as she ran after her husband, clutching her handbag.

Zombie-like, I bent down to pick up the file containing the insurance papers a patient had sent in for me to sign. I stopped half way down and then lowered myself to the floor to sit surrounded by the rest of my papers.

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HIV? Me? No, I am married! (19)

“Eh…do you mean menopause?”

“Yes! That’s it! She must be at menopause,” Dike responded.

“Or you have infected her with HIV.” I wanted to snap at him.

He must know! Why was he pretending? How long was he going to keep up the charade?

I controlled my thoughts and tried to keep a straight face.

“So what exactly do you want me to tell your husband?,” I asked turning to Nma.

“The whole truth,” Nma shrugged, throwing her arms into the air.

She looked like a lost child rather than a capable middle aged woman. She looked like she could do with a cuddle, as though she was on the verge of bursting into tears. I looked at Dike. He frowned and looked away.
I glanced down at my watch. We were already six minutes into the
consultation. I had no time for drama.

My next patient was waiting already and I must conclude and ensure Nma and her husband were out of my consulting room in
four minutes.

I took a deep breath and urged myself to speak.

To be continued….

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The Afrocarribean health event holds on 25th October 2014. It’s the only gathering devoted to tackling health issues specific to Afrocarribeans.
Register for the Afrocarribean Health event.

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