“We are offering all newly registered patients the chance to have the test.”

“But why?” he asked again, suspiciously.

“It is regarded as good medical practice to do this. People who have HIV or Hepatitis may not show any signs until the disease is very advanced. If any of the tests are positive, then the person can benefit from treatment and specialist support much earlier on.”


“I don’t want to do any test,” he replied, “I know its because I am Black that you want to do the test. They are always targeting us. They are all racists.”

I was speechless for a moment at his outburst.

That’s not the case,” I hurried to reassure him, “HIV is prevalent in Africa…”

“You see, that’s why you want to do it…because I am from Africa,” he cut me short. He picked up his car keys from the table and stood to leave. 

Why do you think Dike reacted like this?

9 Responses

  1. Most ignorant people like Dike would not want to know their status forgeting that awareness is the first step towards a solution. I personally believe knowing one’s status is very important!!!

    1. So right, Bels!
      Many of our people are still at the pre-contemplation stage of the Process of Change. They feel ‘Everything is OK(when its not!) or ‘I know the risks and I am OK with it.’

      This blog aims to provide information, encourage people to question the status quo and hopefully get them to recognise the need for change.

      Thanks for your insight.

  2. Interesting reading. I believe its a clear case of ignorance. I have had the opportunity as an adherence counsellor in the HIV clinic and most times its shocking how we Africans especially perceive HIV. The funniest and most ridiculous I ever had was that it was just like Malaria that would go away after a few medications or perhaps someone from their village was after them (spiritual attack). The challenge is that most people do not take to time to acquire the necessary information on health issues and in this case know for sure their status but would prefer to seat on the fence all in the name that ‘What I don’t know won’t kill me’. That is just clear cut ignorance and foolishness. But there is hope, in that a lot of companies and non-governmental organisations have taken it upon themselves to start from the grass roots and educate the people. Since Mohammed has refused to go to the mountain, the mountain is coming to Mohammed. This I believe will help us all live healthier lives and make well informed decisions regarding our health and that of our families.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Amie.
      Its indeed ridiculous that anyone in this day and age will think that HIV like Malaria will go away after a few tablets.
      We have a long way to go to get the message out to our people that HIV/AIDs is not to be ignored. Hopefully educating people in different ways, including through this blog, will help address these knowledge gaps. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I had a good laugh when I read this but this is true of many Africans as we believe that what we don’t know will not kill us. He is just trying to hang it on something to avoid the test. I however believe that as more people see the benefit of early detection, they will offer themselves for screening without being asked. Almost all of us were in this same situation before we got same awareness. It is ignorance to say the least as it is in his interest if he knew better.

    1. You are right, Engee. ‘What we don’t know will not kill us’…..is a mindset we need to start examining. Is it really to one’s benefit to bury one’s head in the sand like an ostrich?
      There is no doubt that there are better outcomes for people whose HIV infection is detected early and treatment started.
      Thanks for commenting.

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