By Zola zola
I am determined to write this message in case my fellow Ethiopian read and grasp some information about STD. Learning from my story, I believe you will be motivated to discuss about those diseases privately or socially which is not tried enough yet. Also this will give courage to those with the diseases like me to come forward and speak out with out fear of prejudice and social stigma. I decided to write after I read an interview of an Ethiopian man who died of liver cancer shortly after he diagnosed. Indeed my heart goes to those who die soon and to those who are suffering from the diseases with out getting the opportunity to be diagnosed early.
This is my second time to hear liver cancer death since I came to US. For my surprise, I never heard of any body died of HIV so far. I am wondering if the wrath of death is shifting its gear toward less known diseases like liver cancer. From his word I understood that he was diagnosed shortly before he passed out. This disease is really referred as one of the silent killer, which means most don’t know they have liver infection. By the time they know and seek medical treatments, it is too late, the damages may be irreparable and the consequence is irreversible.
When I was first learned I am hepatitis b positive, I couldn’t believe and find any earthly reason how and where I got it. Still it remained in me as a night mare boggling my mind. At the beginning I was immersed my self in a jungle of thoughts, like what about my family?, how far is my future?, Is there a cure? and so on. However, with lucky beside me, I was diagnosed early and Since then I become more conscious about the diseases. I made some life changing decisions like what I should eat and drink, how to protect my self from other diseases. Also I couldn’t believe if everybody is free of any diseases any more and cut social life. Because of those decisive decisions, I suppressed the advance of the viruses with out any medications. Now I am getting routine checkups every six month and feel healthy physically for now.
This is a preventable disease and can be medically treated if known on time. I really think this vaccination and awareness needs to be raised. Peoples need to be educated. I was completely ignorant to it before I get tested. People need to know how they can contract and how they can protect themselves, that is what we need to discuss with partner or with friends. When we think of marriage or serious relation ship, test for HIV shouldn’t be the only step we should do, but we must be tested for other STD too.
One time, I pushed a talk with my roommates about HBV and the vaccination. I insist talking about it until they get bored of me. Some time they consider me silly and the other time they fire back saying Vaccination decreases 25 % of intelligence. With no clue, I my self was fooled with the same sentiment and declined a vaccination when I was asked during my first job. If I was aware of it, a simple vaccine could have been changed my life. While I know the urgency, I was mentally not ready to tale them about my illness fearing they may reject me. But one morning I scheduled at workforce center and rushed them to appointment. I took the first shot with them just to show them how vaccination was important though I know it wasn’t helping me.
Many of us are reluctant to get blood test while we can afford it or have the opportunity to do so here in USA. I believe this may be because of fear of public stigma or luck of awareness. Being here in USA, we are in a better condition and can change that mental setup which is hunting us. In Africa, in addition to public fear, many straggle to cover their daily needs, they never think of check up till they tied to their bed due to serious illness including HIV. At that point their social life and health start to deteriorate than before.
STD diseases in East Africa has got less attention or overshadowed by HIV out break over time. STD diseases like Hepatitis, syphilis, Gonorrhea and others are very prevalent in poverty stricken Sub-Saharan Africa regions. They can be contracted through unprotected sex, body flood and sharing shrapnel. I wonder how many of us really know about those diseases and their way of transmission. To be frank, I didn’t know about hepatitis b before I get tested positive. Also the emotional and physical wound they inflict to patients and their family is mostly passed unnoticed.
If any body knows better how STD affect some one life, it is me. I learned a lot of lessons. I don’t want any body to go through the same way I want. It emotionally and physically hurting. Even when you need help about it from some one or advice some one get conscious abut STD but end up harassing you hurts more. Prejudice and rejections are out there following you every where as far as you say some one about your illness. As a human being we can’t mask our self from the reality or get intimidated, but we should embrace our problems and ignore those agonizing attitudes. Mental or physical illness shouldn’t deter us from realizing our American dream; rather we should believe in hard work, determination and responsibility will win the status quo.
Demonizing and criminalizing the patients is not a recipe to tackle the spread of the diseases but treating those who need with humanity and dignity can lead to productive discussion and forwardness. Also Patients with the disease should have a moral obligation to protect their partner and a society. They should leave behind their fear and come up with motivation to teach others. Despite we may think our self as healthy, it is strongly recommended to cheek for early diagnosable diseases including STD, Cancer cell, diabetic and so on. With no doubt, a simple blood test and vaccine can change your future. Now it is time to change your past habit and think of your health and future. Life is short, time is running, the destiny is on your hand, get tested today and save yourself.
Your comment is important; I will be reached at [email protected]