One of the most frequently asked questions from hundreds of emails I received after December 1st is : Will you be able to get married and have a child if you are HIV positive? [ or if you are going through some major medical issue ].
Let me cut to the chase here and say a bold yes. [ If I want to ]. Being Positive does not preclude anyone from getting married or having children – thank God for science.Research suggests that anti-HIV therapy during pregnancy plus planned caesarean delivery may reduce the risk of transmission to as low as 1 in 50 women. ( AidsMap) The question is ‘how many of these women are accessing healthcare? If you want to have a healthy child and you are HIV +, quickly get on therapy and follow your doctor’s advice.
To be in love or starting to date again should not scare anyone. And you don’t have to start looking for HIV positive people to date. There are people out there – though very few- who care less what your sero status is. The best prevention you can give your lover/spouse, if they are negative, is for you to ensure you are on treatment. Yes.
The second largest study – 052- to look at whether people with HIV become non-infectious if they are on antiretroviral therapy (ART) has found no cases where someone with a viral load under 200 copies/ml transmitted HIV, either by anal or vaginal sex. Although this study continues into 2017, with best practices and eliminations of other STDs, it’s almost impossible to infect your partner with HIV if you are adhering to your treatment. Even if you don’t use condoms. (AidsMap)
Having established the foregoings, the most important thing for me are the psychosocial issues surrounding the quest for marriage and having a child. It is more of a traditional thing for most of us in Africa to want to get married or have a child by all means. In my opinion, I think it’s a very dogmatic way of living our lives. Why live to make others approve of you? It’s not worth it. Marriage or having children do not guarantee our lives will be better.
As someone who had lived with these societal expectations for many years myself, I became healthier and emancipated the day I dropped these societal impositions. Check this page soon to see my journey into marriage, love, parenting and more. I have seen people in marriages who are very happy, and I have seen people in marriages who are very miserable. I have seen people with children who are very happy.
Just the same way I have seen people with children who are very lonely and miserable in their old age. What brings happiness is living our best lives. Marriage or being being married does not solve all our problems if we enter into it for all the wrong reasons. Being in love is much better. Marriage is a legalistic way of looking at love. It allows for claims, societal celebrations and approvals of our mates. You don’t have to be in love to get married.
The two are not mutually exclusive although they are better when they go hand in hand. Hence, the sham marriages around us today. But you have to be in love to say you are in love. Love has no true love or false love. Marriage on the other hand can be falsified. I’d rather you pushed towards being in and finding love. And if that love leads to marriage, how lucky are you! Embrace it. Do it to gain the legal benefits if you have to marry.
Having a child is about the same. If you can have your own child biologically, embrace it, and cherish it. Science also has made this possible. We should look at this at other time. If you cannot, go pour your love on other children around you. Children are the most visible victims of undernutrition. According to worldhunger.org, ‘children who are poorly nourished suffer up to 160 days of illness each year. Poor nutrition plays a role in at least half of the 10.9 million child deaths each year–five million deaths.’
Further statistics reveals that undernutrition magnifies the effect of every disease, including measles and malaria. The estimated proportions of deaths in which undernutrition is an underlying cause are roughly similar for diarrhea (61%), malaria (57%), pneumonia (52%), and measles (45%) (Black 2003, Bryce 2005). You can be a godmother. A foster parent. An adoptive father. The list goes on.
Ever heard of John H. Johnson and his wife Eunice Walker Johnson? The owners of one of the biggest media platforms in the world, Ebony magazine. This couple never had their own biological children. They adopted Linda Johnson-Rice, who carried on their legacies. History has thousands of such couples. Having a womb and a dick do not make parenting. What makes great parenting is our heart of love.So there you have it. Remove the limitations and the dogmas surrounding your life, and go have some fantastic authentic life. Love. Travel. Eat well. Go volunteering. Give. Buy chocolates. Go partying. Dance. Laugh. Read new books. Write. Take pictures and #LIVE