As much as I have wanted to open up, there is no way that I would have done it. In my society
and from where I come, talking about these issues is considered taboo; no one can open up and
talk about it without being reprimanded. So how could I get help? And to whom then could I talk
without being judged? That’s when I thought of AIDS Counselling Trust.
It all happened like this: on Christmas Eve, just like any boy my age, I was too excited, maybe to
the extreme. Christmas is a time when most people, especially young men, like to try new things.
I had just turned 22 the previous week, and this, together with the joy of Christmas, contributed to
what transpired that night.
So, it happened. I wanted to try something new, so I paid up for a sex worker, went with her, and
we had sexual intercourse. Yes, we used protection, but something strange happened, and the
condom burst, and at that moment I was paralyzed with fear. I didn’t know what else to do, so I
ended the sexual encounter abruptly. Three days later, I began to feel a sensation of pain and
itching on my manhood. That’s when the lessons I’d taken with the AIDS Counselling Trust came
I remembered a lesson in which they were talking about sexually transmitted diseases and why it
is essential to get treatment fast if one experiences any symptoms of an STI. At first, I tried to
push the thought away, but the horror of untreated STIs they told us about was getting bigger and
bigger in my mind. Still, I didn’t know how to proceed because of stigma and fear. I knew I had
to do something, and fast.
Then I remembered that ACT has fatherhood clubs in my area. I visited our village head, who is a
member of these clubs, and without telling him my problem, I convinced him to give me the
contact details of one of the guys from ACT. I then called and explained my situation; the guy
encouraged me to go to the clinic immediately, assured me that everything that would happen
there would be highly confidential and referred me to the sister in charge.
I hesitantly went there, but once I got there, all the fear disappeared because the nurse was very
friendly, and she made me feel at ease. I was given my injection, and now I’m feeling much
better. In fact, she gave me advice on how to take care of myself and assured me that I wasn’t
alone and that there were many people in similar situations. If it wasn’t for ACT, who knows
What might have happened to me?