For many years, I’ve kept my HIV status private. But it’s something I’ve learned is a part of me. It’s a large part of me, but it’s not the biggest part of me. I want people to look at me and think, “That’s Rohit. He’s got HIV, but who cares?”
I never thought I would be in this situation and I know a lot of other people who have thought the same thing. But I was naïve, young and uneducated. And people need to be more educated about this topic.
HIV awareness is still an important issue. A lot of parents don’t want their children to be taught about sex or diseases related to sex in school. I’m not an expert on when to talk to a child about these things, but I believe that they should be educated about HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases when they are in high school. Ideally, students should be able to ask questions from someone who is living with HIV. This would lead to a real conversation where real questions can be asked and real answers can be given.
A lot of young people are having sex — whether we like it or not. If you’re a Christian, some of your children are having sex. If you’re an atheist, some of your children are having sex. If you’re a Muslim, some of your children are having sex.
A few people under 18 have confessed to me that they have had sex while in high school. I’ve done my best to inform them of the risks involved. They’re at an age where they’re not always emotionally mature, but their peers can pressure them to have sex. I always try to make them aware of the risk of pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases such as HIV, syphilis and gonorrhoea. I’m definitely not an expert, but I’m enough of an expert on my own condition. I know I need to learn more.
Educate yourself and others — especially the youth — and be your own advocate. You need to know about the medication you’re taking, who your doctors are and what kind of experience they have. For example, before I saw my oncologist, I researched about his education and experience. I did the same thing for the oncology orthopaedic doctor who removed my tumour.
I hope this advice helps someone. It’s something I’ve been wanting to get off my chest. And I appreciate you reading it. Have a great day!