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Harrison - testing HIV-positive in the army

My name is Harrison, and I am 20. I tested HIV positive in August 2012, when I wanted to join the Nigerian Army. I am very healthy and strong, and I passed all of the screening exercises. In the running of the 3.5 km race I came 7th out of 150. But during the blood medical test the doctor called me in and told me that I had HIV. I was dumbfounded and dead inside. Throughout that week I was unable to sleep and eat. Both my parents are negative. 

When I went to hospital for medication, my CD4 count was high – at 687. The doctor gave me Septrin and told me to come back in December to know my CD4 count again, and see if they want to start treatment.

I thank God for my Mum, because she is the only person that knows what am going through now, for her advice and words of encouragement.
 

What we say: In some countries, in order to join certain professions they may require you to test for HIV. The armed forces is often one of these, based on the fact that they may exclude all people with a chronic illness. But as we see with Harrison, it is entirely possible to live a fit and healthy life, whilst also living with HIV. For further information, please see our pages on Taking care of yourself and Newly Diagnosed.

*These personal stories have been submitted to us anonymously by individuals who use our site. Some of the stories have been edited for clarity purposes. Some names have been changed to protect identities.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/peopleimages. Photos are used for illustrative purposes. They do not imply any health status or behaviour on the part of the people in the photo.

Last updated: 16 February 2017