The Sealed Envelope

Today I spent time at the counseling center. Patients come to the counselor for pre test counseling. There is a short history oWf why they want the HIV test and a short discussion. They enter the room and look very anxious about the visit. The counselor reassures them. They then go for THE test and return in 10 minutes to the counselor with a SEALED Paper. The results of this test can dramatically change their life. Many of them highly suspect they are positive due to their symptoms and other young women know they have had unprotected sex so want to know their status. he counselor then slowly opens the paper and reports- negaitve or positive. If positive they go to the doctor and if negative they receive counseling. The counseling for either restult is the ABC, A meaning abstinance, B meaning be faithful and C meaning condoms.

The first woman was 42 and had a husband and two teenage children. Her husband worked in Abuja. She had been feeling sick and suspected her results which were positive. During the interview her husband called and she quietly reported the results and agreed to get tested. She was sad and weepy. The counselor however told her to be positive, to stay with husband and to stay happy.

The others were young women who had unprotected sex. They were going into a new relationship and wanted the TEST done . They recieved counseling and left the room happy women.

It is amazing how they seem casual about this but it will dramatically change after the test, especially if positive. This center at Faith Alive sees about 75 or more people a day and there about 15-20 positive reports daily in only this clinic. Therefore, the math would indicate the problem is epidemic in Nigeria. However, they pray ,pray and pray with each indiviaul person to give them support and encourage them to take the drugs regular as well as good nutrition, rest, exerecise and a healthy lifestyoe ;

This opens ones eyes and heart to the Nigerian friends.

Jean Gall

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