By Hannah Musa
It is a cold, dark winter’s day and I`m recovering from the Christmas excesses and preparing to leave the family home and return to my normal life. The phone rings and a conversation that will stay with me for the rest of my life unfolds…
“Hello…Is this Hannah?”
“Hello. This is the clinic…Your HIV test result has come back and it is positive.”
Shock and silence, as the colour drains from my face, and everything starts to play on*124/t in slow motion. Imagine how you would feel if you heard those words? Or can you not imagine it, as you do not think it would ever happen to you, as you are not the sort of person.
Let me tell you about myself then and you can decide if I am the sort of person. At the time of my diagnosis I was in my late twenties, white British, a committed Christian and from a stable and loving family. I was married and after giving my life to Jesus in my late teens, I had not slept with anyone until I met my husband and was faithful to him during our marriage. I had dedicated my life to serving God overseas and worked with street children. I had never taken drugs and I had lived the life that is considered clean living and right.
So you can imagine how shocked I was at the diagnosis. My head was swimming and I couldn`t understand why God had allowed this to happen to me. What I soon found more shocking was not any of the medical implications but firstly how low my self-esteem became and how difficult it was to talk about it. This was not helped by the usual response by health professionals of “Oh, so how did you get that then?”
As a Christian I looked to the church for a Godly response but in the majority of books or articles I read I was confronted by the same old story – of HIV+ people choosing immoral lifestyles and they are now reaping what they have sown. Or alternatively the church seemed to be very quiet on the issue. At large conferences where every other issue under the sun was mentioned HIV in the UK was not talked about and I was left feeling invisible.
It frightened me when God clearly told me that He was calling me to fill this gap. I had no idea how to even go about this, and I was still struggling to share my story with people I trusted. But God has been so faithful and time and time again has paved the way and opened more doors than I could have ever imagined. I`m only a few months into this journey and I have already made many mistakes and I often think I should just give up. Its scares me beyond belief but I know that God has not allowed me to go through this for me to stay silent. Things must change in how society and the church views HIV+ people and I want to play a part in making that happen.
That telephone call changed my life forever and I did not think I would ever be the same again. My life is of course different but God still sees me the same and I know that He is walking this path with me. My HIV result will be used for good and to make us all into people who are positive about everyone, whatever their status.
Hannah Musa is now an SRE Educator and offers to go in to schools, universities and youth events to speak about HIV and all aspects of relationships and sexual health. If you would like to know more, visit her website: http://www.positivespeaker.co.uk