Ours was an arranged marriage. So it took us a while to develop feelings for each other. And just as we were beginning to enjoy being together and looking forward to start a family, Rohith started feeling unwell.
Rohith worked in the emergency department of a big hospital and was quick to run all the required tests. We were dumbfounded when one of his tests turned out to be positive. He was HIV positive. We were shattered to say the least. I still remember the night after he tested positive, we did not sleep a wink and kept sobbing in each other’s arms.
Why did it happen to us? The question kept on hitting us hard. We were truly heartbroken.
Next morning, we started with the treatment procedure and Rohith’s wellbeing became my only concern. I tested negative but was told to follow all necessary precautions. Our love grew stronger during those tough times. When he was declared as having “zero viral load” after just three months of regular treatment and continuous prayers, our happiness knew no bounds.
We couldn’t wait to realize our long held dream of having a baby. Though it was safe for us to plan pregnancy, I was advised to take Pre-exposure prophylaxis medication for HIV, as an added layer of protection.
PrEP (Pre Exposure Prophylaxis) pills for HIV is a preventive medication given to individuals at risk of contracting HIV such as women like me who wish to conceive and have an HIV- positive partner (sero-discordant couples) , gay couples and transgenders who may have multiple partners and drug users who share needles.
At that time PrEP medication in Bangalore was not that easy to get. But I guess, it is much easier now. You just need to search online.
The doctor explained the details and we began the initial investigations. After getting a ‘go-ahead’ from the doctor, I started taking the PrEP medication, a small pill a day. I experienced mild headache for a few days but was fine thereafter.
Luckily, I conceived soon after and had a great childbirth journey. The moment, we held our baby in our arms, is still etched clearly in my mind.
Now, three years later, I am perfectly healthy and we have a fulfilling life.
I have learnt the hard way that life keeps on throwing challenges – small and big. We just need to hold on and never give up hope.
Perhaps, there is no one who has a perfect life, so take your share of challenges head on, and keep living beautiful lives.