I’m guessing by now you all have noticed that I am a very determined young lady who has a drive to succeed in life. I’m very proud of myself by the way so I guess I match up with the standards that I have set for myself.
Now that I am 18, I have made a list of things that I need to do. The list includes making sure that I vote in the coming elections, and visiting Tebelopele to get tested for HIV, if for nothing else, but to know my status.
So I went to Tebelopele a few weeks ago with a friend of mine. When we got there we saw a lot of people waiting in line, anxious to get tested. I must applaud Batswana for this. It really is pleasing to see that more and more people are interested in knowing their status. I just hope that people don’t just go there when they notice their health deteriorating; we all should be going there even if we feel fresh and healthy.
However, my excitement of knowing my status was quickly erased when we were told to come the following day as it was full. Because of my eagerness to get tested, I asked if there was another Tebelopele in town, but no, this was the one and only centre in Gaborone, we were and we were told that that was the only testing centre. I don’t know if this is true but if it is then I am highly disappointed.
I just imagined the number of people that have been told to turn back because the centre is full. I know you can still get tested at the clinic but a lot of us prefer Tebelopele. I bet a lot of those turned back did not retrace their steps the following day. I am one of those because I really have not had time to go back but I do promise to go back. Now just imagine the people who are HIV positive but still don’t know because of inadequate testing centres. Some of them only had encouragement for that day.
But of all the disappointments, it was the attitude we got at the centre that takes the cake. A first person we met at the centre, wondered aloud what young girls were doing at a place like that. I felt really insulted because the vibe that I got from this lady was that she thought we were bad girls. But this wasn’t the case, we just wanted to know our status, is there anything wrong with that?
You see why we are lacking behind! Until we change our attitudes as Batswana then will never go anywhere. We always have negative thoughts, thinking positively is a taboo with us. I mean instead of the lady congratulating us for our eagerness to know our status, she made us feel bad about our move.
That aside, I really hope someone from the health department is reading this because it doesn’t make sense to encourage people to get tested while we don’t have enough facilities. It’s time to walk the talk!