by Abiodun Adeoye-Bamgbopa
Ex-student, Ajao Estate High School, Anthony Village, Lagos.
Naomi was born into one of the most respectable families in our area. She grew up to be an intelligent and hardworking pretty girl. She was always punctual to school, never missed classes and was one of the best student in her school.
Disobeying school rules, sneaking from school to fool around with guys and partying all night were things she didn’t like doing and couldn’t do because her parents were quite strict. Her father, a school headmaster, would discipline any of his children who messed up and her mother, a housewife, always kept an eye on her movement just has she did to other kids.
All through Naomi’s primary and secondary education, nothing could come between her and her studies. Things were going on smoothly for her until she got into the university. Without the parental guidance she was used to, Naomi stated getting involved with the “happening” babes and guys on campus.
By her second year on campus, Naomi had become a core member of the “hard guys and babes” club, going to parties and clubs every night. Soon, she stopped attending classes altogether and had to start going to bed with the lecturers in order to earn extra marks. She even slept with guys in and out of campus for money so she could buy clothes, shoes and other things that were in vogue.
Meanwhile, a few of her friends who cared, advised her to stop what she was getting herself involved in, but she shut them up saying, “I know what I’m doing, no one can make decisions for me.” Sometimes, she told them “It’s my life not yours,” or “mind your business.” Whenever they told her about getting pregnant or contracting a sexually transmitted disease, she said “I’m smart about it, I can’t get pregnant or contract any of those so called sexually transmitted diseases, I’m simply too good for that.”
True, she knew what she was doing. No one could make decisions for her, because it was her life anyway. But Naomi was wrong about being smart about sex, absolutely wrong. She probably could have been on pills or other forms of contraception, who knows? However, there are more risks involved in sex than getting pregnant.
It’s been barely four years that Naomi fell sick. At first, it was pneumonia, then diarrhea, soon after she was diagnosed as having tuberculosis and then, Kaposi’s Sarcoma. Larger and larger the diagnosis list grew, while Naomi herself grew thinner. After sometime, she couldn’t cope with her school work anymore, and the university medical center contacted Naomi’s parents to take her home for better medical attention. For weeks, she was on admission at a major hospital in Lagos, where she underwent series of tests. When the results were out, neither Naomi nor her parents could believe it – she was HIV positive!
Everyone was dazed about the news, but what could they do about it?, Nothing. It was just too late. All her hopes and dreams were shattered, her career ruined and above all, she brought shame to the family. Life became miserable for her as friends began to ignore her, no one wanted to be associated with her anyway, for fear of contracting the disease. Now, she would have to live with her predicament for the rest of the limited time she has on earth. All she now says is “Had I known!”
How sad. Naomi had the option of staying away from casual sex but unfortunately, she did not listen to wise counsel. If only she had listened, she definitely would not have contracted the AIDS virus the way she did.
Therefore, this message is for everyone who cares to listen, to teach us that no one can be smart about sex. With the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS around, anyone could be a victim. And remember, no one can be too good to contract STDs and HIV/AIDS because these diseases are no respecter of persons – be you rich, poor, young, old, pretty or ugly. AIDS is real, so, you better take care!