By Adebisi Adetunji
Sarah(not real name) is beautiful, tall, slender, dark in complexion and an orphan. She is in senior class three and getting ready to finish high school. She would love to continue her education but cannot afford it. Sarah lives with her boyfriend, Tom (not real name) who is 15years older and taking care of her. Everything seemed to be fine until one day she started to feel unwell. Terrified that she was pregnant, she rushed to the free clinic services offered to teenagers in her neighborhood (Naguru Teenage Health Centre). Tom had warned her about not wanting a baby. At the clinic her heart was beating so hard against her chest as she opened the result of the pregnancy test. It was a great relief when the test showed negative but something was definitely still wrong with her. Sarah decided to approach one of the doctors who looked nice. Another test was carried out and that was how she was discovered to be infected with Gonorrhea. Her mind went blank at first; she wondered how she had gotten infected. It wasn’t long ago she moved in with Tom but she had another boyfriend in school. Sarah wondered if it could have been her school boyfriend or Tom who had infected her with the disease. The doctor’s voice cut through her thoughts. “You have to bring your boyfriend as well so that both of you can be treated at the same time”, he said. The terrifying look on her face told the doctor that she was not ready to bring her boyfriend to the clinic.
A year later, Sarah was still coming to the clinic for treatment and she still had not told Tom about the disease. She wanted this circle to stop but didn’t know how.
Teenagers waiting for treatment at the Naguru Teenage health centre.
While waiting to see the doctor again at the clinic, frustrated, she looks around at the many faces of other young people like her. Frank’s(not real name) face stood out as she remembers that they had met at the clinic several times in the past two months. He recognizes her as their eyes lock together and waves at her. Sarah waves back and says hello. It was the STD clinic day and so they both knew that all the others in the waiting room where all there to get treatment. Soon afterwards Frank and Sarah bumped into each other at the door of the drug dispensing room. That was how they became friends. Frank shares his story with Sarah and it turns out that he was a hot talented dude in the school’s athletic team. The girls had crushes for him and he dated anyone he wanted. Now he misses running in the team and wishes he could turn the hand of the clock backwards. Frank wants to return to his love for running and therefore worked hard to follow his treatment. Sarah on the other hand struggles with the fear of losing Tom.
Sarah and Frank feel lucky to be able to have a centre to run to but must be willing to corporate and apply the wisdom of their counsellors and doctors. Our choices make or mar our life. Don’t let fear hold you back from making the right choice.