The fat lady from the Ghana hospital rather aggressively stabbed my finger with a pointed object, the blood started to flow. She picks up a glass tube with rubber gloves, leeches a drop of blood into the tube, and then puts one drop into the small indented spot of the AIDS Tester.
A few minutes later, it reads "Negative."
Andy Graham of HoboTraveler.com does NOT have AIDS, or SIDA in French or Spanish.
The AIDS test took 15 minutes, however the standing in lines, paying the money, being moved from office to office would scare anyone into avoiding an AIDS test.
Cape Coast, Ghana West Africa --- Saturday, January 8, 2011
Having Fun Getting an AIDS Test
It was a lot of fun getting this AIDS test here in Cape Coast Ghana; this is an experience I highly recommend. I have now had four AIDS test in my life, and all of them felt like I was walking on stage to be a comedian, as if somehow, I was an actor in a play where all the other actors were saying nonsensical comments, and I was to answer seriously.
Have you ever seen Abbott and Costello do this comedy scene called,
"Who’s on first?"
The staff at the Ghana Hospital kept telling me, you need to "Cancel," well I kept reaching for my money, so I could cancel the bill. Finally, they decided to stop taking my money. The person repeated, you need to "Cancel" "Cancel," the woman will be here to cancel you.
Ghana English is a mystery to me; I have finally learned how to say,
Therefore, with a heavy Ghana English accent, I said,
(You need to make sure your voice is low and gruff, there is no separation between the let and the s, no apostrophe.)
Truly, a great experience, I introducing myself to the various players in this truly intriguing and wonderful game of life, I say,
"I am Andy Graham and this is Cynthia X, she is from Cote d’Ivoire and speaks French."
That is a big sentence, and none of the players can understand me, I repeat a couple of times, look pleadingly at the person, waiting for her name. I am always amazed how many times I have to get extremely direct with people; it is obvious that on planet earth, exchanging of name is very rare. 90 percent of the time, I need to get insanely direct.
"What is your name?"
Somehow, this is a secret and an invasive question, well, to me if you are going to poke me with something and make me bleed; you had better tell me your name.
The Consultation about AIDS
I has the same ludicrous type of conversation in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I walked into the office on what I think was the seventh floor of the city county building. I look at a couple of men and said,
I recognized by their demeanor that they were gay, so I decided to have some fun.
"I am here to get the good housekeeping stamp of approval."
"You are in the wrong office."
I think to myself, well that one flew over their heads, ok, I say,
"I want an AIDS test."
"Is it free?"
"Why do you want an AIDS test?"
I look around, and say,
"Ok, this is the AIDS testing office; do I really need to give you a list of good reasons to get an AIDS test?"
2. Allow my partner to feel safe.
3. This girl "Jackie" refuses to do what I want until I do so…
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound a cure."
The three gay boys say,
"Ok, you are in the right office, and the test is free."
They walk me over to a chair, I sit down and they look me up and down, I finally help them along the path to awareness.
"I am not gay."
"---- ooooooooh they wheeze, too bad."
They relax; they can stop eying me up and down, trying to decide if I am one of them.
I am joking,
"Hey, are you going to give me a pile of free condoms?"
I am joking too much and not nervous, they look at me,
"Do you have AIDS?"
"How the F###k would I know, that is why I came here?"
"Come on boys, get with the program, you are the ones doing the test."
The gay boy says,
"People who want an AIDS test, believe they have AIDS."
"So you are saying to me, there are no responsible humans in Fort Wayne."
It goes on and on, and they said later,
"we cannot give you a piece of paper saying, you do not have AIDS."
"Either you give me a proof that I am not positive, or I just take it."
"I cannot walk out of this office without proof."
"My girlfriend would assume I have AIDS, I must have proof."
"We cannot, we need to protect your civil rights."
"If I have AIDS, I want you to publish it in the Journal Gazette Newspaper, and remove my ability to hide I am a killer."
This went on an on, I finally threatened the three boys long enough, the produced a paper saying I did not have AIDS. The whole situation was set up to protect the person who has AIDS, to keep this disease behind closed doors and a secret and in the dark file.
The lady asked,
"Are you married?"
"Five times and I am going to make this women number six."
"Why so many wives?"
"I am a rich man, and rich men in Africa have many wives."
"Where are you from?"
"You are not African?"
"But I want to have six wives, seems like a good way to get my clothes cleaned in Africa."
Cynthia is mad,
"You have six wives."
"Not more than one per country."
I finally get the two straight players in this acting scene to calm down.
"Please give me the test?"
The nurse ask,
"Do you know the best way to get AIDS?"
I said in serious,
"Share a needle with another person who has AIDS."
"You know, drug use, addicts."
"No, by having sex."
"The word best infers you want to know the most efficient way of passing the disease."
"You are mean the majority of cases."
"I disagree; I think it is homosexual anal sex."
"The wall of the ass is only 2 millimeters thick and breaks easy."
"The walls of the vagina is maybe 10 and are more durable."
"I think a lot of gay boys are having rough sex, and then going home to screw their wives."
I pipe up,
"Is having a blood transfusion in Ghana dangerous?"
I am getting nowhere, and quiz her,
- 1 in 20 pregnant women maybe has AIDS here in Ghana, but is obvious she is guessing.
- 2.8 percent of the people in Ghana have AIDS. I said,
"About the same as the USA."
"You need to do a better job of falsifying the statistics if you want the rich world to send your country money."
"Have you heard of the theory, that there are hairline cracks in the penis, and this is how the blood is transferred during heterosexual intercourse?"
-- She is shaking her head at me, I am not suppose to that honest and open.
Hmm, I am way above my 2-3 allotted questions in the African culture, the women wants me out of the office. She says,
"You do not have AIDS."
"Can I have the paper that says, I do not have AIDS?"
"No, that paper is for our records."
"We must protect you."
She walks us to the door, hands me the file that has all the papers proving I do not have AIDS. She says,
"Take this file back to the main office."
"Not a problem."
She was serious, she fully expected me to walk the file back to the main office. I walked out, Cynthia is hot, and I mean she is fuming, she is angry!
"You have five wives?"
I look at her,
"I was lying."
(I know I am in the circus, and someone has drugged me.)
She is walking behind me, I am trying to open my backpack and stuff the two files into my backpack and scoot for the road before I am caught by the fat nurse. I made it; I successfully stole my records from the Cape Coast Ghana Hospital.
My Serious Conclusion
AIDS or SIDA is a killer, a person who has AIDS is a dangerous person, and we are expected them to give up sex, and to be honest. Somehow the world needs to grow up and accept the reality, people hide this type of information, it is not human nature to be honest and forthright.
Babies and new life is a great and wonderful thing, the love and sex that is involved is the most natural thing on the planet. The good Gods want the secrets and things hidden by man, the dark, the ugly brought out into the light and exposed.
Religions and humans have many secrets, when another person wants me to keep my mouth shut, to keep a secret, to hold something in private; I see this as a sin. My job and the responsibility of all humans are to be honest and open, to not hide reality.
It is not a human right to keep AIDS a secret, I cannot walk around with a gun, but people with AIDS are allowed to walk around with a deadly disease. It is simple to stop AIDS, we need to test every person on the planet, and the disease would be eradicated in a few years.
It is an unreasonable request of humans, to say, "Stop having sex." This is like trying to get a politician to be honest; it is not going to happen. However, the governments of the planet could easily test all their citizens, and make is public knowledge how is carrying a loaded gun in their pants.
If there is a God, if there is a good God, he or she wants us to live in the light of day, not in the darkness of a lie.
Why is there so much hassle in taking a 15-minute AIDS test?
Do I feel guilty taking these records? No, they were mine, and it is the responsibly of any person to bring things kept in the dark, into the light. (Good enough to take a photo.)
We must stop protecting secrets and things in the dark, this is just politically correct group trying to hide the truth, that enables them to lie and cheat.
While living in Fairfield,Connecticut I spent a lot of time on line during the winter months and came across a European AIDS study which used prostitutes in Amsterdam and Paris for their data. It also included South Africa and a couple other African nations in their study. The findings were SO different than what is taught as the absolute scientific truth in the States to millions of Americans. From what I've read from American publications the exchange or mixing of any type of body fluid can lead to AIDS infection. In the lengthy study I read it pointed out that in in majority of cases that the "receiver" is by far at greater risk than the "penetrator" and that engaging in oral sex with an HIV positive does not lead to AIDS infection in the great majority of cases because of the digestive ingredients in saliva hampering the survival of the virus. Even vaginal sex has a very low infection rate among non-needle using prostitutes meaning like you mentioned above that drug addicts sharing syringes are BY FAR at greatest risk.
I've always found being a sarcastic smart ass poking humor at various people and situations came naturally but as I age have restrained myself more since I know such humor can get one in trouble in various parts of the world. Of course each to their own, stubborn determination to continue to poke fun or jokingly critical comments among many expats and world travelers is not uncommon. My view is why cause bad vibes when nobody but me understands the comedy of the situation anyway? I do laugh or giggle but usually such reaction help others around me to lighten up aslo everybody LIKES TO LAUGH!!
There is a belief that people learn by reading, yes, about 1 in 1000. To increase this percentage to maybe 10 in a 1000, a writer needs to somehow push the person off their normal beliefs platform.
I am good at pushing them off.
There is also this belief, that writers must love their readers, and write to them in a soothing and enjoyable manner. I believe to be a great writers, the person I need to write to is me, then allow others to read, and truly not care what they think.
I know I am not Mark Twain, and I am not able to spin a phrase the same as him, and I know I never will.
AIDS is a horrible thing, and the reason why it is horrible, is because nobody is willing to solve the problem in an adult and effective manner.
I showed the test, 15 minutes, the fat lady would not allow me to photograph the test she was giving me, it was some dark secret. I had to get on the Internet and find a photo. It was difficult to find information on the prevention of AIDs, or the slowing of AID by testing.
This is what causes headaches at work. At the top of one sheet it list the date as 1/7/2011 and at the bottom its 7/1/11. plus the 01 looks like 06 and 11 looks like a 4.
Our hospital changed its name and for over a month we have been unable to send ct scans to Isreal for off hour readings. It is comical the amount of time wasted trying to correct this problem.
The amount of medical errors from simple errors is scary.
On your way to South Africa you might want to talk with SA nurse. I read they had a very good reputation and saw one a work. It was like watching a Special Forces at work, truly impressive.
p.s. I find your behavior to be mean
I have had patients yell,curse and threaten me and i held me tongue. I am thankful that it does not happen daily.
That was funny Andy and thoughtful, all at the same time.
Why does something that seems so simple, become such a long drawn out bureaucratic mess? That you turn to humor is a survival mechanism. All you can do is make light of the lunacy that surrounds you. And you humor is funny--you had me cracking up.
When I go to Chinese restaurants, I always ask if they have brown rice (whole grain rice). Almost always they don't, but for some reason, they will not just come out and say, "no, we don't have brown rice". It will be drawn out. Sometimes they point at the fried rice and say that's brown, or they act all confused like they don't know what I'm talking about. Now maybe they don't know what brown whole grain rice is, but I tend to doubt it.
Good job getting these facts across. Good on you for taking ownership of your med files.
I hope that you realize that blood isn't the only fluid that transmits HIV, which then sometimes leads to AIDS. From your post above about hairline penis cracks to transmit blood, I feared that you might be under such a misconception. Semen, breastmilk, and vaginal fluids can transmit HIV and any mucous membrane (inside of the nose, corners of the eyes, most people's gums, etc) will allow infection.
Thanks for further explaining AIDS or SIDA.
At the end of all this analysis, the only way to feel safe is to have your partner or partners get a test, this optimizes the odds you will not get AIDS to the highest level.
I have received four test in my life.
I am extremely good at mathematics, and can continually estimate or calculate the risk.
Personally, I am going to focus my energies on dying in a car accident, and avoiding drug users and people who have extreme deviant sex desires. I will search for women who want to have heterosexual, one partner relationships that lead to marriage.
Basically, when a woman wants to talk a lot of wild stuff, she removes herself from my list of potential relations.
Cynthia raised her status, by requesting we get a test.