“I Hid My Status Out of Shame,” Gay Rights Activist Discloses As He Celebrates 18 years of Living With HIV

by Opeyemi Alimi
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Bisi Alimi

Bisi Alimi, a Nigerian gay rights activist, revealed that he has been living with HIV for the past 18-year but chooses to hide his status to avoid being shamed, and stigmatised.

Mr Bisi, who gained international attention when he became the first Nigerian to come out on television, disclosed this on Wednesday, in a statement shared on his official Instagram account.

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In his post, the activist narrated how he got tested and found out he’s been infected with HIV. He revealed that two years before he was tested, he had lost his best friend to the virus.

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Mr Bisi noted that he had to keep his status secret because he realized that HIV does not kill but shame, stigma and discrimination do.

The statement reads:

“Eighteen years ago, at the National AIDS conference in Abuja and with nudging from friends, I walked into a testing booth for the first time.

“I walked out with HIV positive test result. Two years before then, I had just lost my best friend to AIDS, and he was around 26 years.

“I have been living with HIV since I was 29. This year I clocked 47. “Between 2004 and 2009, I kept quiet about my HIV status because of shame and stigma. Then I realised HIV doesn’t kill, it is stigma, the shame and the discrimination that does.

“Here is to 18 years of positivity and many more years to come. Please, get tested today.”

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