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Opinion

My STI struggle after being thrown out of a government hospital

The worst period in my life was when I suspected that I had a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

In Kenya, just like many other African countries, accessing healthcare services from government facilities is a herculean task for members of the gay community.   

Due to the fear of arrest and being mocked, ridiculed, and discriminated against, most gay people opt to stay away from government-run facilities.

Those with money can at least afford to pay for private health facilities, which are gay-friendly by comparison.

What I thought were normal aches and rashes caused by waxing turned out to be the worst nightmare of my life.

After days of experiencing anal pain and discharge, my fear of having contracted an STI started building. 

But with no money, I could not entertain the thought of seeking help from the government-run health facility near my home.

For two weeks, I endured the pain of suffering from something I could not tell. 

Passing urine was painful, going for long walks was hurting, and even sitting down was troublesome.

Unable to walk for even short distances, I locked myself in my house until a friend came to my rescue when he sensed that something was not right.

My friend knocked on my door one morning and demanded to know what the problem was.

Since he was a fellow member of the community, I opened up and told him that I feared having contracted an STI.

He suggested that we visit a health facility and get medical attention.

But there was one problem – we had no money, which left us with only the option of enduring the trouble of visiting a public hospital as a gay person.

True to our fears, when we told my ordeal to the doctor, he asked if I was gay because there was no way I could develop an anal rash if I were straight, according to him.

Without carrying out any tests or even taking time to examine my situation, the doctor told us to our faces that he would not waste his time treating gays who should be rotting in hell. 

He threw us out of his office.

Dejected and confused, we returned home. 

I resorted to using traditional African herbs with the hope that they would help.

One week later, things worsened. My entire body developed rashes and became weak.

Worried and terrified, I called my friend who had taken me to the public hospital. 

He came and told me that we would have to borrow money from his cousin to facilitate my treatment in a private hospital.

Tests there showed that I had gonorrhoea and had also developed anal warts.

The service at the private hospital was friendly and helpful. I was treated and given more medication to take home.

After two weeks, I was booked for a check that confirmed that I had been healed of the infection.

The happy ending to my story is that later on, the friend who rescued me became my boyfriend.

We fell in love and have been married for the last five years.

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