Victory over AIDS

Minphong Konyak

Moatemjen is dedicating his life as a counselor for PLWH (People Living With HIV/ AIDS) at Drop-in-Center Dimapur (Native Oasis). He is a soft spoken tall youth of 34 years who, in another dimension would have been a contented family man living a normal life with responsibilities of a father. But drastically, he is in another world which is looked upon by our society as a curse. He is HIV/AIDS positive and lives with his fellow positive people sharing and easing their burden and also spreading invaluable message to those who are fortunate enough not to be affected yet.

He shared his testimony on World AIDS Day at Mon. He expressed how AIDS changed him overnight and how untold miseries haunted him in the days and months that followed. But speaking to the enthralled crowd he said how his life now has changed from misery to a new one equipped with a purpose. He expressed his gratitude to those who helped him transform his life and declared that his sole purpose of life now is to help prevent spread of AIDS and to help make life worth living of those who are unfortunate like him.

An interview with optimistic Moatemjen about his life reveals that he was born in Dimapur way back in the early 70s. He grew up as any normal child with dreams to make it big someday. But his life changed in 1987 when he was in class 8.

He sadly reminisces that as a young innocent boy he got into ‘petty drugs for enjoyment and fashion through his friends. But eventually, he sank deeper and deeper until he was completely addicted and there was no turning back. His moral and physical health was in ruin which made him do the test in March 2003 at Civil Hospital Dimapur. His staggering world collapsed when he was tested positive. He was certain that he got infected through injection.

On being asked how he felt then, he said that he felt his world fell apart. It was a painful and emotional mixture of shame, tear, contempt, uncertainty, rejection, etc. He felt he was all alone in the crowded society and even feared that he had grievously sinned against God. He remembers that life was bad enough when he was taking drugs but it became worse when he was tested positive pointing out the fact that being positive changes life completely.

But now, he says that he is living a normal life better than his previous one. He had an aimless life before but now he has a mission to care and reshape the lives of HIV positive people though he lives with the fact that he is a positive. He reveals how it feels to be a positive and how they are looked down by society in a negative way. But having experienced the trauma, he believes that life can still be started afresh if proper care and love is bestowed to positive people. Therefore, besides spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS, he entreats all to give a little more effort to reform the lives of the unfortunate. He gratefully says, ‘I am very, very fortunate to have been under good hands whose help made my life meaningful once again and I truly believe that all of us in our own humble ways can change lives of the positive ones if we care’

The writer is Press Assistant Shansham Organisation Mon