A mild drama played out itself yesterday at the Area F command, Ikeja area of Lagos, following accusation and counter accusation between a 67-year-old Nigeria- based Irish man and his 31 -year-old Benue state lover , over who infected the other with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus , HIV.
Things fell apart for the duo , after the lady identified simply as Helen , stumbled on the anti-retroviral drugs her lover has been secretly taking , a discovery that shattered the eight-year relationship like a pack of cards. While the lady accused her lover, James Turner, who works for a construction firm, of deliberately infecting her with the deadly virus, she also alleged that he slept with her friend and other ladies, with the sole intention to infecting them with the virus as well. It was gathered that when Turner discovered he was living with HIV, he sent his wife back to Ireland.
Crime Guard learned that the situation reached its peak after the Irish man who has been living in Nigeria for 40 years, reneged in his promise to part with N2.5m to Helen, as settlement, following the latter insisted on quitting the relationship.
Recalling with a pang of pains how the incident she claimed has changed the course of her life started , Helen, who is into real estate business , said : “ In January 2013, Jim ( her pet name for Turner) was sick, so we went to see his doctor at Lester clinic, in Ikeja. When we got there, they ran some tests on him because he was sweating and also running temperature.
The doctor gave him drugs for malaria. In that hospital, if one is sick and has such high temperature, they will run a HIV test on the person without his knowledge. After running the test on Jim, the doctor invited us to his office and asked if he could talk to him in my presence but he said no, that I should wait outside. The doctor thereafter, broke the news to him. When we got home, he was quiet, he did not tell me anything. I realised that he was taking a particular medication which he hid from me.
There was a time I even drove to the hospital to pick a brown envelop which was sealed, for him. It was his medication but I did not open it. Curiosity sets in “ When I discovered that he kept hiding his medication from me, I asked him what kind of medicine he was taking and he told me that it was for malaria and Typhoid. I did not say anything because I thought that the prescription was for a long period of time. He continued taking it for about three to four months. So, one day, I opened the medication and wrote out the name. Thereafter, I goggled the name on my phone to know what type of medication it was. To my shock I discovered it was an anti-retroveral for HIV!.
“ I went to meet Jim in the living room and asked why he was taking medication meant for people living with HIV and also asked if he was HIV positive but he said no. He told me that Dr Omole gave him the medication for his leg pain, which has caused him sleepless nights. I told him I did not buy his explanation and demanded that he gave me the doctor’s telephone number in order to call him and ask why he was placed on antiretroviral drugs but he refused. So, while he was sleeping, I took his phone and got the doctor’s number.
When I called the doctor to inquire, he said he could not discuss such matter on phone, that I should come and see him at the hospital the next day. “When I visited the hospital, the doctor dropped the bomb shell that Jim was HIV positive, from the first day he came there. When I told him I was Jim’s girl friend and that he did not inform me about the development, he said Jim told him that I was not his sexual partner but just an employee. Worst fear confirmed
“Since the visit to the doctor with Jim, his love making with me increased as if he was madly in love with me. The doctor told me he would need to run a test on me, that I might be lucky not to have been infected. He did and the result showed that I was HIV positive. But he said that it was not a confirmed one yet, that he would need to send my blood sample to Yaba for a confirmatory test. When the result from Yaba came out, it confirmed my worst fear, I was HIV positive! Thereafter, the doctor invited both of us to his office. All I could do was to cry and cry in disappointment and shock because I never had headache, I was never sick, to indicate I could be infected with HIV, in fact, I looked healthy.
At that moment, I wanted to report Jim to the Police over such act of wickedness but the doctor prevented me, saying I might have myself to blame because of the stigma . I was no longer comfortable living with the man that infected me with HIV . So, I moved out of his house to my rented apartment. Deliberate spread of virus Helen at this point, started crying, wishing she never met Jim , a man who once meant the whole world to her. After a moment of waiting, she continued. This time around, she disclosed that rather than prevent the spread of the virus, Jim allegedly started sleeping with ladies including her friend. Hear her: “
Before I packed out of his house, I came back home one day and met him pants down with my girl friend. On that day, we were at home drinking and relaxing, when I told him I was going to a friend’s birthday at Victoria Island. He asked if I would be spending the night there and I told him yes. But I had a change of mind and returned home unannounced, only to meet him naked on the bed with my girl friend, who never knew he was HIV positive. At that point, I threatened to report him if he continued that way”.
Visit to the Police station On why they had to drag themselves to the Police, Helen said: “ He promised to settle me with N2.5 million as a parting token, after the doctor made him realize that what he did to me was bad. The money was meant to take care of my education and also to create a means of livelihood for me. He promised right in the doctor’s presence to pay me off. But when we got home, he told me to go to hell, that there was nothing I could do to him. He also said I should be careful of the stigma associated with my letting the world know about my status. He told me that he had nothing to lose as he is older, while I am just a young girl.
He said nobody will like to associate with me and that I might end up committing suicide”. Attempt to commit suicide “ Even at that state, rather than give me words of encouragement, Jim would taunt me . He told me that the best solution for me was to go and die because nobody would be willing to marry a lady that is full of diseases. At a point, I started thinking of taking my life, as depression started setting in. I thought I ought to have been married at 31 and be raising children of my own.
Thoughts, such as who will marry me, how do I know a man of same status , how do I bring myself to telling any man that I am living with HIV and the stigma, got me scared. Part of the reason I had to report him to the police was because of the humiliation from him and also to get the settlement”, she said in tears.
She lied, she infected me – foreigner
Efforts to get the reaction of James Turner, proved abortive as he refused to speak with anyone. However, the only statement he uttered was “ She is a liar!. She infected me with HIV. Ask her what happened in 2013. Asked why he has been sleeping with other ladies without condom, he kept mum. At a point, Helen went to his rescue, preventing journalists from interviewing Turner. She was heard whispering to him “you caused it all”
. In response, Turner said “no, you caused this embarrassment to us”. Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Dolapo Badmus, said that investigation into the matter had begun with a view to ascertaining who deliberately infected the other with the virus. She said “ Section 24 of the country’s sexual act states that if anyone knows he or she has an infectious disease or has a virus and deliberately infects another person, that section will take care of the charge and the person will be charged to court. “ We are still investigating to know if there was actually a deliberate infection . As at now, we are still treating the complainant(Helen) as the victim”, Badmus said . Vanguard