Shawn Decker|21.12.2015|MTV Real stories Shuga

#MTVShuga4 delved into many different themes that people could relate to. One topic that got everyone buzzing was what it’s like to be in a magnetic relationship.

In series 4, we saw Sheila and Femi and Leila and Weki both coupled up. But what’s it like to be a real life Weki or Femi? Shawn Decker shares his story with us…

As someone who is HIV positive and in a relationship with someone who is HIV negative, I was excited to hear that a serodiscordant (“magnetic”) couple was going to be included in season 4 of Shuga. Femi is HIV positive. His girlfriend, Sheila, is HIV negative. I want to share my reaction to what these characters face, episode to episode, and share some personal stories about what my own experiences have been.

Hope you find this insightful!


In episode one, Tobi sees Femi picking up his HIV medications at the clinic. Thinking that he’s discovered a secret that can be used to his advantage, Tobi visits Sheila to inform her of Femi’s HIV status. Disgusted by Tobi’s underhanded motives, Sheila asks him to leave. Unfortunately her brother, Michael, has overheard the conversation and when he is chastised for his “filthy” habit of eavesdropping things get personal: “You’re dating an HIV positive guy and you’re calling me filthy?”

Little brother, unsurprisingly, is quickly sent the way of Tobi: out the door. But the information he has learned regarding Femi’s HIV status doesn’t stay behind in Sheila’s apartment. She is called to meet her family for an emergency meeting regarding her relationship. When Sheila tries to speak she is quickly cut off. The family reunion ends abruptly after Sheila expresses interest in someday marrying Femi- her father’s response? He forbids her to continue to date the man she loves. Finding no point in attempting a rational discussion, Sheila walks out to the loud protests of her parents.

sheila and her brother 2

All of the outside drama causes tension in Femi and Sheila’s relationship. Noticing the social toll of dating him, Femi suggests that they cool things off as a way to give her some momentary peace: this doesn’t go over well. Sheila takes this as yet another rejection from someone she loves, but fortunately Femi is quick to show her that his motivation in suggesting a break was in her best interest, not his, and wasn’t something he wanted at all. The tenderness of their relationship wins the day, and the blind, knee-jerk objections of others only strengthens Femi and Sheila’s bond.

THE MAGNETIC COUPLE ISSUE IN THIS EPISODE: What happens when others discover the positive partner’s status and how they abuse that information.

WHAT THIS WAS LIKE FOR ME: In my relationship with Gwenn this hasn’t been an issue. Mainly because I went public with my HIV status at age 20. (Backstory: I was diagnosed with HIV at age 11, and turned 40 this year, yay!) Gwenn and I met a few years after I was open and comfortable with my status. We were both interested in educating about HIV… the first thing she knew about me, actually, was my HIV status!

I must say, though, that I have had experience with my HIV status being disclosed by others. I grew up in a small town and, when I was diagnosed with HIV, the word got around pretty quickly. There were quite a few times that, when I liked a girl, someone would warn them about me. The first time I realized this was happening was a year after I tested positive- and it made me very upset. As a teenager, I never wanted to think about having HIV, and figured I’d only have to deal with it when I got sick.

To watch Season 4 in full, check out Shuga on YouTube!

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