I am a 42 year old woman living in Upington, I have two sons who are 18 and 24 years old. Fourteen years (14) ago I was diagnosed with HIV, I was devastated by the results.
But my children made me able to stand up, move forward and realise that my life was not over. My youngest son was a great inspiration during the time that I was so down and he was just four years old. He cared for me, brought me water and also made a little pap, he stood on a drum to make a little pap for his mother.
Today fourteen years after I was diagnosed, I am living a normal and healthy life. I am on ARV medication since 2004 and get a lot of support from my family and friends. I decided to end the relationship with the man who infected me, abused me, and I can proudly say today that I do not regret my decision. My children have been very important in my life and on the 12 August 1999 I decided to change my life.
My life is normal like other people who are healthy and my boyfriend of 12 years is HIV negative and he goes every 6 months for an HIV test. I am not saying I am cured because the virus stays in your blood forever, I can say with pride that ACCEPTANCE, a HEALTHY LIFESTYLE was the healing of my status. Today I am a big inspiration to many people in our community and please use condoms and live healthily. “Be free with your life”.
HIV and TB is not the end of the world, it is what you do with it that counts. When someone is diagnosed with HIV and TB, it’s not the end of the world , you can still lead a normal healthy life, with good and bad times , being loved and unloved.
My friend Toni is a wonderful example of living life to the fullest, she doesn’t take lightly to ignorant people. She has been epileptic since her childhood and on treatment. In 2007 she was diagnosed being HIV positive. Both parents have passed away. Because of her HIV status, people became more hostile to her, until she came face to face with a guy who was enquiring about being infected with HIV through kissing. And her response was, you would need to pass over 25 litres of saliva through a deep cut in your mouth, for that to happen and obviously that is normally impossible.
People were whispering about AIDS, when they passed by Toni. She met a guy in Ezibeleni whom she fell in love with and was loved by him and his mother without any stigma or discrimination. She stands by them. She went on prophylactic treatment because her CD4 was 299.
In January 2012, she became sick and was admitted to Queenstown Hospital. Her uncle and aunt came and took her to Mthatha General Hospital, she had bloods drawn and the results came back with low CD4 count, a TB screening was done and came back positive. She started on TB treatment and two weeks later on Haart.
She says she goes to her boyfriend who is more caring than her relatives. She adds “I never loved anyone as much as I loved Temba right now, I came to him as an incomplete person and there is no pressure intended, when I say this, but where I am right now is where I want to be for the longest time possible there is life after HIV-virus, life goes on. He accepts me just the way I am.
I am a 39 year old, mother of 5 children ages ranging from 3 to 16 years old, and my four oldest are attending school. Even though I am unemployed I have cared for my children and myself for the past 20 years without any of their fathers help.
I am grateful that I am alive. I am grateful that I am a mom and woman. I am grateful that I have a shack, where my children and I can sleep, a shack that my children and I can call home.
I am grateful that I can get money from the government for my children and I, so that I can feed and clothe us . I am grateful that my children go to school so that they can be educated eventhough their school fees are not up to date. Someone once told me, everything can be taken from you but your education never. Many may think I’m careless with myself and my children, that’s not true. There are many single mothers out here and when I sit and look around me , I’m proud of myself for caring for my children, sending them to school and being able to feed them everyday when they come from school.
I am grateful for my and my children health. I am a grateful mom sitting next to my shack in the sun, waiting for my children to return from school