HIV and Me

in SOUTH AFRICA / Health & Environment

2jpgBy Lesego Tau

January 20, 2013

I tested HIV-positive a couple of years ago. Since then I have been  fighting a constant battle between wanting to keep a sense of normality in my life, in terms of making future plans and having career goals and things like that,I just couldn’t handle being labelled and being discriminated upon.When I was first diagnosed I thought,I am going to kill myself and get it over with,not thinking at the time for the baby I was carrying. But meeting a few people  who were stronger  and understood the virus better than I did, really helped me a lot.

I was young, confused and preparing to mother a baby I didn’t feel connected to–a baby I blamed for the many things that were going wrong in my life. Then, I was introduced to GlobalGirl Media an NPO that trains young girls in broadcast journalism and film making. I had no clue how my life  would change, but I am glad I was introduced to a new world filled with hope and new dreams for my future.

Ever since World Aids Day has been celebrated in South Africa on the 1st of December each year-lst year for me was the first time it after disclosing my status and declaring to be living openly with the virus. To me that was scary, but since then I have never looked back. On the 30th December 2012,I was invited to be a panelist alongside Vusi Sithole a community health and wellness consultant who spoke about his experience with HIV/AIDS in Soweto and the impact of intervention program. I must say it was very informative. Another panelist that was there was Sthokozo Mabaso also from Global Girl Media, who shared her experiences on attending the 2012 International Aids Conference in Washington,D.C.

The main discussion on the day was: How we can decrease HIV infections, how we can eliminate discrimination and also decrease Aids related deaths. It was a very heated discussion,which touched everyone personally and emotionally.

I am just glad that I had the opportunity to let people know that this is not a death sentence. HIV has made me vocal, it has allowed me to look at myself and know that I can make a difference. I am not as shy as I used to be in situations. I am happier than I have ever been. I am helping my peers,making a difference by being an example,I think I am making a positive statement and I am living my life.