We know that we should not fear
I have lived with HIV for one and a half years… It was the sickness [that made me get tested]…I could not tell what I really had. I would have this and that. I ended up falling sick and I went to the hospital where they told me to test for HIV. I went to test for HIV, they told me in the hospital that I was going to die and I ended up taking the antiretrovirals… Here at home my wife knows… The other family members don’t know, it might happen that they know but I did not disclose to them.
I was not terrified because I was not going to run away from this, it is part of life and everything because sickness is found in human beings. I was grateful that it had been detected so that we knew what was wrong. I was grateful because I knew what to do other than going up and down saying there were people who were bewitching me, going to all the traditional healers. I have stopped going to traditional healers and my healer has become the hospital. I was so glad to find the truth about my health, and if I respect the instructions I will live.
I would be telling lies if I said I disclose to others… I am not afraid of anything, it is just that you would tell someone who might help you but you cannot tell someone who might not help you. I would be wasting my time by disclosing to them because even if I am sick they don’t help me. The only people in the family who sometimes help me are my sisters-in-law or my neighbour… I try to avoid someone who discriminates against me so that I would not be stressed by their reactions.
Discrimination among people not living with HIV or those who did not know their HIV status has reduced because in the past people were not well informed about HIV. If a person had HIV that person was treated as an animal that person was not allowed to touch anything but people are now informed about HIV.
…the rural health motivators are the ones who help us because we never thought we would live with HIV. The way they talk about it we know that we should not fear.
Sipho Tsabedze, male, 38 years, Swaziland
Every day from the 1st of July until the 21st of July we will be sharing extracts from 21 oral testimonies of 21 men and women living with HIV in Swaziland, Ethiopia and Mozambique. We’ll share these extracts here on this blog – with daily links on twitter and facebook. On the 21st of July, our partner the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) will launch a publication of these testimonies at the International AIDS conference 2014. Read more about 21 stories 21 days. Read more about the project