21 stories 21 days: 17th July

…people think the virus lives on our hands

‘I felt free [when I knew my status]. I was not troubled a lot… I did not encounter what others do when if someone knows that you have this disease they don’t like having you in their home, they do not invite you. No, that did not happen to me. I quickly see if someone is discriminatory towards me and I just go home.

Some people are very uncomfortable if they know you are HIV positive but are afraid of telling you that, they fear you will be hurt.  They do not understand that this thing just happened and we did not go looking for it. Others discriminate against us even though they do not know their own HIV status. I am in a better position because I know my status and am on treatment.

Stigma and discrimination is there…  I don’t know if people think the virus lives on our hands, they do not know that it is in the blood. It happened to me one time we had gone to assist in a funeral and one lady said “I don’t want to work with xxx”, saying my name, “because she has this thing.” I asked her if she has gone to test but she did not respond.

I told her… ‘if you are still stigmatising others it shows you do not understand’. People think because I am HIV positive, that is the problem – but really the problem is not knowing your HIV status… It would be better if everyone knew their HIV status…

In churches I am treated like other people. I think we are regarded as the same, equal from the beginning to the end, there is no difference. They love us…

The preacher at church encourages me. He says even if people say bad things about me living with HIV it does not stick to me, it’s just words. But for me walking around with people saying things it’s painful, it’s difficult to explain, it’s insulting…
Futhi Motsa, female, 43 years, Swaziland

DSC_0665Every 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




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