The stigma was within me
‘I had difficulty in disclosing my status at home because I thought they would discriminate against me. But luckily my mother was able to make me feel comfortable enough to tell her, because she was very close to me…we sat down and talked, she asked me about the results.
Truthfully there was no discrimination by others; the problem was within me, I was thinking like… now I am using this spoon maybe they will put it to one side like other people do. I had heard that they do that to other HIV positive people.
The stigma was within me and I was trying to fight it, but at home there was no stigma or discrimination.
That is what we fear, we think “What about my friends, what will my parents say, how will they look at me?” I will find my friends laughing behind my back and I will know they are laughing at me. Yet life just goes on and once you accept yourself, it is nice…
It was difficult, but as time went by I told myself that I had made mistakes in life but I don’t want the next person to make the mistakes I made. I want people to come out and go to the hospital and take treatment while they are still strong. It is so painful seeing a person being carried or pushed in a wheelchair to the hospital, so I ended up joining this campaign of helping others.
My future is on the bright side… I have big dreams, so I don’t think that being HIV positive will prevent me from doing what I want. I want to do a lot of things. As long as I live under the sun, I am going to prosper.
I would ask those who are HIV positive not to look down upon themselves, to understand that you are a human being and you are alive. Be proud of that and continue taking your medication… If you have time to exercise do it and eat your fruit.’
Sabelo Gwebu, male, 25 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