Years ago, I was in a taxi when a woman wearing a T-shirt written HIV positive came sit next to me. I was freaked out and worried even though I have read about how a person gets infected, never mind that wearing a t-shirt is meaningless. I wish I could meet the woman again to apologize for the ignorance I had then. Many years later, I have not only helped HIV positive patients but also have friends that are living with HIV. I have grown to hate it when people say a person has AIDS referring to a healthy person living with HIV. The utterances are often clouded with some silly judgmental attitude.
HIV is there in the world just as it is in the church. If we still have our youth falling pregnant in the church, we surely cannot continue being ignorant. I am for abstinence, however, we must teach our fellow brethren about the realities of HIV and to embrace those living with HIV.
If you think that a person living with HIV got it because of being promiscuous think again. How many women are being infected by their husbands whilst they are faithful and honouring their matrimonial beds? I know there are faithful men who get infected, but women are more exposed than men.
A young lady was surprised to discover that she was HIV positive although she was a virgin. She was born with the virus. Does it mean she has done something wrong?
Next time you think of calling a person living with HIV as having AIDS, perhaps think deeply about yourself. What makes you special that you do not have it? We are all exposed and can contract HIV just as some of our friends were unfortunate to contract it.
South Africa cannot afford to keep on being one of the countries with the highest HIV rate. We must be a responsible nation. No matter how holy someone looks, do the right thing and know their status. You can still have a healthy relationship even though your spouse is living with HIV and you are not.
Having friends who are HIV positive has made me realize that living with HIV is not easy but requires a positive mindset just like living with any other chronic condition like diabetes. There are people to look up to, Zackie Achmat, Criselda Dudumashe, Justice Edwin Cameron, Magic Johnson and others that you may know of. In case you did not know, many people in South Africa die of diabetes related complications than AIDS related complications. It is all in the mind