When I was 10 years old I got a rash all over my body and I was starting to get sick regularly. I had moved in with my grandmother in Johannesburg after the death of my mom. The rash on my body quickly turned to bubbles that secreted liquids. My brother accompanied me to the clinic because these were starting to concern my grandma and me. I remember that day when I was at the clinic and the nurse called us into the room to check what was concerning my health. We did not spend more than an hour at that clinic, the sister told my brother to call an elderly person so that she can approve some tests, an HIV test to be specific. That time I was nervous, freaked with the thought of being shoved with needles. But it wasn’t that bad, and soon the nurse was done with the test and she told us to wait for 10 minutes for the results.
Disaster came, I was told I was HIV positive and I was going to be married to ARV’s for the rest of my life. In that moment we could not hold our tears, they fell like a waterfall. We had seen people dying of HIV/AIDS in the township, icons like Nkosi Johnson and many other people on TV. But we never thought for a moment that someone in our family would die of HIV/AIDS.
Immediately I had to start treatment. I can’t remember what my CD4 count was or my viral load, but it was so bad that I had to start medication. I’m not ashamed to go to the clinic to get my medication because it keeps me alive. People will always talk about your situation to shy away from their own situations.
All my siblings were tested; no one else in my family was living with HIV, except me. This was strange since I was the middle of three children. This confused us until early this year, 2015; when my aunt told us the story of how I got infected. Apparently when I was about three years old, growing up in Mpumalanga, we found used injections and as kids we played with these injections and that how I got infected with HIV.