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Life your heads high

I'm 29 years old from South Africa, a born again Christian and a single mother to a 4 year old boy. I'm HIV negative and thought it's very important that I share my story.

My sexual behavior history is not something I'm very proud of. I had never drunk in my life before. In 2007, my close friend and I started experimenting with alcohol for. During that time we used to go out on weekends and drink. Twice we came home with strange men that we met at the bar and had sex with them. I used protection on both occasions but the condom broke on the second occasion.

A month after that, I had a terrible sore throat. It was so painful I couldn‚t even eat anymore. I paid a visit to the doctor who gave me antibiotics. A few days after that, I started developing sores in my nose. I got so stressed and started reading about HIV signs and symptoms on the internet and on any pamphlet I could get my hands on. It felt like I had most of the signs that they mentioned on those pamphlets. I started getting cold like sicknesses every month. Diarrhea, irregularities in my periods and white tongue followed in 2008. Recently this year, I got severe vaginal thrush. All these signs got me even more scared to go and test. Every time I thought of doing the test I would look at my son feel so miserable. I used to think about who'll look after him when I get sick and when I‚m gone and all those sort of things.

In August this year (2009) I decided I want to get a life policy. The broker told me I'll have to do a series of blood tests, including an HIV test. I thought long and hard about it and decided it was about time I found about my status and deal with consequences. He came to fetch me from work and took me to the lab where my blood was drawn. That night I prayed like I have never before in my whole life. I asked God to work his miracle and make my blood test HIV negative. I was pretty sure that I was HIV positive because of all the symptoms that I had experienced. Part of me was thankful because if it wasn‚t for my insurance application, I would have never had the guts to go and do the test on my own.

I waited for the results for 3 weeks. Yesterday (17 September 2009), I decided it‚s about time I find out the truth. First I phoned my broker who told me he hasn't had any correspondence from the insurance company. I then phoned the insurance company myself to inquire about this. The consultant asked for a few personal details just to confirm it was really me on the phone. Then she said "I see we've received your test results and cholesterol is fine, blood pressure ok and you're HIV negative". I could not believe my ears, it was like I'm in a dream. She continued and said "a counter offer has been made to you for this policy because you're a little bit over weight. It will be sent to your broker and you'll just have to sign it and send it back to us then your policy will be approved".

I was calling from my desk at work. After ending the phone call I went to the toilet and started to pray and singing, praising God. I shouted and couldn't stop thanking him. I believe that in spite of my reckless sexual behavior in the past, he still kept me safe from contracting HIV and he had a valid reason for doing that.

In conclusion I just want to say, to those of you who are living with HIV, I know exactly how it feels like. For 2 years I have been living in limbo and I was certain I had contracted HIV. I admire your courage to even take your time and share your experiences with other people on this website. Lift your heads high and never allow your positive HIV status ruin you.

To those who are HIV negative, make sure you stay like that. Love and support HIV positive people and know that their status doesn‚t make them different from us. "United we stand and divided we fall". Together we can fight and defeat HIV.


Sent via Email September 18, 2009 from South Africa.


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