Duration 4min 14sec

KB: The clock had just struck mid-night. Only one second ago it was still the old year, 2003. And another second later it was the dawn of a new year. Just a few seconds for a big change. Similarly, with HIV – we are warned – it takes a few moments of pleasure to contract the virus that could change one’€™s life forever. That is a huge concern for Thabo, from Pimville, Soweto.

THABO: I think there must be more emphasis on education about condoms, abstaining and not being promiscuous. I think the whole issue will be stable’€¦ The government, I don’€™t think is doing enough’€¦ about AIDS. Many people (in) rural areas (and) everywhere have to wait for condoms for something like two weeks, whereas AIDS is still spreading.

KB: You stay in Pimville, Soweto. Is that what you’€™re experiencing ‘€“ that you don’€™t find condoms in your clinics?

THABO: We usually find condoms, but sometimes they are delayed.

KB: So, you actually go for some time without having any?

THABO: I have to dig in my pocket, go and find places to find condoms’€¦

KB: Ikageng is an 11 year-old youth. I asked him his thoughts on HIV and AIDS.

IKAGENG: I think it must stop’€¦ I know that AIDS kills people.

KB: Some pinned down the spread of HIV and AIDS to one factor – denial.

GERTY: My name is Gerty’€¦ AIDS is crippling us.   AIDS is crippling the nation because the nation is in denial hore AIDS is living, and it’€™s here.

KB: Who is in denial?

GERTY: Our people, like myself. They are in denial. They say ke sejeso. They say ke TB. They say ke pneumonia. But AIDS is AIDS. It’€™s killing us because we are in denial. We don’€™t want to accept hore AIDS is here and it’€™s killing us.

KB: How do we stop it?

GERTY: Abstain.

KB: Abstain from what?


KB: Others emphasised the importance of a positive mind and attitude.

ALITTA: My name is Alitta Mangoenyane. I think if you are diagnosed with HIV you must have a positive mind’€¦ Take AIDS as cancer. Take AIDS as sugar diabetes’€¦ You can live longer with HIV if you are taking care of yourself’€¦ If you take care of yourself when you are HIV positive and you are not in denial – you accept it, that it’€™s something that you have and there’€™s nothing you can do about it – but to take care of yourself. Have healthy food to boost your immune system. Then you can have a long life living with HIV. But what I believe at the back of my mind ‘€“ I strongly believe that one day there’€™s somebody but there who will have a cure.

KB: A wish we all share, but as yet there is no cure in sight. However, government’€™s promised roll-out of a treatment programme in the public sector is something all those living with HIV and AIDS and all those concerned about the impact of the epidemic will be watching closely in 2004. But sadly, there are still those, like Thato Dliwayo, who don’€™t seem to share in the hope for a country, and world, free of HIV and AIDS.

THATO: I don’€™t have any hopes. I know that we are going through a turmoil of life. We’€™re gonna go through turmoils and it’€™ll never end.

KB: Except for that, most of the comments we’€™ve heard indicate that there is a need to strengthen efforts aimed at reducing and preventing more HIV infections. Lastly among the New Year’€™s eve revellers, Magdalena identified the need to break the barrier of stigma that surrounds AIDS.

MAGDALENA: People’€™s wishes are to live together with those who are infected and those who are   terminally ill. My wish’€¦ is that we have to remove the stigma and be together because we are human beings.

E-mail Khopotso Bodibe


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