Video: ‘Ok, I have HIV, I want to live a long life’

Video: ‘Ok, I have HIV, I want to live a long life’

To commemorate Youth Month in June, Health-e News is broadcasting a five-part adolescent health series on Morning Live (SABC 2). This insert – the third in the series – follows Aphiwe Thamela, an HIV-positive youth who is both raising a daughter and making a difference in her community.

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Aphiwe Thamela discovered she was HIV positive when she was three months pregnant with her daughter, Siphokazi. Without prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission services, HIV-positive mums have up to a 30 percent chance of transmitting the virus to their babies.

Because Thamela found out her status she was able to take the necessary steps to try ensure that Siphokazi remained HIV negative. Due to Thamela’s adherence to the PMTCT programme, Siphokazi remained HIV negative. “My baby comes first so anything can happen I will fight for my baby because I love my baby so much,” Thamela told Health-e News.

Despite facing some negative community stigma towards HIV, Thamela is determined to demonstrate that she can life a full and happy life with HIV. She volunteers at her local park, picking up litter and making it a safer place for the children in the neighbourhood. She uses this opportunity to talk to community members about her status.

“If I open up about my status I give other people confidence to open up about themselves especially if it was a secret. It gives them courage,” explained Thamela.

This video was originally broadcast on Morning Live (SABC 2) on 19 June 2015