A message for all HIV-positive children and teens/Un mensaje para todos los ninos VIH positivos y jovenes
This video blog is especially dedicated to Edison Patitas de Algodon and all the children or teens that have HIV like me.
Este es un video que le dedico a Edison Patitas de Algodon y todos los ninos que tienen el virus del VIH o que sus papas o alguien que amen tienen el VIH.
As I reflect on World AIDS Day last week, I still marvel at the Stigma attached to HIV/AIDS especially in my own people. ( I stand corrected). A lot of people still associate the illness with promiscuity and homosexuality which is so wrong. The virus is no respecter of gender, creed, religion, sexual orientation, educational level, level of affluence nor colour.
South Africans, especially black South Africans need to be educated or need to be knowledgeable about the illness so they are in the know that it is not always associated to promiscuity or homosexuality.
I have found that people sit for years without disclosing their status even to their loved ones for fear of the stereotype, and stereotypes are created by people. We need to get to a point, as people, where we remove the scales on our eyes where HIV/AIDS is concerned.
We live in a society where adultery has become part of many marriages. There are many married people who have been faithful yet their partners not and this has resulted in them contracting the virus.
We live in a society where sexual assault has become a more frequent crime than crimes that are income generating and some of the victims contract the virus from such.
We come from a time when even medical professionals were not knowledgeable about the virus and did not protect themselves or treat patients with caution and this resulted in they themselves contracting the virus and also some patients.
We live in a society where poverty elevation is near impossible and those who find themselves in extreme poverty would and do anything for a loaf of bread, sometimes this anything is selling their souls to the devil.
Some people are so lacking in knowledge that they can’t protect themselves, and like the proverb says” My people perish because of lack of knowledge”
So the next time you hear of someone who is living with this virus or died from it, never assume you know their lifestyle or their sexual orientation. Rather try to walk a mile in their shoes and imagine what it feels like to wake up knowing there are little buggers eating up your good cells in your body and the challenges of living like that.
Like a doctor said on a talk show, as far “as he’s concerned in South Africa, everyone is positive until proven negative.”
World AIDS Day is not only a day to remember those who have lost their lives or who are surviving with HIV, it is a day to honor all the courageous people who have dedicated their careers and their lives to fighting HIV. It is a day to celebrate those individuals, groups, and agencies who are always working hard to find new ways to improve the lives of people living with HIV. This is a day to applaud our triumphs and thank all those who have helped us along the way. THANK YOU!
The state of the epidemic has changed drastically in South Africa, from AIDS being perceived as a “death sentence” to a chronic, manageable disease. So many of us are living positively and we owe this to the advanced treatments that have been design to help fight the virus.
- da sassi diva, South Africa
I was reading a book yesterday that presented the notion that the fear of the “the thing” is often actually worse than the thing itself. I have found this to be particularly true in the case of my HIV. At this point (HIV + for 5 years), what I have done to myself in worry, self-stigmatization, and anxiety is far worse than what the virus has actually physically done to me. My goal for the year is to live in the healthy body that I have today and not worry about the “someday” possibilities of what HIV may bring.
Since its inception in 1995, World AIDS Day has been a day of reflection within the AIDS community. Over the past 18 years we have collectively memorialized the millions of lives lost and honored the brave souls who have been diagnosed all while encouraging the masses to get tested and help raise awareness. This World AIDS Day I’d like to propose that we, as a global society, go a step further in our efforts to end AIDS and commit to addressing, assessing and eliminating the economic, racial and gender inequalities that contribute to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
- Connie, USA
HIV stops with me! Please, if you know you have the virus, disclose before engaging in sexual relations. Do not put anyone at risk because of selfish reasons, or because of STIGMA, or because of being turned down. I have never been rejected, and I believe it is because I bring the subject up and feel the person out. I do not let my emotions get too deep before I disclose. I also know that a person has all the RIGHT to not want to deal with this situation or any situation! This is respectable! Many write me from all over the world and tell me that they are married, and they are afraid to tell their spouses because they cheated or because of the fear to be left. PLEASE, it is much worse if you put someone at risk! We have to take responsibility in our actions. It is very important to have self-love as well, and know that you are worthy and not worthless for having a virus!! Once you start having worth and know how important you are and how blessed someone is to have you, you will attract people that see you exactly for who you are. Do not be afraid!!
- Maria, USA
Eradicate IGNORANCE through power of KNOWLEDGE. Let the light of knowledge) shine on HIV, and let there be no more darkness (ignorance) that give rise to fears, stigma and discrimination. Let our goal for 2014 be to make the world a better and happy place for People Living With HIV/AIDS to live in. With Acceptance. With Love. With Respect.
HIV does not discriminate. Regardless of sexual orientation, religion, economic class, or race, you are at risk. I once considered HIV a homosexual or IV drug user disease. I really was clueless that despite being neither, I was still at risk. I was just a small town girl, college educated, and thought by only having sex with those that I was in a committed relationship, I was ‘safe’. But I am HIV positive. Get educated and protect yourself. No one deserves to feel the emotional pain, physical problems and social stigma that come along with this disease.
- Kate, USA
I want people all around the globe to know that having an HIV-free generation is possible. But we as individuals have to play our role in this fight. If you have never been tested, then get tested, know your status, get counseling and if necessary, take your drugs. To pregnant women with HIV, seek the necessary counselling, because there are service centers all around to prevent your children from getting HIV. To people who are sexually active and have tested negative, you have to either use protection or abstain to remain negative! And I don’t want to forget the government, international bodies, NGO’s and individuals that contribute in this fight – do not grow weary! If you haven’t started contributing to the fight then start now – it’s not too late!! Having an HIV-free generation is possible and it truly begins with you!!!
- African leaders, keep the promise on HIV/AIDS!!!
- Test! Test!! Test!!! And Treat! Treat! Treat!!
- We need research on vaccine, microbicide and treatment.
- The time to act is NOW.
- Bose, Nigeria
HIV can affect any one of us, we all need to look out for ourselves and others.
My message for World AIDS Day: HIV stops with me! Please, if you know you have the virus, disclose before engaging in sexual relations. Do not put anyone at risk because of selfish reasons, or because of STIGMA , or because of being turned down. I have never been rejected, and I believe it is because I bring the subject up and feel the person out. I do not let my emotions get too deep before I disclose. I also know that a person has all the RIGHT to not want to deal with this situation or any situation! This is respectable! Many write me from all over the world and tell me that they are married, and they are afraid to tell their spouses because they cheated or because of the fear to be left. PLEASE, it is much worse if you put someone at risk because of our mistakes! We have to take responsibility in our actions. I love my partner Lisa, and I gave her the choice as I have given the choice to all my ex partners…they have a right to know. Most of the time they will respect your honesty more. It is very important to have self love as well, and know that you are worthy and not worthless for having a virus!! Once you start having worth and know how important you are and how blessed someone is to have you, you will attract people that see you exactly for who you are. Do not be afraid!! If you go through any type of rejection, you move on and understand that the person was not meant for you. The perfect one will come your way, and as I always say, “YOU TEACH OTHERS HOW TO TREAT YOU.” One more thing, I am very blessed to have an HIV-negative partner who loves me and understands my struggles, but I do not like when others say, ‘Aww Maria, you are so blessed that Lisa accepted you with what you have!!!!’ Ummmm, NOT! I am super blessed to have a wonderful person, but she is blessed as well to have a human being like myself. She knows she is blessed to have me, and I am blessed to have her.
One of the most important things we must learn is that we don’t owe anyone anything for being with us! It is just a virus and if a person is educated, they know this!
KNOW YOUR WORTH! KNOW YOUR VALUE! AND PLEASE GET TESTED, PROTECT YOURSELF AND GET EDUCATED!
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER AND WE CAN STOP THE SPREAD OF HIV IF WE DO ALL THESE THINGS! That is why I chose to disclose and educate…and not spread this virus!!
WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER AND #HIV stops with me
Love and light,
Maria T Mejia
El VIH se detiene conmigo! por favor, si usted sabe que tiene el virus digalo antes de tener relaciones sexuales. No ponga a nadie en peligro por razones egoístas, o por #ESTIGMA, o por miedo a ser rechazado. Nunca he sido rechazada y yo creo que es porque toco el tema y sentir como piensa la persona sobre el virus. No dejo que mis emociones sean demasiado profundas antes de revelar que tengo el virus. También sé que una persona tiene todo el DERECHO a no querer vivir esta situación, o cualquier situación! Esto es respetable! Muchos me escriben de todo el mundo y me dicen que están casados y tienen miedo de decirle a sus parejas porquel@s han engañado o por el temor a ser abandonados . Por favor, es mucho peor si se pone a alguien en riesgo a causa de nuestros errores ! tenemos que asumir la responsabilidad de nuestras acciones. amo a mi pareja Lisa, y le di la opción como le he dado la opción a todos mis ex parejas…tienen derecho a saber mayor parte del tiempo respetarán tu honestidad . es muy importante tener amor propio, saber que eres digno y no eres menos.. por tener un virus! una vez que tu comienzes a tener valor propio y sabes lo importante que eres y atraerás a personas que ven exactamente lo que eres y lo que vales< 3 no tengas miedo! si tienes cualquier tipo de rechazo…entiende que la persona no era para ti la persona perfecta llegara y como siempre digo…TU le enseñaras a otros cómo tratarte y uno cosa más. Me siento muy bendecida de tener una pareja VIH negativa que me ama y entiende con mis problemas. Pero no me gusta cuando otros dicen, ‘AWW Maria , eres tan bendecida que Lisa te acepto con lo que tienes!!’ ummmm NO! Estoy súper bendecida por tener a una persona maravillosa .. Pero, ella es bendecida igual de tener a un ser humano como yo ella sabe que es bendecida de estar conmigo y yo soy bendecida por tenerla a ella.
Una de las cosas más importantes que debemos aprender es que no le debemos nada a nadie por estar con nosotros ! es sólo un virus y si una persona es educada sabe esto!
CONOZCA SU VALOR PROPIO! USTED VALE MUCHO!! Y PORFAVOR Hazte la prueba ! USE PROTECCION Y APRENDA SOBRE EL VIRUS DEL VIH!
EL CONOCIMIENTO ES PODER Y podemos detener la propagación del VIH SI hacemos todas estas cosas! es por eso que elegí divulgar y educar! y ayudar a detener que se propage este virus!
Todos estamos en esto juntos y # VIH se detiene conmigo,
Amor y luz,
Maria T Mejia
This is something that should have started a year and a half ago, but I guess there is no better time like the present. This is my story: I am a 33 year old female born, bread, buttered in Johannesburg, Soweto to be exact. A God fearing, God loving, highly favored, spirit-filled woman of God.
Nothing, and I mean nothing could have prepared me for the news I received on the 14th June 2012, a few days before my 32nd birthday and a week before my 2 month relationship anniversary. Let me state why I highlight these two events preceding my life-changing day, I had, had a bad two years and my birthday had been depressing since and had not had such a beautiful relationship in forever and I mean forever. I was contacted by the South African Blood donation to meet a nurse, who due to lack of professionalism, postponed twice but eventually we met. She took me through their processes and eventually why I could no longer donate blood. I was HIV positive, God is God, I always thought when I got such news I’d be admitted into a mental hospital or be sent straight to the mortuary, but I took it with grace (for lack of a better word).
The reason I think was because the a few months prior to this I had selflessly taken care of an ill friend for about three months, so I thought I knew as much as I could about this illness. I left that meeting questioning God, which I know is and was wrong, I saw this new relationship disappear like my life was about to, I saw the disappointment and resentment from my family towards me and my friend that had shared this funny illness with me.
The first person I spoke to was my partner, I will repeat God is God he also with fear in his eyes took these news with grace. He lost his best friend a few years ago as a result of an AIDS-related illness. No one, nothing ever prepares one for such, especially someone who spent most of their twenties very self absorbed and relationships seemed cumbersome.
Honestly, I chose to take three strong sleeping pills and shut it out. I had an event at work the next day and exams in two weeks. I focused on the tasks/events in the near future. I went for my first CD4 count…and I forgot to mention I was having issues at home. My mom was not in support of my new relationship and cursed me daily, and on that very day I returned from getting my results she said I would contract diseases and I did say I was not a dater. Talk about salt to the wound, hence the three sleeping pills. Well Moz came and went and now I had to really deal with the reality. I had shared the news with one member of my family and it still remains like that to date.
The results of the CD4 returned, CD4 count was 629. I decided to read as much as I could about the illness, the terms, and everything else I could. All I had to fall back on was my spirituality and that I dived into, my dear partner and little cousin.
The next few months became strenuous at home, work too–my contract was not being renewed and my fear was this would definitely crack me but again God being God got an extension and decided to leave home. I got a place of my own and this gave me an opportunity to deal with my illness, my relationship and my studies. I still kept at my spirituality and learning about the illness.
I now take better care of myself–rest, avoid stress and pump my body with good food and vitamins. I decided to share the news with the friend who I had helped nurse back to health, that opened a can of worms another story for another day. She cried and apologized but the God fearing in me reminded me of all His promises and that He will never give me too much to bear and that this would work together for my good.
I will admit days are not the same. I fear being ill but not death for some strange reason, so I try avoid being sick at all costs. My CD4 count increased to 849, and I’ve joined a disease management through my medical aid and after a recent meltdown, decided it was time to join a support group.
I would like to help those living with this pandemic and looking for areas where I could use my talents, skills and experience to help. This would help me channel my energies to be of aid to AIDS. I have a supportive partner who I didn’t mention is negative and sometimes breaks my heart he’s so selfless and never wants to see me sick or broken. He’s my gift from God.
Truly grateful and humbled by some bugs that live in my blood.
Why Highly Favoured would like to be a part of A Girl Like Me: I would like be a part of AGLM because I would love to share my story, my hardships and victories with people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. There is still so much to be learnt by people, I’ve often found myself in conversations with people that I think are generally knowledgeable and I’m always left in shock and disappointment where HIV/AIDS is concerned. Also I love writing and I would love to write about something I have a passion for, for lack of a better word. This has become I part of me, I’ve embraced, I live with it, it is who I am.
Sonya posted a new blog, “Using HIV Tests as Prevention?” on A Girl Like Me’s Voices from our Allies:
Why am I getting myself all worked up, because you don’t want to listen or take advice? Sometimes it really feels like I am talking until I turn blue in my face, and we all know that is something that cannot happen literally. However, I am finding that many are simply taking the HIV test as an afterthought, almost like almost like some people use pregnancy tests as a method of contraception. Praying at the time that the test doesn’t come back positive and then going right back out there since their test came back non-reactive and sleeping with people without using protection all over again!
Did we forget the purpose of the testing? Or why we have it? Or are we continuing to make up our rules as we go along? Let’s just take a minute and think about our future, our health, and our lives. Do you have time for that? Because you said last night you didn’t have time to stop and take a minute to ensure you were using protection. So, if I told you that every 9 ½ minutes someone in the world was infected with HIV and that 1 out of 5 don’t know their status…would that touch or affect your life in any kind of way?
Well, I just want to say keep thinking that you can use HIV testing as a means of contraceptives, and let me just bust your little bubble….there is a “window period” which is the time that it takes the body to produce antibodies after HIV infection has begun. For the vast majority of those who will test positive, antibodies to HIV will develop within 4-6 weeks after exposure. Some will take a little longer to develop antibodies. To make certain that you receive a reliable test result, it’s necessary to wait at least three months (13 weeks) after your last possible exposure to the virus before being tested.
So, if you still don’t want to listen, and don’t decide to stop using HIV testing as a prevention tool then there is really nothing no one could say and do.
The reality is this:
It’s your life!
It’s your Choice.