Stories and experiences of HIV stigma and discrimination

We would like to share a selection of powerful and touching stories of people living with HIV.  A group of HIV positive people have told their stories and experiences of stigma and discrimination. It is not stories of desperateness and hopelessness, but stories of courage and hope, and how important people in their lives have assisted them to overcome challenges.  These stories have been captured on video and stills photography. The stories are available for civil society, private sector, media and other sectors to use in their World AIDS Day campaigns.

Cindy Pivacic, 56. Her partner infected her whilst he was aware of his HIV status.

“It took me six years to actually go public about my status.  Rejection, that I think is probably the greatest fear that you are going to be rejected, however, after the six years I decided well you know what, if people don’t want to be around me well, I don’t need them.  ”

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Koketso Mokhetoa, 23 years. She was born HIV positive and doctors told she would not make it past 13 years of age and she would not have any children.  Today she is 23 and a mother to a healthy HIV-negative baby.

“I met a guy by the name of Tyrone and I told him about  being HIV positive, he didn’t really take it well, honestly speaking he didn’t ,  so we both did a couple’s test, and he still couldn’t believe it, but then the support groups helped him a lot… helped us a lot”

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Mmabatho Ranake, 27. Mmabatho is engaged to an HIV-man and she lives openly with HIV.

“A lot of people are living with HIV and they experience stigma because they stigmatise themselves.  When you wake up in the morning and you walk in the street whatever that you want people to see it’s what you have to feel”

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Mongezi Sosibo, 23 years, student, loves writing.  Upon discovering his status, he accused one of his girlfriends of infecting him.

“I stigmatised people living with HIV, until I became HIV positive”

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Nomasomi Limako, 40. She is disabled and contracted HIV from someone that believed that he would be cured from HIV if he sleeps with a person with a disability.

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Phindile Madonsela, 43. She is an HIV+ sangoma.  She disclosed to her daughter when she was 7 and then again at the age of 14.

“My mother experienced stigma in the community after she disclosed, but she is strong”

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 Simphiwe Dlamini, 31, Disclosed to her father who was, and still is, extremely supportive.

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Yvette Raphael, 39, She disclosed for the first time at her workplace in front of 80 people.

“A friend close to me did not want to share a glass with me, but I never experienced stigma from my mother or sister”

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