South African Saidy Brown was 14 when she found out that she was HIV-positive, she didn’t think she would live to see 18 and she is turning 22 this year. She has come out on Friday to talk about her plight on Twitter and the support is massive.
She said “When I was 14, I went to a youth day event to represent my school. At the event there were people who do HIV tests, counselling and everything else.
when we got there, they asked us if we would like to test. I was one of the people who got tested. That’s how I found out. I was shocked, I was in denial, I couldn’t believe it. I was only 14 at the time so I was like: ‘How? I’m only 14… I haven’t done anything. How?’
“But when I got home and told my aunt and she was the one who told me that no, I’d actually been born with it. My parents had died from Aids-related diseases, which I had never known. My mum passed away when I was 10, my dad when I was nine.”
She explains “I have not necessarily been discriminated against. I can say that I was discriminating against my own self, from around 14 until I was 18, because I didn’t want to talk about it. Only my family knew; no-one else. Once I reached 18 I decided to start disclosing. It’s been better and wiser.
“Where I come from Itsoseng, a small town in South Africa’s North West Province], I’m the first person to ever come forward and talk openly this way about my status.
“But the response and the support is there because whether it’s me or someone else, the reality is that people are living with HIV, whether we talk about it or not.”
The good news is “I’m in a relationship currently. It’s very amazing because usually I disclose right at the beginning of the relationship. So once the person decides that they want to stay with me then it’s all good, but if they decide to leave, it’s still fine.
“I won’t hate them because people still have their own issues regarding HIV. I don’t really blame the person who says: ‘No I can’t stay with you because you’re HIV-positive’. I’ve had someone say that to me in the past. It hurt a lot. But after a while they came back and apologised. We’re on speaking terms now, it’s fine. I’ve forgiven them.