Registration No. P.V.O. 20/2010

The voice of Grace

“My name is Grace. I am 17 years old. I wrote my ordinary level last year (2016). At FICA, we learn about volleyball and netball. We also learn about our HIV status and how to take care of ourselves and how to be good kids. We also have some of the topics that we learnt such as disclosure, stereotyping and discrimination. We learn on how to fight against disclosure, stereotyping and discrimination.

I was tested for HIV in 2009 and l was still young  so l did not get angry or become wild because l did not  understand  anything about being HIV positive. My best friend is also HIV positive. My auntie and my closest relatives they do know about my status. As for my friends they do not know about my status. It is horrible and not easy to tell them about my status. l cannot just go around and disclose my status to everyone. The moment they get to know that l am HIV positive some of my friends will start to discriminate and stigmatize me. Thus the reason why l do not disclose my status. But my closest relatives knows about my status.

I am a normal person, am just like someone who is HIV negative. I was tested when l was 13 years. The moment l got tested l started to go to the support group at FICA. I started to get along with other kids who were also positive like me,  l did not mind about my status “ handina kumbozviisa mumusoro “ and right now l have lot of friends. I like my HIV positive status a lot. One of my grandmother’s son who is HIV negative wishes to be positive. The reason why he wishes to be like me is that we travel to many places, l know a lot of things as compared to the people who are negative. Its good and l am proud of my status. Probably if l was HIV negative l was not going be able to know a lot of places as well as will not be able to socialize with others.

My church is Roman Catholic. At church when we are given the chances to have presentations on any topic of your choice l teach people about being HIV positive. Some of the youths tend to be amazed by the choice of my topic. Some will say “Woooow that is a horrible topic”. The reason why they pass comments like that, is at churches youths are taught about Jesus nothing else. I will always choose and teach topics that are HIV positive related. My mother is also proud of me because l always present at the church on Sundays about goal setting and time bound front of all youths. Last week Sunday l had my presentation and some of the youth were curious about where l was getting some of my information. The whole church members were very happy about my presentation. You can find out that those who are HIV negative are not aware of these topics. To me it is an added advantage because it helps me to build my confidence.

My dream is to become an authorized person. I also want to be a social worker. I also want to have my degree as a social worker in three years to come. My message to my peers is that they should not discriminate people who are HIV positive and we are also the same with those who HIV negative. The only difference that comes into play is that we only take our medicine whilst those who are not part of us do not take medicine. Being positive does not necessarily mean that it is now the end of life.”