Living with HIV is a burden, but taking proper care of yourself will keep you healthy. Seven years ago, Zandile Simelane (24) decided to do an HIV-test and got the shock of her life when it turned out positive. But with the help and support of her family and friends, today she is living a full and healthy life.
Being HIV-positive is a manageable chronic disease. Zandile, now an HIV activist, explains how she learnt of her status and how she embraced her changed life.
“I did the test at a clinic I regularly passed on my way to school and I did not expect the result, even though I was sexually active. Afterwards, I shared my status with a close relative who then quietly gossiped the news to my mother. I eventually lost count of the ‘Its oks’ as well as the hugs and kisses they shared with me. My family was very supportive and continues to support me today,” she remembers.
Zandile is making sure she takes her anti-retroviral (ARV) medication. “I took the change to the single dose but changed back to the cocktail after three months as my immune system rejected the single dose. It was quite heavy for me and after intake in the evening, I’d be completely dysfunctional and suffer from nausea and drowsiness,” she explains.
Zandile is quick to stress that of course, this doesn’t mean the single dose won’t work for others. “Make sure you speak to a health practitioner to find the best medication suited for your needs,” she advises.