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Living positively with HIV


Lusikisiki – Nontlahla Boyizi, a 20-year-old woman from Ngobozana Village in the Eastern Cape, was shocked when she recently received the news that she was HIV positive.

Stunned and confused she went home to get the support of her family, but instead was shunned when she told them about her HIV status. Her parents and siblings threw her out because she was HIV positive.

"Living with HIV is not a crime or a shame and it is certainly not the end of the world. It is just the beginning of new life - living positively," said Nonzaliseko Ntwana, a Treatment Action Campaign veteran and community mobiliser.

But unfortunately, just like Nontlahla, many people with HIV are still treated differently and experience discrimination – even from their loved ones.

“I came across this confused, crying girl and listened to her story,” said Nonzaliseko. Nontlahla had nowhere to go so Nonzaliseko took her in and taught her how to “live positively”. “The crying and sadness are things of the past now and she knows and understands what is happening to her,” said Nonzaliseko.

Nontlahla’s physical condition improved drastically since she started on ARVs and she now also has a positive outlook on life because of the help she received from Nonzaliseko.

“I am very thankful for everything that they have done for me,” said Nontlahla. “Even though they don’t know me, they understood my situation and helped me.”

Mtshana Mvlisi is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from Lusikisiki in the OR Tambo health district in the Eastern Cape.


Health-e is a news agency that produces news and in-depth analysis for the print and electronic media. Their particular focus is HIV/AIDS, public health and issues regarding health policy and practice in South Africa. They provide print features for newspapers and magazines and well as broadcast packages for national and community radio stations. They also accept commissions. 

Information in this article was accurate in January 9, 2013. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.