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How Clive found his gift - Living with AIDS # 365
Khopotso Bodibe
September 4, 2008
"HIV has probably been one of the biggest gifts that have ever been given to me" writes Clive Harvey Fox, a 51 year old Capetonian in his book, "Finding my Gift."

"HIV came into my life to teach me to love myself; to do those things that are necessary to preserve a good and a long life; to make sure that I eat properly; that I don't drink too much; that I drink lots of water; that I get lots of rest; that I exercise frequently; that I don't take on unnecessary stress. Most of us go through life just taking our lives for granted. HIV came to teach me that I can't take my life for granted at all. Every day is a gift" says the greying 51-year old, explaining his reasoning.

"I believe that, often, the greatest threats to our lives give us the opportunity to go beyond our personal frontiers... HIV forced me to confront my own mortality. A very frightening experience, but it's the reality of life. None of us are going to live forever... HIV has taught me to really value my life now... I make sure that I don't do anything in my life that could possibly jeopardise the best life possible... I don't think I got HIV because I was unlucky. I got HIV because I was stupid; because I was prepared to engage in unprotected sex, which in a modern environment is just crazy, totally crazy. Something I would never do again", he continued.

With the publication of 'Finding my Gift', Clive says he's on a mission to change how people view adversity, more specifically, HIV in their lives.

"I want to try and dismantle the huge victim consciousness that has developed around HIV. Yes, I am a victim of the virus. But I choose not to live the life of a victim".

The 51 year-old doesn't shy away from controversy. With legs fully out-stretched before him, he whips out a set of pink-framed glasses and begins to read out an excerpt from the book on his opinion on the causes of the stigma that surrounds HIV and AIDS.

"I believe those infected with HIV are the primary cause of the so-called stigma. Because of their reticence to talk about HIV or to expose themselves in any way for fear of possible rejection, they create the gap for the stigma to exist. The secrecy around the issue gives HIV a power it doesn't deserve. The moment we can talk openly about an issue we effectively disempower it. The limiting thinking of those with the virus as to being less because of HIV is one of the principle reasons for this stigma's existence. The other reason being the general public's ignorance. If everyone with HIV behaved in a similar fashion to people with diabetes without empowering the illness because of their strange behaviour, it would be difficult for the stigma to exist. Once something is fully exposed, it loses its mystery and people quickly lose interest in it, too".

Clive's 'Finding my Gift' is self-published. To get a copy visit the website www.findingmygift.com



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