"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
"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