Even in stormy seas I have reason to fight on

In England shools are closing down. In Mexico football is played in empty stadiums.

In England shools are closing down. In Mexico football is played in empty stadiums.

Elsewhere in Africa pigs are being wiped out in their thousands - all this panic amid the emergence of the flu strain H1N1, popularly known around the world as swine flu.

Scientists and medical experts claim that this new virus comes from Mexico.

South Africa is no exception, with several suspected cases of this mysterious virus being reported in isolated places. This has resulted in suspected carriers being put in quarantine until tests have been concluded.

Obviously the fear of swine flu has gripped our country as well.

I mean, everyone I spoke to over the past few weeks, including my mother, spoke about it.

Others are coughing all the way to completing their assignments. Some carry handkerchiefs in their pockets in case of an uncharacteristic sneeze.

Personally, I have always been a helpless victim of flu.

So, needless to say I have been out of action for the past few weeks because my medical adviser, Dr Pupuma, is afraid that a lack of sufficient rest is a major risk to my wellbeing, particularly at a precarious time when I am approaching almost 20 years of living productively, successfully and positively with HIV.

But the fact is we are sailing in stormy seas.

I must hasten to admit, though, that to a certain degree I am also beginning to worry about my own wellness. I've fallen sick more times this year than at any other time in my illustrious history of living with HIV.

As you read this column, I've been bedridden with flu (I'm uncertain which strain it is) for the past two weeks.

To make matters worse Dr Pupuma is in France. I am concerned for him but I am left to fend for myself. This has been most severe and paralysing bout of flu I have ever experienced. I am terrified.

But being the committed foot soldier that I have always been, I am playing my part in securing public health by staying indoors until I have fully recovered.

I am also trying to remain as calm, cool and collected as I can be and in the process I am following all the logical precautions.

But my body is taking the strain. I am not getting any younger.

Maybe I am now a little more fragile and less reckless than I was a decade ago.

In this particular instance, I must extend my sincere gratitude to Sowetan, my employers, for not exerting too much pressure on me.

In fact, over the years Sowetan has played a pioneering role in it's exemplary commitment to making HIV-Aids in the workplace acceptable.

I am truly proud to be associated with such a supportive and emphatic family.

Even at UNAids headquarters in the United States the Sowetan flag is flying high as an example of the best practice in the world of HIV-Aids in the corporate sector.

So, I have all the support I need and the reason to fight on.