LIVING WITh hiv SHould noT BE A secret

HIV-Aids-related information is free. Counselling and testing is free. People living with HIV are qualified to receive grants.

HIV-Aids-related information is free. Counselling and testing is free. People living with HIV are qualified to receive grants.

Almost 95 percent of our population is now aware of the reality and the possible ways of contracting and preventing this incurable infection.

The rights of people living with HIV are entrenched in the constitution.

Protective measures are provided free by the government.

Treatment is provided free though more needs to be done in this regard.

So, the imperative question arises constantly - why should people living with HIV continue to be a secret?

The argument persists that HIV, just like TB and other chronic and manageable diseases, should become a notifiable ailment.

More than 25 years into this pandemic, and with millions of people hidden forever six feet below the soil, there is no basis for continuing to make HIV confidential.

Our people have and continue to pay a heavy price at the expense of an infection that is acquired through the most natural and most pleasurable of ways, except in the regrettable and despicable case of rape.

I concur with the school of thought that is pushing for the Department of Health to review the confidentiality aspect with regard to the HIV-Aids policy.

Needless to say, there are the capitalist monsters who will vehemently oppose this idea of treating HIV like any other illness such as diabetes and high blood pressure, simply because they are drawing billions from state coffers.

There is no shadow of a doubt that HIV, while it kills millions of people, has actually inflated the bank balances of some people who will fight tooth and nail to ensure that the status quo remains.

With consultation I sincerely hope that Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi will have the wisdom and courage to review this policy because I can promise you now, this situation is actually being exploited by selfish individuals who simply want to hide behind these well-meaning policies to pursue their own agendas.

The reality of our status is that we cannot keep on doing the same things in the hope of accomplishing different results.

We certainly have come a long way from the dark and excruciatingly painful era of ignorance and lack of knowledge where HIV and Aids could be blamed on apartheid.

In this day and age history and the infected blood of all our people are calling for a new revolutionary approach to how we deal with this pandemic.

We cannot be held back by those who have turned HIV into a money-making machine when it is clear that we have collectively succeeded in turning this endemic around.