HIV teenager positive about future

LIKE most love-struck teenagers his age Travis Mokoena (not his real name) believes he has found "the one" and wants to have many children with her.

LIKE most love-struck teenagers his age Travis Mokoena (not his real name) believes he has found "the one" and wants to have many children with her.

"I want four children while she wants about 24, or something," he says with a deadpan expression.

But he admits that enough children to make up two cricket teams might not be possible.

"We will probably adopt. We've spoken about it and think it might be the best way," says the gangly 16-year-old.

Travis is all too familiar with being part of a big family. He shares his home, on a farm in Johannesburg, with seven sisters and 11 brothers.

Like him his siblings were adopted by a caring family. His girlfriend of a year is the only one outside his close family who knows his HIV status.

"At first I was worried about how she would react. I was surprised when she said it didn't bother her. I jumped for joy and had a party on my own."

Travis was introduced to the family when he was a year old. With his mother in jail after assaulting his father's mistress, he was a sickly child who needed constant medical attention.

"Doctors struggled for a long time to figure out what was wrong with me," he says.

He was diagnosed with HIV at the age of three. His mother, who had come to Johannesburg from Lesotho, died when he was five.

Travis has been on anti-retrovirals most of his life. He says living with HIV does not make him different from his peers.

He plays sport with his siblings and wonders what he wants to do when he "grows up".

"I still have time to decide. I'm not sure what I want to do. I will probably open my own business, doing manicures, pedicures, foot and back massages, like we do at school."

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