“He is on ARVs,” they said

“He is has gotten better since he started taking panadol (painkillers)” the guys doing piece-work at my parents’ place said to my mother.

“Oh? Has he been having headaches?” my mother asked innocently.

“No.  He has HIV/AIDS and so he is now on ARVs (which we call panadol) and is improving” the men responded.

My mother was shocked that someone’s AIDS status was being discussed publicly, and it must have shown on her face because one of the men said: “Mum, everyone knows that he is HIV positive and it’s not an issue.  People nowadays mention their status and nobody bothers, because we know that AIDS is just an illness like other illnesses.  All we have to do is take care of us and take our medication.”

On another day, one of the piece-workers mentioned that he hadn’t felt well but the “panadol” was working and he was feeling better.

The fact that people are speaking about their HIV status openly without fear of discrimination is encouraging as it leads to containment of the disease.

we have definitely come a long way from when family members could not even discuss among themselves regarding the positive status of beloved family members.


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