Opinion

Living positively with hiv-Tshepo Ngoato Interview

Raised by a single mother, Tshepo is a 22 year old born with HIV . He enjoys meeting new people, learning new staff, spending quality time outdoors and would like to own a holding company one day. . Check out his inspirational interview below.

living positively with HIV Tshepo NgoatoYou were born with HIV, how has this shaped your perception towards HIV?
It was not an easy road I must say, growing up without a father and losing my mother at a young age was very hard.

You lost your mother to HIV when you were 12, how did her illness and subsequent death affect you?

At a very young age you don’t understand what is really going on and it affects you a lot because its like you losing everything you have in your life but it was God’s will

How and when did you find out that you were HIV positive?
It was in 2005 when was told I was HIV positive after testing at a local hospital.

 

What was the first thing that went through your mind when you found out you were HIV positive?
I associated HIV with death because of what had happened to my mom (succumbing to AIDS). Being sick also heightened my fears. I believed I was headed the same way.
What was your friends and family’s response when they learnt that you are living with HIV?
Some of my friends took it easy and others were negative but at the end my friends and family were supportive.
What are you hoping to achieve by going public about your HIV status?
By managing to change peoples minds about HIV like some people would want to kill themselves when they find out that they are positive, and to help young people and adults born with HIV. I want to show them that they can still live a long life with HIV its not the end of the world and how they can live beyond HIV and how to come out to your friend and family.
How did you cope with the emotional strain that came with your diagnoses?
When I was young I didn’t really understand a lot about HIV /AIDS but the one thing I heard was how many people died of hiv back in 2000 and 2005 but now it has changed.

 

What challenges do you face on a daily basis living with the virus?
It’s like nothing. Living with the virus would never change how my life would be and how people look at it.
How is life being a 22 year old living with HIV in SA?
Being HIV is normal. I try live my best with HIV and looking to the further.

How do people react when you tell them about your HIV status?
Some people think I am joking when I tell them I am HIV positive and some would take it normal, some cry looking for help and I do help them.
You lived with the HI-Virus for a number of years, only found out when you got ill at what message would you give to the youth of SA in terms of the importance of knowing your status?
First your health is the most important in the world we should know where we stand as youth so we can have an HIV free generation. Always use a condom if a guy say let us not use a condom remember you can have a baby, hiv/aids and sti at a younger age. Your life is not worth play so play it safe.
You are an HIV activist, could you elaborate further on your activities.
Yes I am an HIV activists, our aim is to as many people as possible people living with hiv .I’m working with a magazine called sapositive magazine which is south Africa’s only magazine that focuses on those who are affected and infected by HIV.
What do you for fun?
I like to chill out with friends or like have a me time alone, best of all its online gaming and search for new tech.
What music do you listen to?
House and hip hop music.
What keeps you going?
The people around me keep me going the support they gave me is a lot they also keep a happy face on me.
If you were a president for a day, what would be the first thing you would do?
I would address a number of issues that need urgent attention particulary the rights of people with HIV. A lot of foreign direct investments are needed in South Africa so it would get the county moving forward.
How can people get a hold of you?
Twitter @tngoato
Facebook: tshepongoato
Website: www.sapositivemagazine.co.za
Email: tngoato@gmail.com

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