|Living positively, thinking big|
|Thursday, 16 August 2012 00:00|
CM: Who is Annah Sango?
AS: Annah is a 24-year-old mother of a four-year-old-boy, she loves life and she is adventurous.
CM: What keeps you going?
AS: God and the zeal to reach out to many young women and children and also to see my child graduate and start a family. The important thing to note is what you see as an individual irrespective of your status.
CM: Assessing what you have learnt at the conference, where are we as a country?
AS: We have been mentioned in a number of sessions as a success story of what a country can do on its own. The Aids levy is well managed but we need to have more home-based resources. With donor funds dwindling, why not introduce the “sin” tax that was promulgated in some sessions. Not that smoking is a sin but that is what they called it.
Levy a small tax on alcohol and tobacco products and channel that to health in general that would boost the coffers. As a nation, people have heard the HIV and Aids message and it must be drummed up everyday. Put it on the national agenda. Some people need a lot of education and knowledge in terms of respecting and honouring other human beings because irrespective of one’s status we are all equal.
It is not excusable to judge.
CM: Are you in a relationship?
AS: It is hard but I believe people must love each other for who they are.
CM: How does your family view you?
AS: I have a very supportive family and I believe it is important for those living positively to try and engage their families. There have been unfortunate incidents where parents and siblings mistreat those living with HIV and Aids.
CM: Do you find time to pray?
AS: Yes, I am a Christian and I have direct contact with my creator. The church has been slow in acceptance but it’s better now. I urge the church to love and respect HIV positive people. Many congregants have quite a number of people living positively.
CM: There is the message that together we can end Aids, is that possible?
AS: Yes, that is possible, together we are greater than Aids, together we can overcome the tide of new HIV infections. There are people who were born HIV positive and are now ready to begin families, they need support. With science and medicine it is now possible that HIV positive mothers can have negative babies. Yes, I can see an Aids free-generation but that begins with you and me. I also see community integration as an important part if we are to stop stigma and end Aids.
CM: Have you suffered stigma and discrimination?
AS: Not anymore, when one is open you tend to free yourself from that. Some of the stigma really stems from ignorance. I attribute this to lack of knowledge. I also note that the community needs education on how to engage and provide awareness on care and support when living with ill relatives.
CM: As a person living positively what do you have to say to your peers?
AS: As positive people we should learn to support each other, upgrade and encourage each other not to pull each other down. Jealousy does not get you anywhere as a person.
CM: What are your future plans?
AS: I want to reach out to young women in my community, empower them and myself too because learning does not have a limit. I declare that as a positive person, I am beyond that diagnosis. More than the positive sign, the same applies to everyone, you are beyond that, I read your articles and get strength from many like you. We have to show the world that we want to end Aids regardless of the obstacles that lie ahead.