"When I found out at 14 that I was HIV-positive, I didn't think I would live to see 18, I am turning 22 this year", Brown tweeted
22yr old south African Saidy Brown discloses why on Friday she went on twitter and tweeted about her HIV status to the whole world.
Imagine then announcing to the whole world that you are HIV positive, that is however exactly what one 22 year old lady from South Africa just did.
"When I found out at 14 that I was HIV-positive, I didn't think I would live to see 18, I am turning 22 this year." Saidy Brown tweeted on Friday, since then thousands of people have re-shared her hopeful message, with many praising her courage for speaking publicly about her own experience with the virus.
"The response has been very great. I've had people who've come to me and told me their own stories. And I like that.”
"I like sparking conversations about HIV. I don't believe in treating it like it's an unspoken subject. I want us to talk about it, because once we talk about it more, then we can de-stigmatise it”
The beautiful light skinned lady with an easy smile spoke to BBC on why she decided to share her status to the whole world.
"I've always disclosed my status. I started disclosing it when I was 18. I usually use Facebook to talk to people about HIV and Aids," she says.
"But I've been having this urgent feeling to post it on Twitter, so it wouldn't be just limited to my Facebook friends. I needed the world to get into conversations about this virus."
However Saidy was not always courageous and ready to take on the world despite her status,
"When I was younger, I was so scared of how people would perceive me.
While she was not directly stigmatized she hated herself.
"I have not necessarily been discriminated against. I can say that I was discriminating against my own self, from around 14 until I was 18, because I didn't want to talk about it. Only my family knew; no-one else. Once I reached 18 I decided to start disclosing. It's been better and wiser.
Finding out her status
Saidy brown was born with the virus and her dad passed away when she was nine and her mum passed away a year later from Aids-related diseases.
She was then raised by her aunt and lived in total oblivion until she was 14.
“When I was 14, I went to a youth day event to represent my school. At the event there were people who do HIV tests, counselling and everything else.
"When we got there, they asked us if we would like to test. I was one of the people who got tested. That's how I found out.
"I was shocked, I was in denial, I couldn't believe it. I was only 14 at the time so I was like: 'How? I'm only 14... I haven't done anything. How?'
Later on her aunt told her the truth.
It has not been a smooth ride always though, she has also received a fair share of harsh criticism for her courage.
"But now I've grown and people's opinions really don't phase me. I think emotionally I've become stronger. When I get these comments and everything, they don't really break me."
The beautiful thing in this heartwarming story is Saidy is currently seeing someone.
"I'm in a relationship currently. It's very amazing because usually I disclose right at the beginning of the relationship. So once the person decides that they want to stay with me then it's all good, but if they decide to leave, it's still fine”
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