Kimberly Vrudny

Participant 09

In 30/30 Participants, Scalabrini Center, South Africa on August 12, 2010 at 6:15 am

"Participant 09" migrated to Cape Town as a refugee from Zimbabwe half a decade ago, after losing three of his children to HIV/AIDS. He believes stigma destroyed their lives.

Way back I could not believe that the story of HIV/AIDS was real because I had not seen anyone who was a victim of it. I came to know this when I got married and lost my loving kids, one after another, [within] 3 months. I believe it was of stigma—that’s why my first two kids just died and we could not get tested for this HIV/AIDS. I came to know of this problem when my third kid was ill and tried to save her life but she died. The doctors told us that she was HIV positive, so we got tested and the truth of HIV/AIDS was real. [T]hen I got tested and accepted the results and came to understand what it means to live with HIV/AIDS. This came about after going for counselling. Now I understand what it means to be with the HIV/AIDS and [to] be able to live positively. To all people who cannot believe if they should be tested and [find] their status—it is just good to know and live positively and that [it is] not the end of life. It has not been my wish to [lose] my three kids but because of stigma HIV/AIDS took advantage and destroyed their lives. My life still goes well though [I am a] refugee.

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