A 22 year-old South African HIV positive activist is using her Twitter page to publicize her HIV positive status to change perceptions on HIV. Internet users around the world are applauding her bold step to fight HIV stigma in a country with a HIV prevalence rate.
Saidy Brown was born with the virus, which claimed her parents, and left her an orphan. In her early teenage years she learnt that she was born with the virus.
“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 Tweeted.
“I am an HIVictor”-Saidy Brown
Thousands of people have shared her hopeful message, with many applauding her courage for speaking publicly about her own experiences with the virus. HIV/Aids which has killed millions has for many decades remained a stigma in South Africa.
The activist Saidy, who describes herself as an HIVictor in her Twitter bio, has been speaking about the extraordinary reactions to her post, why it took so long for her to be diagnosed and the challenges of dating for someone who is HIV-positive.
“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. 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,” Saidy told the BBC.
Fighting the HIV stigma in South Africa
The bold step by Brown, her courage to be open about her status on social media has earned her many admirers on social media.
The hope to have a family
Brown hopes to have a family one day, and she remains conscious about reading the preventive treatments to avoid the transmission of HIV from mother to child or to her partner.