Saidy Brown is a 21 year old South African girl living with HIV since she was only 14 . On the 24th of February 9:50 PM she took it to twitter to disclose her status ,” 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. ” bravely tweeted the ever cheerful and smiling Saidy.
The twitter universe came out to show their love and support for Saidy which saw the tweet reaching more than 8600 retweets , 15 400 likes and 868 replies to date , a reflection of how the current generation differs from the previous generations where stigma was normalized . Clap for yourselves young Africans well done.
I had the privilege to sit down and have a chat with the beautiful Saidy in the following interview below :
What’s your name and where are you from?
Saidy: My name is Saidy Brown and I am from Itsoseng,in the North West province in South Africa.
How old are you now and when first did you find out you had HIV?
Saidy: I am 21 years old, and I found out when I was 14 that I was HIV positive
What’s it like to live with HIV today?
Saidy: Living with HIV is honestly not as difficult as people think it is, I live a very normal life, and there is no difference between me and an HIV negative person, except the fact that my HIV status is positive… I feel like when topics of HIV are raised, we all just become scared of the unknown.
What was your first reaction when you found out?
Saidy: The only thing that was in my mind was “I am only 14, HOW?? I didn’t do anything “… I wanted to break down and cry right there, but I knew that if I did that, everyone would know what my results were, before I even told them, so I just composed myself, and continued like nothing had happened.
Are you currently in a relationship?
Saidy: Yes, I am in a relationship.
How do you first tell people you’re dating that you’re positive?
Saidy: I just say it, I make sure I disclose right in the beginning, to avoid wasting both our time. And for me, it’s easier that way.
Do you ever get paranoid about passing it on, in the way people who are not HIV positive sometimes?
Saidy: Yes, I get very paranoid about passing it on, I don’t know if I would forgive myself if I found out that I had infected a person… there was a point in my life where I was scared of even dating because I was scared of infecting others.
Am I right to assume you are on a lot of medication? If so, what’s that like?
Saidy: I am not on a lot of medication, in the past, people living with HIV used to take, I think three pills, twice a day, some still have those, but I get to have a fixed dosage, which is one tablet a day, I also just take multivitamins, but they are really not a necessity.
Have you ever been discriminated against at work or school for being HIV positive?
Saidy: I have never experienced any sort of discrimination because of my status, I think it’s also because although I found out while still in high school, I only publicly disclosed two years after matriculating
Has your status affected your view of your future at all?
Saidy: The only thing my status did for my future was make me more ambitious and very confident in my own skin… I have learnt to love myself more, and I use my HIV status as motivation to do everything I want… I have had times when I thought I would die, but I have grown, and I believe I am wiser now
Do you have much hope that scientists are going to develop a full cure?
Saidy: I do have hope that scientists will find a cure, I mean the mere fact that they could develop ARVs gives me hope that they are on the right path.
What do you wish other people knew about HIV that they currently seem to be getting wrong?
Saidy: I wish people could understand that HIV is a virus that works very well with the mind. What you think is what you will become, and that the only way we can contribute in fighting and winning the battle against HIV is if we all work together in fighting and breaking the stigma attached to it…
What is your message to those who scared to get tested or disclose their status?
Saidy: There is no such thing as “better off not knowing”, people need to test and take care of themselves because them not knowing means how many of their loved ones are they putting at risk of infection? Also, need to break out of this notion that being HIV means a person gets diagnosed, live the rest of their lives sick, then die.
Who is on your current playlist?
Saidy: I am currently listening to a lot of Amanda Black and A-Reece’s music.
What is your favourite Movie right now?
Saidy: My favourite movie has to be Yesterday.
What is your message to young Africans out there?
Saidy: Young South Africans, this is our time! Let us be the generation that will forever be known for not being defined by circumstances, let us be known as fighters, let us be known as the go-getters, let us be known for being a legendary generation.
Thank you you so much for your time and giving me an opportunity to chat to you Saidy.
Saidy: Thank you for this chat.
You can follow Saidy on twitter her handle is @Saidy_Brown