Through Positive Eyes

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Mgladzo JohannesburgMgladzo

Last year, I found myself this beautiful lady and we started dating. She's HIV-negative. She is there for me, and she loves me with her heart and her soul. I love her. We do everything together, and she loves my kids very much.

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When the doctor told me I have AIDS, I said “Fuck you.” I didn’t take it seriously. But as years went by my mom found out she was infected and my sisters too—my younger sister and my older sister. So we were all HIV-positive in the house. Last year my mom got sick and passed on, even though she was on ARVs. And then my sister also passed away because of HIV and HPV, human papillomavirus. My younger sister is alive now but she’s the only one left. And she’s sick. I am angry because I thought I knew how to deal with HIV.

Some people say that I have demons because I’m a lesbian. There was a time when I decided, “This is not good for me. I am trying to make myself into a boy, and I’m not a boy.” So I decided to grow my hair and get a boyfriend. That’s when all these things started. I got the boyfriend and we slept together, and that’s when I got HIV. And I was pregnant at the same time. I was 15 years old.

But I didn’t know that I had HIV. When the child was born, she got sick and then they decided to take my blood. That’s when they told me I had AIDS. The child died at four months. I myself was still a kid.

When I grew up I decided to try having kids again. In 2004, I went back to the very same man, we slept together, and I fell pregnant. My son’s name is Mpendulo, which means “answer,” because God gave me a child—my prayers were answered. In 2007, we had another baby. I named him Asibonga, “thanks.” As the father of my kids came closer, I disclosed my sexuality to him and he was supportive. Unfortunately he died two weeks ago. He loved his kids very much.

My kids’ daddy was HIV-positive and so was I, but I wanted to have HIV-negative kids. So I went to the clinic and they informed me about PMTCT—prevention of mother-to-child transmission. I went through that process. I attended every appointment that I had and they gave me Nevirapine. I followed every precaution that they said I must take. I did everything. Now my two kids are healthy, they know my HIV status, and they know my sexuality.

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In 2007, my colleague, an open lesbian, was murdered. They stabbed her, they shot her, and they took her underwear and put it in on her head. I was so confused and scared. I’m proud of myself, but going out and saying it loudly, “You know what, I’m a lesbian and I’m proud!”—it’s very difficult.

Last year, I found myself this beautiful lady and we started dating. She’s HIV-negative. She is there for me, and she loves me with her heart and her soul. I love her. We do everything together, and she loves my kids very much. Even my son says that he’s now got a mommy and daddy. I’m the daddy, she’s the mommy.

I proposed on Saturday, it was my birthday. She was crying and screaming. She couldn’t believe this is happening. Lucky me, she said yes. Now she’s not just a girlfriend, she’s my fiancée. When I decided to propose, I just felt that this is the right time for us to do what we want to do—become a family. Because we are a family already.

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