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Nozuko Isaiah

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After 17 years of living with HIV positive status I’m grateful that I am still standing.  This is a truth that changed my life negatively and positively over the years. This truth still exist but what is amazing is that I have managed to change the negative attitude of fear and denial to positive attitude of owning my positive status by living my life positively and talking about my status to eliminate the elements of surprise.

Beyond 2014, many of our youth have worked hard in preparation to soar to the greater heights and realise their dreams and aspirations in life. Equally, parents are about to release their young boys and girls in the pursuit of their dreams to different institutions of higher learning in South Africa.

But the question is “have we prepared our youth adequately to eliminate what I have titled; the Element of Surprise; when it comes to HIV and AIDS issues?” How can we ensure that their present is lived purposefully and that their future is bright? We probably need to assist them commit NOW to some values in order to guide their expectations of the future.

Our day and age requires more than just a Grade 12 Certificate for one to proceed to the higher learning environment. This is despite the possibility that some might have behaved recklessly by engaging in unprotected sex, changing sexual partners and abusing alcohol during the festive season. This may have been to celebrate the many years of hard work and maybe well-deserved but there might be other unintended consequences to deal with.

The objective of this article is to challenge parents and youth alike improve on their preparations for 2015 academic year and eliminate the Elements of Surprise for future by noting the following:

  1. Prepare:

“If you are not preparing you are repairing” – John Maxwell –

Prepare their mind by investing for the future. Let us prepare them by eliminating the fears and excuses that can hold them back. Their future is theirs to create, so they need to do it right now with confidence, commitment and authentic purpose. HIV disease lives amongst us for more than 30 years now and the only way to overpower it is to prepare ourselves. Any soldier that goes to the battle aware of what is likely to happen during the war has a bit of chance to win.

Rather pay now and play later, than play now and pay later.

  1. Engage:

Parents engage your kids by asking and reminding them who they are in the face of this epidemic of HIV and AIDS. Before they depart to other provinces, do they really know their status? It is the right of a child to know and an obligation of a parent to make the child aware.

Meanwhile department of Education will be releasing Matric Certificates, let us facilitate yet another important certificate assuring them of their HIV status. If they are Positive, let us encourage them to look ahead and beyond because HIV does not necessarily define them. This intervention if conducted with love and empathy; may help save the lives of our youth and reawaken them to the world of possibilities and opportunities still awaiting them irrespective of their HIV status.

  1. Speak out

‘’The truth shall set you free’’

Silence is the birth of the denial and denial is the birth of ignorance and ignorance is the birth death. Silence can kill people meanwhile they are still alive. In the presence of so much medical and technological advancements; HIV is no longer a death sentence but it is has become a chronic illness when it is managed positively just like any other chronic illness. This kind of knowledge will make an impact when we speak openly about issues of life. Truth is indulging to sex with an HIV positive person might change one from negative to positive results. We are all beautiful and healthy because of the ARVs and other treatments, so it is no longer easy to detect that someone that is HIV positive when silence is present. We can only encourage the youth to speak out about HIV to eliminate the elements of surprises in their lives. ‘’Drop it like it is’’ and let the world deal with it.

  1. Acceptance

Accepting the truth and doing nothing about it is part of denial that may for other people lead to death. Accept that you are HIV negative or positive but still protect yourself. Longing for acceptance can make a person vulnerable to danger. When not telling that you are HIV positive because you want to be accepted, you not doing any one a favour but only increasing the viral load and opening your system to vulnerability. Still being HIV negative and play carelessly because of acceptance, you might increase the statistics. Do not find yourself in the midst of mediocrity. File your results in your wallet as your passport or drivers licence so that they can serve as reminder of what you are working for. Build your reputation when everybody is building questions around it.

  1. Be precise and live

A young person who is determined to have a great life ahead must have clear values, vision, mission, purpose and accurate goals. You can never expect people to accept your life without you accepting yourself first. When you know who you are and what you want in life, you are able to educate people about what you are going through without expecting them to accept you.

“People hear the sound of your footsteps more than they hear the sound of your vocal cords. If you do not walk your talk they will not hear. You need to be exemplary to others” – DR.  J Tibane –