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Mano’s (aka Sharon) intro

January 28, 2010

A month into my marriage I discovered that  I was 10 weeks pregnant and HIV positive.  My husband of one month tested negative.  I was shattered.  Why me? I have always been a good girl. The doctor tried to explain this medical mystery but it did not register.   In my mind, no black, South African Zulu male was going to stay with an HIV positive woman, especially when he is not.  The day I gave birth, I looked at him and said, this is your last chance…walk away now.  Five years later he is still by my side and we have a very healthy little man.  On that fateful day in 2004 when I discovered my status, I started to look down at me… noone else did, but me.  I somehow thought I was not worthy, I was ashamed of me.  It took me five years but now I know for sure I need to change my ways. I have allowed the stigma to dictate my life.  For the past five years I have been scared of living, being too happy, fearing when the illness is going to strike me down.  No more fear, world here I come and you better be ready for me.

More about Mano…I am a 29 year old yummy mummy from South Africa Durban with three boys: one five year old, a 19 year old (stepson) and my husband.  I have been married for five years.  I have a degree in Food technology and work full time fas a Food Technologist for an FMCG company in SA.  I am also studying towards a project management diploma part time.  I love my family, I love life.

Mano on why she wanted to be a part of A Girl Like Me: After five years of being diagnosed I am only now slowly coming into terms with my status.  It has taken me five years to truly know that I am strong and I will conquer.

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48 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2010 1:39 pm

    Way to go Mano! It is so wonderful and encouraging to read this post. I look forward to hearing more about your experience and will share it with HIV positive women here at Positive Women’s Network in Vancouver, Canada.

  2. Linda M. Smith permalink
    January 29, 2010 1:54 am

    Congratulations! Some of us take most of our lives to realize our own self worth.

  3. marcia permalink
    February 3, 2010 3:49 am

    Hey, way to go! I at times feel that my boyfriend would actually leave me but he has been all supportive and caring. At times i feel like just telling him to walk but your experience has now taught me to appreciate him more and stop worrying about nothing. Thaks gal…am also in mzansi, maybe we can hook up.am based in Pretoria.

    • Mano permalink
      February 3, 2010 7:35 am

      Being HIV positive does not take away from the women that you were. You are still the same women and even stronger. I had to learn to allow myself to be loved and feel loved again. I was not strong enough to love me then, but he was strong for the both of us.

      Hopefully our paths will cross one day, Im based in Durban.

    • February 22, 2010 11:12 am

      What an inspiring testimony to all those living and affected by HIV Mano. It’s really great to see people like you motivated and motivating others.

      To all women, if and when you find time, please visit http://www.beatit.co.za. It is a South-African TV show website for all those living and affected by HIV/AIDS; educating and informing the public on living healthily and prevention. I work for the show, so if you would like to find out more, please don’t hesitate to contact me on gauteng@beatit.co.za.

  4. Flor D. Maldonado permalink
    February 5, 2010 3:09 am

    You are blessed with a good husband who truly knows the meaning of ” until death do us apart”, I have a husband that I believe in my heart will react the same way if I was on your situation. Your husband loves you unconditionally and I think this love is what has kept you going strong as far as your studies, career, family life and even your “self-growing”. I believe that you are also a good living example for your kids as to not give up when things gets tuff, and the fact that your marriage is still united in a world where divorce is such a open option, gives your children a sense of trust and protection.

  5. ochero denis permalink
    February 7, 2010 8:36 am

    way to go, when i found out i was H.I.V, I thought that was the end of the world. But reading stories like yours and so many others give me the energy tolook forward to another day.GOD BLESS YOU, Denis

  6. yeukai, toronto, canada permalink
    February 16, 2010 6:21 pm

    Thats so great to hear my dear sister, i am from Zimbabwe, now living in Canada, i do understand how it is going out with someone who is not HIV positive. You are strong my dear, yes its time to let go of all the guilt and enjoy life, for there are great man out there for sure. HIV tries to rob us of all the joys of life, we like everyone else deserve to be happy too. Wish you the best

  7. molly permalink
    February 24, 2010 5:50 pm

    hey girl i guess for the longest time i also felt like u did and to make matters worse i never had much of any confidence. I also got to that moment when i jus dint know what to do. I gave birth to my son after discoverin i was HIV positive. I went through the pregnacy preparin myself , that he was goin to leave me and keepin this secret to myself my joy was over shadowed by fear, we had always used protection and the pregnacy jus happened. So i was thinkin i would never forgive myself in have infected him. I continued to make excuses even after i got tested durin my pregnacy for us to carry on usin protection. WHY me ??, how did i get to this point. Gave birth to a healthy baby cute as hell. The moments i was left in hospitol i knew i had to tell him so that he could get tested and hate me after that for the rest of his life. Thats the hardest call i ever had to make , to tell the person u love that u are poz at a time when we are celebratin our new baby . He cried and was hurt that i dint tell him earlier.
    Next day he came to the hospitol to pick us up, he got tested he was negetive along with that came a promise that he will never leave me and my son, that we shall raise our family together, its been 6 years now and we are still goin strong , i find it hard to believe at times that he loves me and cares about me we are havin another baby and he never treats any different. its always nice to hear other pple stories , i used to feel so alone until i discovered a girl like me…….

  8. Ashanti permalink
    March 12, 2010 12:53 pm

    testing pos+ can be the most darkest moment of your life…but guess what the clouds will lift with time…in time…you are a beautiful strong woman and you are going to do just fine. I tested pos+ almost 9weeks ago into my first pregnancy and I felt my world had come to an end…but it hasn’t. My longterm partner of 10years was the other person outside my family that I told. He has been incredibily supportive and we are still very much together…so have no fears…love will prevail and even if it doesn’t you will find love…love comes from a part of us that does not die…it’s a shame you feel your family will disown you…I didn’t have that problem…I just felt I had somehow let them down..by having hiv and the stigma that may ensue from it for them…but they have been a tower of strength…pls reach out to the HIV community where you are….you are going to meet some incredible men and women who will prove there is defn life after diagnosis. God hasn’t deserted you…he created you in his own image why would he do that..and he loves you no less cos your status. All will be well.. i will pray for your strength, courage, hope and faith…God Bless….xxx

  9. Ashanti permalink
    March 12, 2010 12:55 pm

    btw my partner tested negative…and we are still together so do not be afraid…you will be surprised what love can do in such circumstances…xxx…keep the faith….!!

  10. March 12, 2010 4:01 pm

    I tested HIV + in 2004, told my family and my children and has lived positively ever since.
    Check out my blog : , I tell my story as I remember…life after HIV, I hope it will inspire you. I am based in Nairobi, Kenya.
    @ Mano, yummy mummy, keep up the good spirit, live life to the fullest!!

  11. March 12, 2010 4:06 pm

    http://blacksilver.blog.com/ . My blog

  12. shelley permalink
    March 15, 2010 8:39 am

    Mano…be not afraid to live! I have been HIV+ for 28 years and I am well, strong, a mother of three and working. This can be you too. I will pray for you. Love Shelley

    • April 19, 2011 7:55 am

      I am a married women of 43 years i was diagnoise with HIV+ in 2008, my CDE count was 670 and now I want to be healthy, what supplements must I take in order to boost my immune system as well as exercises that I must do to keep my body strong.

      Please help me

  13. abantu permalink
    May 14, 2010 10:41 am

    This is the first time in my life that am openly writing something about HIV!its scary,I was tested 2 yrs ago and put on medication immidiately due to my low Cd4 count,So you can all imagine what i went through at the tme But God is Great i came out of it triumphantly after so much tears(I actualy wanted to die at that time,if there was a button to switch myself off i would have done it).nobody knows about my satatus other than my Husband who is negative and very supportive and loving,and one brother of mine,I bet real love cuannot change even if circumstances are how bad.Those who run away due to your status would have run away anyway for any other reason.be strong gals.
    Abantu

    • Rits permalink
      July 19, 2011 3:17 am

      Guys thanks for this article coz its encouraging……how a wish a could be like you guys cz i also tested +ve in last year… a was heart broken and still are coz a dont knw how to break the news to my longtym boyfriend who am 100% sure is negative….. cz we had always done tests and we were all negative. still dont know how to break the news to him cz am very sure he will leave me. Am scared cz a dont have a child and a need one or two but a dont know where to go from here… its killing me inside day by day cz a havent told anyone my status apart from my priest not even a family member.. Am scared of the critics from my family cz am the 1st born in the family. i havent yet started any medication and my cd 4 kps going down day by day. I need guidance and help. i keep asking God why me coz am a kind who has not known many men in ma life. a feel like the world is crushing down on me. this status has shattered my dreams….

      • barely_coping permalink
        December 15, 2011 4:33 pm

        Hello Rits. I suggest you see a doctor as soon as you can. What is important is to get your declining cd 4 count up, and work on decreasing the viral load. So the sooner you start treatment, the better. As for your boyfriend, if u decide to tell him when are ready to, and he walks away, then know that he would have found another reason to walk out on you sooner or later regardless of your status. Please don’t wait too long before consulting with your doctor. When I tested with my partner, his results were negative and mine poz. He has been supportive from the first day but has now lately disappeared without a word. For the past few months he has been behaving awkwardly and has now cut off all communication with me for the past 3 weeks. Well, that is very unfortunate for him because I’m not in a position to chase after him. What he is doing is being a coward and I deserve better because I know I’m a good person. I might have hiv but that does not define me. Girl, you need to be strong and think about your health first. We will meet people who will accept us regardless of our statuses and girl I promise you, you will see that there is more to life than this. Please make seeing a doctor your primary priority and relationships will come secondary.

      • December 19, 2011 4:21 am

        Intlelgiecne and simplicity – easy to understand how you think.

  14. lungisa permalink
    June 2, 2010 3:46 am

    hi Mano its my first time in the site and i was just going around reading people site,im 27yrs i got tested 2005 i was only 21yrs it hit me really bad and it stil doesnt reason beagin i dont ve any children of my owne and i alwayz wonder if i will be able to, im on treatemt its been 4yrs now that i ve been taking them and every day is the reminder that im H.I.V positive.what i find hard is that there is no one i can relate to all my friends are living a health life oh and when it comes to dating it all a different ball 1st u ve to tell the person which u dont know how they wil take the news its alwayz a battle for me.

  15. Nunu permalink
    June 2, 2010 7:24 am

    Hi Shelley this is the first time in since I was diagnosed that am openly writing something about HIV!its scary,I was tested a year ago,but God is Great i came out of it triumphantly after so much tears(I actualy still cry and blame my ex). Nobody knows about my status other than my exhusband who is also positive ,and my mother,my eldest son who is 24 but the younger one of 12 does not know its too painful. I am well respected in my church and community. I serve on various ministries in my church how do I tell them. I can’t help but to question God cause it feels like some kind of punishment. Please tell me how you did it and what are you doing to survive this long. God Bless

    • Gisele Vincent-Page permalink
      November 20, 2010 11:05 am

      Dear Nunu, your story brings back memories of when I was diagnosed, over 25 years ago. I remember looking into a dark hole and seeing no future for myself or my 3 children. I was widowed when my husband died of AIDS. I too was a respected (I think I still am) member of my community. I was a teacher, and how many parents expect their childrens’teacher to have HIV?

      You haven’t done anything wrong, and I’m sure you’re not a bad person. Diseases don’t work that way. Unfortunately, HIV seems to put us under a dark cloud unlike other diseases where people get sympathy, and not scrutiny of their behaviour. I want you to know that I empathize with your feelings today and I’m sending you courage and peace. Live it one day at a time. Know that you are deserving of love and happiness.

  16. July 7, 2010 1:30 pm

    Hello. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you will join us all on http://www.realstoriesgallery.com : an online global visual arts and storytelling HIV prevention initiative partnering with Art For Humanity (based in Durban, S.A.) to support the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation’s community Tutu Tester units.

  17. Linda M. Smith permalink
    July 8, 2010 12:44 am

    Go girl!!! We are ready for you to be yourself!

  18. Phumie permalink
    July 18, 2010 9:23 am

    U are my heroe…………

  19. Maggie permalink
    January 7, 2011 9:53 am

    Wow!!I am 30 and am newly diagnosed HIV+, then I must say that your story is moving. I feel like I have all the reasons to live.

  20. sharonm10 permalink
    April 19, 2011 1:35 pm

    @ Cherity, I can only suggest you speak to your doctor bout supplements and types of exercise ur doctor knows the strength of your body. I try and eat a couple times a day, I run whenever I can.

  21. April 20, 2011 8:42 am

    All of you ladies give me all the reasons to continue living. i don’t have any friends that i can talk to or relate my story to, reading and replying to this blog makes me feel a whole lot better. my cd4 count is a low and not long i will be starting with treatment, honestly I’m scared of how my body will respond to the medication, i’m terrified of getting sick, but i hope everything is going to be alright. thank you all for being here, you are angels, and i can always count on you. Much love, Mmakgoshi.

    • sharonm10 permalink
      April 21, 2011 10:47 am

      Mmakgoshi, no matter what happens when you start meds, just keep fighting don’t give in.
      Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

    • December 15, 2011 9:03 am

      js be positive and strong,for the ones you love…

    • barely_coping permalink
      December 15, 2011 4:51 pm

      @ mmakgoshi. I have been on meds since 2007, my viral load is undetected and honestly, I haven’t had any side effects. None what so ever. When I started, my cd4 count was in the 1 hundreds and now its in the thousands. Keep one objective in mind – your health- all will be well. Good luck and keep us updated on your progress.

  22. kgomotso permalink
    May 4, 2011 4:17 am

    I just found out that I’m HIV+ and I dont know how did I get it because I never dated any man except my husband. We are not using condoms because I trusted my man, when I ask him if what happens he dont now, my husband is a paramedic so i dont knw if he got HIV @ work or what, when I ask him 2 get tested he is delaying, I don’t know if hes +ve or not. I don’t know what to do because we r married and have 2 little boyz, 4 and 2 years old. I’ve alwayz been so faithful 2 him and I’m a born again Christian. He told me that he still loves me. I don’t know what if I must divorce him or not. I was diognose HIV 2 weeks ago – I am so confuse, I am 29 years old

    • sharonm10 permalink
      May 4, 2011 11:50 am

      @kgomotso, wait, do not make any drastic decisions. Work on your own emotions first, work on your fears and pray. Deal with everythin else later. Give yourself time to be scared, time to be angry and time to cry. Don’t rush
      Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

    • joy permalink
      May 10, 2011 9:36 am

      Sharon, i was where you were though for me it was I who was positive and my husband was negative. he told me he loved me too but i found it hard to believe i made rush decisions and am paying for them now. we have a 4 year old together and i have come to see the power of fate because even after we have been apart for 3 years we seem to be getting closer again but imagine the time we have both wasted.

  23. Joy permalink
    May 10, 2011 5:19 am

    when i read about Mano i realise i should have stuck it out. i also discovered i was HIV positive when i was on an antenatal visit. My boyfriend at that time had been having regular tests and he negative. it shocked him and i guess i didnt know how to deal with it. We seperated but 5 years later he is always checking on me and supporting our 4 year old. i eventually realised he loved me more than i appreciated him for but it was too late i had gotten into another relationship with a man like me which hasnt worked out. i know of second chances and am believing God to reunite us agin because he isnt yet married.

    • December 15, 2011 8:58 am

      ahhh dats nyc of him,hope it ends welll…stay blesd

  24. Mmampho permalink
    September 13, 2011 1:46 pm

    Thanks ladies for your touching stories. I was tested hiv+ 11yrs ago. Was put on medication up until now I don’t know why I was put on medication, all I know is I was hurting and just wanted to die. But 11yrs later I’m still here due to reading so positive stories from people living with the virus. At times when I’m alone I still ask myself many questions that can’t be answered. Besides the medication is there perhaps anything I can use for the itching, that is casing my skin looks terrible. Thanks once again.

  25. December 15, 2011 8:56 am

    keep the spirit up gal

  26. Vee permalink
    December 20, 2011 10:20 am

    Vee

    Hey ladies, I’m so impressed and inspired by all your stories. I can assure you this does not happen because we are bad people, whatever your story, God still loves you and there is no better love than HIS because it is unconditional and unjudgemental. I was diagnosed 12 years ago and still not on medication. I have a beautiful 3 year old and am expecting another. I live my life meditating with GOD because HE has all the answers and I have complete faith in HIM. I’m also a gym fanatic. Just wanna say keep your chins up, HIV is not the end of the world

  27. February 7, 2012 12:29 pm

    Hello Ladies

    As I am reading I cant stop crying. I was in a relationship for four years and it ended last September. In December I met an amazing man and it was love at first sight. We decided to get tested before engaging in any sexual activity. I got the shock of my life when i discovered that I was poz and he turned out not to be. He was extremely supportive and has showered me with love ever since until last night when out of the blue he felt that he was putting himself at risk by being with me and he feels that he cannot share himself with me completely because we always have to use protection and that i’ll never be able to offer him a child. He promised to always be there for me as a friend but nothing more that that. Needless to say I am shattered…..Reading all your stories has been so inspiring and comforting to a certain degree. My hope is being restored again…

    • February 8, 2012 2:14 pm

      Hi Paleora,

      i really understand what your going through. I tested poz during an antenatal visit with my now 5 year old son. His father is negative and although he told me he loved me i knew that he felt different and believe me it didn’t take long for me to find out. Discordance is a challenge especially when the man is negative. they will promise so much understanding but many fail to honour many of these promises. i have a testimony that i will share in my next blog. i can only tell you that he wasn’t your best. it will hurt but with time you will get over it. If he coudnt stand with you then he doesnt deserve you. keep smiling my gal! Joy

      • paleora permalink
        February 20, 2012 2:34 pm

        Girl, you haven’t the slightest idea.

        I was broken into a million little pieces but I have managed to pull myself together again. Like most of the ladies, dating seems to be the scariest thing for me right now. The thought of disclosing and being rejected again is tormenting. So for now its about me, my future, my career, my well being. I know there will come a time when I am going to have to face my fear and quite honestly I don’t know how I am going to enough courage, I don’t know if I will EVER be able to.

        I have learned to celebrate each and every day. Every day is a gift. I have learned to appreciate those who still love me unconditionally regardless of my status. I have learned to love myself and give myself the best. I am a gorgeous young woman and I certainly deserve the best. And you are oh so right sister he wasn’t my best!!!

        We are not the virus ladies. We should not allow it to define us or dictate how we go forward with our lives…

  28. lisie permalink
    February 7, 2012 3:50 pm

    Oh, jsut love that story, thanx for your strong personality and courage . Because of your story I feel to live again. Just goes to show with a positive attitude nothing can go long. I’m so much looking forward to live my life to the full. Love you. Lisie

  29. lisie permalink
    February 7, 2012 3:50 pm

    Oh, jsut love that story, thanx for your strong personality and courage . Because of your story I feel to live again. Just goes to show with a positive attitude nothing can go long. I’m so much looking forward to live my life to the full. Love you. Lizz

  30. maryonuwa@yahoo.com permalink
    February 17, 2012 10:44 am

    i feel encourage about all d stories….i am mary from nigeria am 26 yrs and was tested positve in 2010 during my pragancy and my husband has refuse to go for a screening….my son is negative and am very happy about that, i hope to have more kids.

  31. February 17, 2012 2:29 pm

    Hi,
    Thank you for shearing and I love your courage too!
    My name is Bose and I am a Nigerian and live in Lagos, I have been living with HIV, for the past 11yr I was tested in year 2001,
    I am married and have three kids who are HIV negative.
    Yes! you can still have more kids if you want, but you know you will have to go through the PMTCT. which I call PPTCT ( prevention of parent to child transmission) because it is not just the mother that is making the babies but the father too, so they have to be involve at every point of intervention in preventing the child from not getting the virus from the mother.
    What this mean is greater support from the husband or partner.
    You still have to encourage him to know is status, even if both of you are positive you can still have a negative children.
    My husband too find it boring when ever I ask him to take another HIV test.
    But you keep on encouraging him and help him to see the important of him knowing his status in time than later.
    If need you can also encourage counseling, if he goes to clinic with you.
    I will be glad to answer any question you might want to ask me.
    Take care and hope to hear from you soon.

    • maryonuwa@yahoo.com permalink
      February 24, 2012 4:28 am

      hi bose, it feel good to hear from u… am wondering? how do u manage with ur medication, cos it seems expensive and scars… if u are not attached to a doctor who”s clininc has d authorisation to give out d medication.
      my company has done health insurance for us and is expering soon… with no hope to continue. am wondering how am going to manage. cheers

  32. abena permalink
    March 7, 2012 9:22 am

    Tears filled my eyes after i read your story and how determined you are to live. God bless you Mano, and i hope your story serves as an inspiration to all HIV+ people around the world. May you live to be waht God has destined you to be.

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