This Woman Bravely Tweeted She's HIV-Positive and Helped Start a Conversation About Status and Stigma

(Photo: Saidy Brown via Twitter)

This Woman Bravely Tweeted She's HIV-Positive and Helped Start a Conversation About Status and Stigma

Saidy Brown is on a mission to show there is life after diagnosis.

Published February 27, 2017

  1. Meet 22-year-old Saidy Brown from Itsoseng, South Africa
  2. Recently, Brown took to Twitter to disclose that she has been HIV-Positive since age 14
  3. People immediately applauded Brown for her bravery
  4. Brown's diagnosis and medical journey has helped shape her entire life

    According to BuzzFeed News, Brown learned that she was HIV-positive during a school event where they tested students.

    “Initially, I wanted to cry, I was so scared, I mean I was only 14,” Brown told Buzzfeed. “I kept it a secret, and only told my aunt six months later, who confirmed that I got it from my parents.”

    It was only when Brown was diagnosed with the illness that she learned both of her parents died from HIV.

    “I pushed the thought of me living with HIV to the back of my mind,” she told Buzzfeed. “I never thought about it, until four years later when I was 18 and I was deteriorating, I had these nasty sores on my neck and face, I went to the clinic to check if they could like give me an ointment to treat them, that was when they reminded me that I had tested positive for HIV, and that my health was deteriorating, I needed to start treatment.”

    Brown now takes antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to control the symptoms of her illness. 

  5. Additionally, Brown has helped many engage in the dialogue surrounding HIV medication
  6. More stories of surviving with HIV have been posted as a result of Brown's first tweet

    When it comes to her future, Brown hopes to continue to work in ending the stigma of HIV as well as being a role model for disease awareness. Right now, Brown is doing her best to show the world that you don’t have to stop living your life because of a positive diagnosis.

    "I'm in a relationship currently,” Brown told BBC. “It's very amazing because usually I disclose right at the beginning of the relationship. So once the person decides that they want to stay with me then it's all good, but if they decide to leave, it's still fine. I won't hate them because people still have their own issues regarding HIV. I don't really blame the person who says: 'No I can't stay with you because you're HIV-positive.’”

    Brown also hopes to start a family of her own one day. She has recently been looking into preventative treatments to avoid the transmission of HIV to her partner or baby.

    "I'm the daughter of mother-to-child transmission so I wouldn't want to put my kids through it," she told BBC. 

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: Saidy Brown via Twitter)

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