Winning the war on HIV

Winning the war on HIV

A number of people have over the years played a role in the development of the TAC and our battle for antiretrovirals. There are too many to mention. In the following pages a small group of people who played a role in one way or another and represent various constituencies, share their recollections of the past and their dreams for the future.

Sipho Mthethwa was one of the first people to challenge the SA National Defence Force’s rules that exclude People living with HIV from entering active service. Despite several court ruling affirming the rights of people living with HIV to serve, the SANDF continues to appeal the judgements. SECTION27’s Advocate Adila Hassim (pictured in the centre above) has done most of the TAC’s legal representation since 2004.
Sipho Mthethwa was one of the first people to challenge the SA National Defence Force’s rules that exclude People living with HIV from entering active service. Despite several court ruling affirming the rights of people living with HIV to serve, the SANDF continues to appeal the judgements. SECTION27’s Advocate Adila Hassim (pictured in the centre above) has done most of the TAC’s legal representation since 2004.

At first, when I was diagnosed positive, it was the end of the world for me because in the army I could not be deployed externally and [could not be] promoted, and I did not know anything about the virus. I started to drink and I had a lot of stress.

Then I started to get information and it helped me a lot. I met Mark Heywood during the SASFU (South African Security Forces Union) conference and he introduced me to Nonkosi Khumalo and other members of the Treatment Action Campaign. They organised to give us information and from that I learned what it is that I am dealing with.

Then we started with the court case and we won. I was the first soldier to be deployed externally – in Sudan; it was very hot and I survived. I came back and I was deployed to DRC and I survived again.

I am healthy and fit. When I started the ARVs, I never thought that I would make it. I am I happy to be alive – they made my life easy. My CD4 count is 1 400.