I found out about my HIV status while I was in maximum security prison for committing murder. I saw that most of the inmates living with HIV in prison were dying there. So I thought, I’m going to die in prison too.

I was fortunate, though. Because I was a teacher and one of the most active inmate representatives, the wardens arranged that I be placed on medical parole.

My physical condition at that time was extremely bad. Instead of going on medication, I started to consult traditional healers. But I felt steadily worse. I was looking death in the eye. Finally, my eldest brother took me to a private doctor who arranged for me to get Western medication.

Before I went to prison, I had been a member of SAPS, the South African Police Service. We used to say that the police uniform got us many girls. I never used protection. Deep down in my heart I knew that my past was not right. Still, it was hard for me to understand that I had to live with HIV.

Some people say, “Ludick, you are thirty-five years old. By the time you become a completely free man, you’ll be fifty-four. Do you really think you are going to survive until your parole is finished?” I say, “I hope that you will be around so I can show you that I am here, living my life.”