I was born with the virus. I have been living with it for about twenty-five years now. I am strong. I am beautiful. I am a positive woman in all senses of that word. And I won’t let anyone discriminate against me.

When I was a little girl, I heard the doctor talking to my granny and predicting that I wouldn’t make it to my seventh birthday. During that time, there was no medication for the virus and I was so very ill. So when I reached seven, they said I wouldn’t make it to ten. So when I made it to ten, they said I wouldn’t make it to thirteen.

Even at thirteen, I was still a child, but my neighbors already knew that I was living with the virus because my granny told them. As a result, some of my neighbors wouldn’t let their kids play with me. I was so lonely, I was so ashamed, I just didn’t know what was happening. I was so angry with my granny for sharing my information.

Since then, I’ve learned that my granny was just trying to protect me. Because she thought that if she died no one would take care of me. She wanted to let the neighbors know so that if she passed away, they would do it.

After that, I thought, why not take care of myself, and go to my doctor, and schedule my checkups, and take my medication? Because this medication, it’s mine.

That’s why I have survived. Every time I fall ill, I always tell the virus that this is my body, you are a tenant, so behave well. Because if you don’t, I will die, and you will die because you will have no place to live.

Recently, I thought that I would start an organization. I call it The Angels’ Light. I came up with the name because of the kids who are born with the virus. They are the angels, shining bright for the future.

Together, we are strong. We are beautiful. We are positive. And we will not allow anyone to discriminate against us.