Even though it affects everyone, the most vulnerable are the elderly, those living with chronic diseases and people living with HIV/Aids as they’re prone to severe illness from this virus.
The national department of health estimates that coronavirus could infect more than 70 percent of South Africans. At the time of publishing, more than 1000 people were confirmed to have contracted the virus, while a 48-year-old woman and 28-year-old woman were the first local coronavirus deaths.
Loyiso Lindani who has been living with HIV for almost 15 years shares her experience of living with the HIV while under threat of coronavirus.
The East London-born activist and author of How HIV Saved My Life sees a silver lining in the midst of this pandemic.
The world is in a state of panic and I am indoors doing what I’ve always been doing, only now it’s termed self-isolation. My way of life hasn’t changed because of the outbreak, I still take my medication and over the years I’ve become a bit of a loner but now my daily life is called self-isolation and quarantining.
I feel extremely bad for the families that have lost their loved ones, I know the heartbreak well having lost both of my parents as a teenager. There is so much anxiety and fear right now because of the new infections that are being reported, nobody knows who’s next because of it spreading so easily. Unlike HIV it is not associated with promiscuity and there is less stigma and more empathy on those infected.
I suspect that all my childhood traumas, abusive relationships, anxieties and living with HIV has made me immune or has rather desensitized me to death to the point that I embrace it as a natural part of life; nobody makes it out alive.
So, after years with HIV, TB, pneumonia, cancer, diabetes and all other chronic illnesses comes coronavirus and we are in a state of panic as if we don’t know who we are, what we are made of and how we have continued to overcome.
We’ve endured and came out stronger and soon we shall overcome the coronavirus, it will not be the end of us as a people. To assist myself and my community, I mainly keep indoors. I don’t go out much unless to visit friends every once in a while but since the outbreak we’ve been communicating with friends mainly online to check up on each other.
Besides that, I haven’t done much really. I’ve been washing my hands regularly and have now started washing them even more than just regularly. I’m conscious of myself and my surroundings all the time so I think I’ll just wait it out and see what happens like everyone else.
In the event that I should test positive by any chance then I will apply the same mindset that has kept me living with HIV for the past 14 years and that is to keep a positive outlook and follow all the prescribed methods.
Right now I think everyone should keep informed as much as possible about how to protect themselves as well as to not drive the panic but apply calmness and caution. We need to take lessons from the other countries that have had large numbers in infections and apply those lessons not just in South Africa but all over Africa.
It’s easy for coronavirus to spread because you could get it from anyone you come into contact with which adds to the scare and panic however what I love is that it’s ‘forcing’ people to be more self-aware. People are indoors, praying more, drinking less, engaging more and this is great for our country and communities.
For now I will keep washing my hands, continue being a loner, take my medication, listen to the president’s response and take it from there.