People born with HIV can go on to live healthy and productive lives. Mlungisi Makhubo of Qwaqwa in the Free State, now 30 years old, is living proof of this.
It has not been an easy journey, but he remains positive and determined to continue his treatment.
Mlungisi told Our Health his story:
“I was born with HIV and my mother died three years later. I was then taken to a home where I was raised by my foster parents. My status was a secret, something I couldn't share. My foster parents told me that I would never make it to adulthood because of my lung disease.
I saw people making remarkable progress while taking their medication, so I decided to take mine fully and never miss it.
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After finishing school, I met a girl who soon became my wife. I was open to her and told her about my status and she was so understanding.
It didn't change how she felt about me. She was there by my side, supporting me through everything, and later we were blessed with a baby boy. I am happy that both my wife and my son are HIV negative.
Just before the birth of my son I got very sick with pulmonary hypertension and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It was like the pneumonia and other lung afflictions I had suffered while growing up.
I was put on oxygen for 24 hours a day and I needed a lung transplant to survive, I managed my HIV by taking my treatment.
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It's so tiring. All I have been doing my whole life is battling with HIV and my lung infection. I just want to relax.
I am now living a healthy life with my wife and son. I am on treatment for HIV and for my lungs, and I am on the list waiting for a transplant.
Mlungisi’s wife Mpho has stuck loyally by his side.
“I am very supportive of my husband, for the healthy life he has chosen and I am there for him. Sometimes I even go to collect his medication, that's how much I care,” she said.
According to the World Health Organisation, HIV continues to be a major global public issue, with more than 35 million of people globally currently living with HIV.
Causes of HIV/Aids
Risk factors for HIV infection
Symptoms of HIV/Aids