Mr Molai accepting the awards

Mr Molai accepting the awards for Mohapinyane, Tshepiso grade 8 Kgothalang School

My name is Tshepiso Mohapinyane a.k.a “Virus”.

I was born on 26 September 2001, carried to earth by a womb that had a “virus” so said my community.
This simply implied that my mother was HIV+ and little do I know about my father because nothing has been said about him.

All the lectures I get in my life are a true reflection of my mother. The things she used to do during her teens, the fame, “a gold digger” and a “home wrecker”. She died at the age of seventeen when I was five months old, before I could even call her mommy.

Yes! I am Virus because I was born HIV+. HIV is an abbreviation for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. A virus that causes the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), a condition in human beings in which progressive failure of the immune systems allows life threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive. My condition is however stable because I have not yet reached the AIDS stage.

The story of my life is very painful.

I could cry when I think about where I come from but crying would be a waste of tears, which I could keep to boost my immune system and increase the number of years I could live.

I do not know so much about my life from the time I was born until I was in Grade. R. People would tell me that I was a very good kid, who allowed anyone to carry and hold me even though there were a few people who would do so due to my status. I was a kid and did not see any of this. Life for me began during my first days at school, going to school like any other kid, but my schoolmates would not want to be near me. I guess they were scared to sit next to me, talk to me or even play with me all because of the wrong impression they got from their parents’ about me. I would watch them enjoy their sweets during break times while my sweets were ARV’s, my life givers. I would sit alone in the class day dreaming about what life has in store for me.

Thinking that I may die soon gave me the wrong impression of how I could make my life fun before dying. I sometimes felt as if I could go party all night with no worries about what anyone has to say, get high on drugs and forget all about my life or better yet, spread this virus all over so that I may have people to go to heaven with.

All these negative thoughts were put to an end by the sessions I attended at my support group. These sessions made me think more positively about my life, my future; I see myself wearing a white medical coat at the University of the Free State studying medicine. The purpose of studying this course is that I have a passion to fight the stigma attached to being HIV+ and find a cure to this disease, so that I may not only be known as “Virus” but “Dr. Virus”.

I believe I have a lot of time, many more years to live and for as much of this time I have on earth I will  have to bring change.

I will not let my past jeopardize my future because the future is where I am heading.
The story of my life does not end here.

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