In commemoration of World Aids Day, radio personality Criselda Kananda has penned an emotional message of how testing and trying this year of Covid-19 has been for her as a person living with HIV.

Criselda Kananda on living with HIV for 22 years

Having had to start a course of antiretroviral medication (ARVs) in May, the radio personality has highlighted how tough the year was for her after 22 years of living healthily with HIV.

Taking to Instagram on Tuesday, December 1, Criselda said, “As I pen my message I’m overwhelmed by emotions.

“This year for the first time was the hardest. In the 22 yrs of living healthily with HIV infection I could have never anticipated that I’d have my heart broken and the feeling of betrayal would lead me to a weak immune system, post traumatic disorder, ICU hospitalisation and for prevention of possible exposure to the coronavirus I made the decision to start ARVs.”

The radio veteran added that this year was the year she tested all her theories about HIV claiming how grateful she was to still be alive today as many were not so fortunate.

“It’s been a year that tested all my theories about HIV. I am still here, gaining strength daily. Grateful for life, family and genuine friends, loving my career progression [simply put I love my job].

“Though it was not easy, every day I choose to love me unconditionally, I show up as the best version of myself, I teach people how I want to be treated, I honour me and all my achievements.”

Criselda said she makes sure she lives, loves and lets live. She also drew up some stats of how many people had lost their lives to Aids, saying that HIV was a global public health issue.

“As of 2017, AIDS has killed 41.5m people worldwide, the reasons vary from person to person. An estimated 36.7m people are living with HIV, 7m of them are here in SA … making it one of the most important global public health issues in recorded history.”

Criselda stated there really was no need for more people to die from HIV infection and it being World AIDS Day, she urged South Africans once again to invest in facts about the infection.

“Please stop saying HIV/Aids simply because HIV is not Aids. We don’t say hypertension/stroke do we? HIV is a germ that weakens the body. Aids is any illness that takes advantage of the weak body and makes the body sick.

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“Most Aids illnesses can be cured. TB, cancers, pneumonia, diarrhoea, meningitis, bacterial and fungal infections and some that are incurable but treatable: shingles and other viral infections like herpes.”

Criselda concluded stating the biggest lie continues to be that ARVs alone make living with HIV easier which she doesn’t truly believe.

“As for me a well balanced life of a healthy mind, body and soul including taking prescribed medicines consistently makes living with HIV infection bearable.

“Spare a thought for the 41.5m people who died, this is not just a number, these were fellow humans. Think about their families and commit to leaning more about HIV. Know your status today. Stop the intentional infliction of pain to fellow humans.”

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