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Monday 31 October 2005
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A spade is still a spade

Dear Diary

The nauseating effect of the Purback and Combiver combination every morning is now severe enough to make me want to quit treatment and wait for the inevitable.

I say "inevitable" because here in South Africa, where about 5 million people live with HIV/AIDS, nobody wants to talk about death unless its from "natural causes" like pneumonia, asthma, all types of cancer, and even the common flu.

And no disease in the history of mankind has ever been known by so many aliases.

HIV/AIDS has been called everything from slim sickness, to "H"ouse "I"n "V"ereeniging to amagama amathatu (Xhosa for three-letter word) and my mother's favourite, "Aunty Aida".

So why don't we help the masses sink deeper in their denial of HIV/AIDS by never speaking this disease's name again?

Let us instead say that if nothing is done soon to encourage behaviour change, especially among our youth, then the entire population could eventually die of the "inevitable", instead of AIDS-related illnesses.

It does after all have a much nicer ring to it without conjuring up images of filthy homosexuals, sex orgies, drug addicts, prostitutes, child rape and poverty.

The one thing actually keeping me committed to my antiretroviral programme right now is the realisation that, while I may not be able to avoid the inevitable, modern medicine - in all its toxic and nauseating glory - has allowed me to delay the unavoidable.

And who knows, maybe this delay will be enough for me to actually see the successful development of a cure, or at the very least, the development of a vaccine.

I still have not decided which is more nauseating, the Purback and Combiver combination, or the fact that the ignorance of so many people is forcing them on a quick and fast trip to Aunty Aida's house in Vereeniging, where they would inevitably die from slim sickness, and be sent on their way with another three-letter word ... RIP.

Forever Positive

Hayden Horner

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Diary Entries
Beyond the Borders of HIV/AIDS Treatment Strategies
HIV/AIDS Feminisation: A new wine in an old bottle
Antiretrovirals - The Wind Beneath My Wings
The Mis-education of HIV/AIDS Clinicians
HIV Prevention 101: Ignoring the Church's views on condoms
Stigma and HIV/AIDS: lethal bedfellows
In remembrance of our women and children
Maids, madams and the "terrible thing"
Internet love and inter-related HIV-prejudice
Previously eyes-wide-shut on HIV and religion
Love, lies and disclosure
Black pot and blacker kettle
Things better left unsaid on the bus
Food for thought while waiting to die
Test results not all good
Diary speaks back
The truth about disclosure
Dangerous myths and damaged angels

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