Today is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. In honor of women and girls everywhere who are affected by HIV/AIDS, and to recognize the unique challenges they face, here is Kayz’s story.
Kayz Webber is the Administrator for the Cape Town Families Matter! Program site. She oversees and facilitates the site’s reporting, and she makes sure that the facilitators have what they need to run their sessions. She is passionate about her work. Part of her passion comes from the fact that she herself is HIV positive. She wants to share her story with others and to help prevent more cases of HIV.
“I found out that I was HIV positive in 2000, 3 months after I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl whom I love so dearly.
“She started to get sick when she was three months old, so I took her to Red Cross Children’s Hospital. After many tests, the doctors finally asked for my permission to test her for HIV/AIDS and the results came back positive. That’s when I knew that I was also infected. Two months down the line I made a decision that I would visit the nearest clinic and do the test, and it also came back positive.
“To be honest, I was scared and angry, asking myself, ‘Why me?’
“When my daughter was tested I was informed that she might not live long, that she might die around the age of three. This hurt me badly, because this was an innocent soul. I started feeling bad. I was blaming myself for her life but on the other hand I couldn’t change what had been done. I had to focus on how I was going to live for her. I had no other choice but to be strong for her and give her all my love – and without God and my family, I would have done this alone.
“My bond with my family became so strong – I am so grateful to them. They started to encourage me to be open about it, and I became more special to them. I started to feel like a princess around my family.
“Then in 2005 I disclosed in public – we were celebrating a World AIDS Day in my church, and ever since then I have been telling my story, encouraging people who are both affected and infected. I started to have a desire to help but I didn’t know how. In 2011 I fell seriously ill and I was rushed to the hospital.
“All I can say is that even though I was in bed sick, one thing I will never forget is the support from my family, church and friends, and especially my daughter. Not even a single day was I alone in the hospital. They took turns visiting me and I never lacked anything – and that alone made me recover very quickly. That same year, my daughter and I started ARV‘ s.
“In 2013 I was hired at Hope Educational Foundation – my second family. I can speak so openly around my colleagues and it feels so good. I feel so blessed that no one is judging me, and I have learned so much in this program. Some of the participants share their stories, and it feels good to know I’m also part of the program that has brought light in peoples lives. I have no doubt that I am with the right program.
“I don’t see myself only helping people from South Africa but I always say, ‘I’m international.’ I see myself being an ambassador – touching many lives. I’m so excited and grateful to be part of this family and to be able to share my story. It’s not yet over until God says it’s over!”