She doesn‘t for one moment regret disclosing her HIV status to her ex, even if he did try and use it against her, ANC MP Tasneem Motara insists.
“I believe sharing your status with your partner is the most important thing you can do,” she told News24 on Monday.
“My status never bothered me,” Motara, 36, said, which is why she was able to announce that she was HIV positive in a 203-word Facebook post over the weekend, before getting on with her day by taking part in an ANC registration drive.
By midday on Monday, it had been shared over 300 times.
“I did it so that he can leave me alone,” Motara said. “Since I’ve told my story myself, he can‘t threaten me anymore. All I want is him out of my life.”
Only her immediate family and the ex-partner had been privy to her status.
“But I‘m okay with it, and with everyone knowing. I have lived with HIV for many years, and haven‘t been sick for a long time. I take my medication and I have a family who supports me,” she said.
Motara was diagnosed as HIV-positive after she became sick and landed up in hospital almost a decade ago.
“After doctors had done every test you could think of, and couldn‘t find what was wrong with me, an HIV test was suggested.
“During the pre-test counselling, the counsellor asked me if there was any possibility I could have it. It struck me, because I had been very naïve in my last relationship [before the diagnosis]. My ex had been very promiscuous. I, without hesitation, told her yes, it was definitely possible.”
Her status was confirmed shortly thereafter.
“I cried. But my parents were there and supported me. I very quickly accepted it and started my medication,” Motara said.
She had never made a secret of her status, the MP asserted.
“[Shortly into our relationship], I told [my former partner] about my status. I made it clear that we can continue seeing each other or end it. There was no gun against his head for him to stay.”
“But I did what he wanted to do, whether he was really going to do it or not. I feel relieved – he is now definitely out of my life.”
She hasn’t heard from him since her Facebook post.
“People are ugly. They can use anything against you – if not your status, it will be something else.
“But the support I have received has been overwhelming, coming from all over. I am grateful.”
Almost 800 messages of support were posted in response to Motara’s update.
“He‘s an idiot who needs to grow up,” one user commented. “You don‘t owe the world an explanation about your life. You are brave and beautiful, sisi.”
“You owned your story and wherever he is, he’s over. It’s over for him,” another posted.
A number demanded to know the man’s name. Motara, however, didn’t respond to comments.