A Grade 12 learner at Huba High who joined the Reducing HIV in Adolescents(RHIVA) programme two years ago, celebrates what she has gained:
“… to test for HIV/AIDS is a wonderful experience with a reward at the end… because I know my status and can keep living healthy by the knowledge I am getting from RHIVA …and the best part is…this information is for free, absolutely no costs involved…”.
The learner says she has even improved academically since RHIVA has taught her that education and hard work will enable her to pursue her dreams for the future. With both her parents deceased, the RHIVA cash incentives enable her to buy her own toiletries – a big help at home where her grandmother is already struggling to feed them.
“I’m aiming to make my grandmother and myself proud with the information that I’ve gained from this wonderful youth project… It has indeed been and still is a joyride for me… thank you RHIVA for all I have gained and experienced…”
How has HIV testing impacted other learner participants in RHIVA? More extracts from learner essays tell the story…
…my life has changed a lot because many things that I could not do, now I am able to do. Before RHIVA I could not go for HIV testing but RHIVA gave me courage and confidence… I went …and I got my results that I never thought I would know. (Grade 11 male learner)
Many of us believed going for a HIV is like digging your own grave or counting your days of living. RHIVA has taught us how to live with AIDS…[and] cope with our results and also how to prevent AIDS. (Grade 11 female learner)
RHIVA has helped me in… changing my lifestyle… by educating me about life challenges that I may face if I am not careful… encouraging me to stay negative and if I get positive to not stop in believing in myself… that it is not the end of the world, I could still be what I set out to be if I put my mind and hard work to it. (Grade 11 female learner)