|HIV knows no boundaries|
|Saturday, 09 June 2012 22:06|
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Sunday News Correspondent
A PASTOR living positively with HIV in Hwange is involved in fighting stigma in his church and in the town. He is educating the masses that HIV does not consider; one’s status in life, where one comes from and how much money one makes. Above al, the virus does not discriminate.
Pastor Thabani Ndlovu (44) heads the Bretheren In Christ Church in Hwange.
He tested positive for HIV in 2007 and has been living positively since then.
“I am positive. My life speaks louder than what I say,” he said with a smile.Pastor Ndlovu said he accepted his HIV status and is free to tell other people about it.
He pointed out that HIV/Aids was not a punishment from God and people should erase the thought in their minds.
“I have been preaching for 15 years now. By the time I was infected, Aids had emerged but people were still learning about it. HIV/Aids is not a punishment. The bible doesn’t say that but I admit other Christians see it as one. If it’s a punishment, it should be written in the scriptures and I haven’t come across it. I always study the bible, I read my scriptures. To me HIV/Aids is just like any other disease.
“People come to talk to me trying to understand why I talk about the need for support in church sessions. Even though I am HIV positive, I am living life like any other person,” he said.
Pastor Ndlovu described how when he told the congregation about his status, he was met with mixed feelings such as trepidation.
He said as time ticked, people have learnt more about Aids and have accepted it as just a disease.
“Some could not understand how a pastor, a servant of God could be HIV positive. I have to be honest, some members of the church lost faith while some accepted me as their pastor. While standing on the pulpit I could feel the stigma and discrimination around me. I didn’t blame anyone, because such feelings and sentiments were brought about by lack of knowledge and information on the subject,” he said.
Pastor Ndlovu first disclosed his status to the head Bishop and his wife, who were concerned and asked about his relationship with his wife who is also HIV positive.
“I am a glad to say our love is much stronger than before. It is immortal. We are now born again, we live in a world anew,” he said.
The pastor said as a leader, he is involved in a number of projects in and around the community relating to HIV and Aids support and counsel groups.
“I speak to persons affected by HIV in various stages of their lives. As part of groups offering support, we speak positively about Aids. I am always involved and travelling around visiting people and talking to them about HIV and demystifying the myths associated with it,” he said.
Pastor Ndlovu noted the issue of condoms was debatable, as different schools of thought arose considering the era people lived in.