My name is Jenny, and I am 53 years old. I live in South Africa in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in a community called Mariannridge, about 20km out of the city of Durban. This is where I live, and this is where I work.
I could be described as somebody who is growing old with HIV. I have been on treatment for the last 18 years. I was diagnosed during a random blood test for life insurance and at that point began my journey with HIV. I was diagnosed during a time when there was no treatment available in South Africa and in 2002 under the programme of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, I was able to access treatment as part of a small group of people who were able to get treatment before the South African government was providing treatment and care in South Africa.
During this journey, I have been an ambassador for people living with HIV and had the opportunity to give a voice to many people living with HIV. I was also part of the advocacy and lobby group that lobbied around issues of testing, care and treatment for people living with HIV.
The thing that drives me I think would be, I believe in a world where we should all live in peace and it is absolutely important that if we want peace we should work for justice, so I’m driven by justice. As an activist in my community, in society, as a global activist, I always choose the side of the poor because I believe that justice belongs to all irrespective of their situation, their circumstances, who they are, where they live, what environment they come from and what society they live in.
And so, I think that’s what drives me, where I’m doing community development, whether I’m raising my voice on behalf of others, whether I’m lobbying and advocating both in my community, within the national space or the international space, I’m driven by the idea that we all have a human right to live a life that is full. We all have a right to protection. We all have the right to healthcare. I believe very strongly in the South African constitution and the Bill of Rights which gives a sense of purpose to the kind of society that we want to build, both where we are, and in the world.