NOMVULA Shale’s life changed in 1996 after she tested positive for HIV.
Today, she has been living with the virus for 25 years and is also an HIV/Aids activist.
So in October last year, the 48-year-old mum of two from Lindelani, north of Durban, made vows to officially take HIV/Aids as a life partner.
She had a garden wedding with a pastor to bless the union and there were also guests to witness the union.
Nomvula is now Mrs HIV/Aids and as the world commemorated World Aids Day on 1 December, she celebrated her one-year wedding anniversary.
She said she decided to wed HIV as she wanted to encourage those living with the virus to accept they will live with it for a long time.
“My world crashed in 1996 as many people rejected me after I tested positive. I had zero hope I will live as doctors told me I will die after six months. I was miserable and had to prepare for my funeral. I wrote my funeral programme and had everything ready for the day,” she said.
Nomvula said when she did not die, she decided to fight the virus.
“I did not know who to tell first so I decided to tell my church leader. I was called into a meeting and told to drop out of the church choir because I was going to infect their children with HIV,” said Nomvula.
After she was chased out of church, she turned to her friend, who in turn told everyone ekasi.
“I received a lot of rejection. I got very sick in 2006 and was bedridden due to stress. But I told myself I have to live for my children,” she said.
After she healed, she joined various non-profit organisations to motivate people.
“I saw the need to educate people about HIV because there are a lot of myths about it,” she said.
Nomvula also tried to date after she tested positive, but the men she met stopped talking to her after she disclosed her status.
“I disclosed because I got the virus from someone who did not disclose his status,” she said.
In 2018, she opened Siphila Ngomusa to help people who tested positive and homeless people.
“I cook for them so they can take their ARVs. In 2020 we were asked by the eThekwini Municipality to expand our services to reach homeless people. I was later employed by the municipality as a driver and I deliver the food to different stations.”