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However, the thought of having to disclose her status to him prevents her from declaring her true feelings.

“I’m worried that he might embarrass me by going around telling people about my status,” says Dlamini.

She says that being part of the club has also helped her gain a measure of confidence and she is no longer shy around people.

“When the doctor told me that I was infected with HIV, I cried and asked my mother where I got it. She was only 13 at the time and was put on ART immediately.

Thanks to extensive counselling and joining the Teen Club at BCMCFS (where she still gets ART for free), Dlamini was able to accept that ‘living with HIV is not a death sentence’.

“These are not easy issues and we partner with other organisations,” says Sarero.

“As an organisation, we can only do so much.” But for Dlamini, the organisation makes a big difference to her life.

In 2007 mother and daughter were referred to the Baylor College of Medicine Children’s Foundation-Swaziland (BCMCFS) for HIV counselling and testing.

Dlamini tested positive and her mother, a food vendor at Mbabane Market, was found to be HIV-positive as well.“I had always been a sickly child and my mother took me to traditional healers but my condition did not improve,” she says.“I had a bad rash all over my body and this affected my performance at school because I was absent most of the time.” Her father, a mineworker, died in 2001.The club deals with a range of topics including how to take ARVs correctly; the pathology of the virus and how it is transmitted; dealing with disclosure to friends and peers; nutrition and HIV; and how to stay focused on one’s dreams.“I have a friend at the Teen Club whom I’m comfortable to confide (in) especially about issues pertaining to HIV/AIDS,” she says.“Interacting with a lot of children in my situation at the club has made me realise that I’m not alone in this situation,” she says.

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