I am a 38 year old single and very independent lady from South Africa, Pretoria. I am my mother's daughter, my brothers' sister and my lovely nephew's aunt. I have no child of my own and I had hoped to have at least one before I hit 40. Although the future looks bright in terms of managing the disease with the constant research done and findings made, it is still a challenge for a + woman to live a normal life. My dream of having a little one seems to be just that……A DREAM. Although it is not impossible, I must admit it is a challenge.

I was diagnosed 4 years ago and started meds almost immediately (about a month after my diagnosis). Scared as I was, I took it upon myself to read as much as I could about the virus, and ask as many questions as possible during my consultations with my doctor. I am glad to say that the virus is now undetectable and my CD count has sky-rocketed from where it was when I started medication. Although I am living a positive and healthy lifestyle, I have not yet reached a stage where I can openly disclose my status. Besides my Doctor, only three other people are aware of my status.

Why barelycoping want to be a part of A Girl Like Me: HIV is a scary virus, but I always say to myself, everything happens for a reason. This might sound quite cliche'd but "It really is not a death sentence". I have tried all avenues to get into contact with people (both men and women) who are in a similar situation, but I have never succeeded before. I would like to share my fears, my challenges and my joy with people who understand what it is like to live with this virus. Most importantly, I would like to share the good information that I always get every time I visit my Doctor. I would like to assist those who are struggling to accept their diagnoses and to have friends with whom I can talk to without the fear of being judged, discriminated against or being looked down at (as if we had asked for this).

Currently, I am barely-coping (as my name suggests), because the one person I had hoped will be around to give me support has started acting quite strange. Discovering this site has just come at the right time, which only puts emphasis on the point I made earlier that "everything happens for a reason". I will not, and do not, have all the answers, but my HUGE HUG is readily available. Together we will walk this journey through the tears, fears, laughter and LOVE.

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