Faghmeda Miller was the first Muslim woman in South Africa to publicly disclose her status as a person infected with HIV. Since making that decision soon after her husband died from the disease, she has become an HIV/AIDS activist, focusing specifically on the Muslim community. When she discovered in the mid-1990s that she too was infected, her initial reaction she said was one of shame. “The first thing that went through my mind was the shame I had brought on my family. I, therefore decided to keep this information to myself, after all it wouldn’t be long till I die.”
Faghmeda said she did not realize the possibility for people infected with HIV to lead full, productive lives, a message she now actively shares with others. Learning the facts about HIV and AIDS has been a transformative experience for Faghmeda who claims in her life, her attitude, and even her personality changed. In the process, she said she found the courage to battle the stigma attached to infection, even announcing her status on community radio. She also co-founded a non-profit organization called Positively Muslim.
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