Social activist Gethwana Mahlase is a nurse and NGO founder and told her story at the recent "702 presents The Moth" showcase event - to rapturous applause.
On 1 December South Africans will commemorate World Aids Day and Gethwana says much more needs to be done.
She gave up her day job as a nurse and, through hard work and determination started her NGO in 1995.
She lost friends and relatives to HIV/AIDS and started working in her community to address mens' role and women's rights in fighting the disease.
Mahlase spent many years as a community HIV/AIDS educator in rural Kwa-Zulu Natal and is now writing a book on stories she collected from grandmothers who lost all or almost all their children to the illness.
We have not yet won the fight. We are not yet where we want to be.— Gethwana Mahlase, social activist
She believes that NGOs have an important role to play in advocating for HIV/AIDS and providing support to communities.
According to Mahlase, the stigma of HIV/AIDS still exists but has become internalised HIV positive people.
It's not so much that people from the outside that stigmatise. It's the people themselves who are afraid and carry internal fears.— Gethwana Mahlase, social activist
She says the perception of risk has been reduced over the years due to the development of ARV treatment and other drugs.
Gethwana was one of the storytellers featured in our podcast series "702 presents The Moth". Her story received a massive response when she told it at the Market Theatre.
702 partnered with The Moth to present unique story podcasts around issues of personal identity and experiences with HIV/ AIDS.
Learn more about The Moth - an acclaimed non-for-profit organisation dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling.