Streaming issues? Report here
CapeTalk_2021_Top_Corner 1000 x 1000 CapeTalk_2021_Top_Corner 1000 x 1000
Best of CapeTalk
22:00 - 00:00
volume_up
volume_mute

Up Next: Early Breakfast with Africa Melane
See full line-up
Best of CapeTalk
22:00 - 00:00
Home
arrow_forward
Local

'I can't change my HIV status, but people can change their mindsets'

1 December 2021 4:30 PM
Tags:
HIV
World Aids Day
HIV/Aids
hiv/aids treatment

CapeTalk host Pippa Hudson chats to Jaco Lourens about his experience of living with HIV.
  • Local businessman Jaco Lourens has been living with HIV for over 20 years
  • He was diagnosed in the 1990s at the height of the AIDS denialism era
  • Over the years, the virus has become a manageable chronic disease rather than a death sentence
  • Lourens shares his story with CapeTalk on World AIDS Day and encourages people to get tested

Cape Town businessman Jaco Lourens contracted HIV in the early 90s at a time during the pandemic when HIV testing was referred to as the "gay test".

Lourens lived with the virus for almost four years before he was diagnosed. During that period when he was unaware of his status, he unknowingly infected his partner at the time.

His partner died of AIDS when Lourens was 26-years-old and he wanted his status to be kept a secret due to the stigma associated with the disease.

"He passed away at home because he didn't want people to know he's got AIDS. He asked me to tell people he had colon cancer, which I did", Lourens tells CapeTalk.

At some point, Lourens himself had full-blown AIDS, with a dangerously low CD4 count of 99.

Lourens has now been living with the virus for more than 20 years. He's witnessed the evolution of treatment options from taking up to 28 ARV tablets per day to now taking just one pill per day.

He's married to a man who has also been living with HIV for several years and says they both live healthy, active lives.

Lourens has encouraged people to get tested for HIV. "Get your test done, confirm your status, and protect yourself and those around you."

RELATED: HIV/Aids activist Sibulele Sibaca uses her voice to uplift girls and young women

When I contracted HIV... my doctor at the time slapped me on the wrist for having unprotected sex, treated me with anti-biotics for a very bad cold and flu and that was it.

Jaco Lourens

I lived with HIV for about four years until I met my first partner and I unknowingly infected him with HIV. SoI had been living with the disease for all that time and I didn't know it.

Jaco Lourens

As I get older - I'm almost 50 - I care less about what people think about me. That's why I'm so open to talk to you about this. I can't change my HIV status, but people can change their minds about how they approach it and deal with it.

Jaco Lourens

Today, the medication is better and the side effects are less. It's a more manageable disease.

Jaco Lourens

Knowledge is power, in all areas of life. If you know your status, you can live a healthier life... I lived for almost four years not knowing what my status is, I put other people's lives at risk. Get your test done, confirm your status, and protect yourself and those around you.

Jaco Lourens



1 December 2021 4:30 PM
Tags:
HIV
World Aids Day
HIV/Aids
hiv/aids treatment

More from Local