File photo: It’s unclear if Zodwa was revealing her HIV status or just taking the ARVs as a preventative measure. Picture Ayanda Ndamane/African/news/agency ANA
File photo: It’s unclear if Zodwa was revealing her HIV status or just taking the ARVs as a preventative measure. Picture Ayanda Ndamane/African/news/agency ANA

Zodwa Wabantu sparks much-needed conversation on ARVs

By Viwe Ndongeni-Ntlebi Time of article published Apr 19, 2021

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Dancer and reality star Zodwa Wabantu has sparked conversation on ARVs on social media. The controversial dancer was trending after a video showing her dropping a purse full of ARVs went viral.

Zodwa took it to Instagram to share the video. Her caption: “Jackson is Another name for ARV’s. Zodwa Wabantu Stands for what is Taboo in Society/Communities. Uhlulwa u Jackson ? (You can't handle Jackson?)” (sic).

The celebrated dancer aired the HIV-related episodes on her reality show Zodwa Wabantu Uncensored. The reactions from those around reflected shock, while some expressed amusement.

It’s unclear if Zodwa was revealing her HIV status or just taking the ARVs as a preventative measure. But social media users have been speculating none the less.

A fan celebrated her for taking the pills. “Thank you @Zodwa_Wabantu for not carrying the shame of taking ARVs.”

Another fan chose to explain why taking the pill does not mean you are HIV positive: “ARVs are drugs that can be taken by HIV+ people and HIV- people. There isPrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), which is a pill taken daily to prevent HIV. There is PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis). which is a pill taken once a day for 28 days after being exposed to HIV. Then there is ART (antiretroviral therapy) taken daily by HIV+ people.”

But it seems that this is the kind of attention that Zodwa wanted. She was introducing her campaign against the stigmatisation of HIV; encouraging more South Africans to test for HIV and take medication.

There have been many people breaking their silence about HIV after Zodwa posted another photo of her taking ARVs.

Tshegofatso said: “Taking ARVs shouldn’t be something a person should be ashamed of. What matters is they are taking good care of themselves. If anything, they should be proud and happy.”

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