“In any holocaust, war, plague or pandemic, there werealways one or two people who lived to tell the story and why couldn't one ofthose people be me? Somebody had to stay alive to tell the story for all thosewho had died with their song still in them, unsung.” - David Patient, in an interview with JeanneViall.
David Patient, South Africa’s longest-living HIV-positive person, is a man of rare courage and strength. He was first diagnosed with the disease on his 22nd birthday in 1983 while living in the United States. Shortly after receiving this news, Patient bought a coffin, wrote a eulogy and waited for death. For 11 years after his diagnosis Patient was examined and studied by top HIV/AIDS researchers, including all three of the co-discoverers of the virus, to find out why the virus was not developing into AIDS. Patient has been on anti-retroviral treatment previously, but decided it didn’t agree with him and stopped. He now relies on a good diet and exercise to keep healthy. Patient is no longer an active HIV/AIDS activist, but has been involved with various projects, such as the National AIDS Council of Mozambique, and has featured on a programme called Vida Positiva/Positive Living to help the fight against HIV/AIDS and to educate people on how to live with HIV/AIDS. Patient has accepted his status with positivity, but highlights
that there are many avenues that need to be addressed in the fight against it. “For me, HIV is a symptom, not a cause. HIV is not the enemy. It only enters when a door has been opened for it: Ignorance, fear, poverty, inequity, social injustice, isolation and greed are the guilty culprits, not the virus. Man's inhumanity to man is the demon we need to slay, not each other.”