Toronto Star: A T-shirt tells one man’s story


Believe Dhliwayo helps immigrants deal with HIV

MOIRA WELSH
STAFF REPORTER

Among AIDS activists, there is a term that describes the physical signs of HIV medication, the gaunt cheeks, the upper body fat, the slow nausea-induced gait.

They call it the Scarlet Letter.

For those who bear it, the stigma is inescapable. Many retreat into depression and isolation, worn down by the fear in the eyes that settle upon them.

One man, Believe Dhliwayo, has taken a different approach, similar to the Puritan heroine in The Scarlet Letter, who took ownership of the red `A’ — a letter that marked her as an adulteress and was pinned to her chest — by embroidering it with shiny gold thread. Dhliwayo wears a T-shirt emblazoned with huge letters, “HIV POSITIVE.”

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