Officially opened in 2006, the BCMCFS provides a safe haven for children and young adults living with HIV.
A total of 1,500 children are currently part of BCMCFS where they are counselled and tested, initiated on treatment and introduced to a support group.
Two more sites are yet to be set up in other regions in the country.“The earlier children are made to understand their status, the better they deal with HIV/AIDS,” says Dr Hailu Sarero, director of BCMCFS.
But dealing with these children is a big challenge for the BCMCFS because most of them are single or double orphans.
However, the thought of having to disclose her status to him prevents her from declaring her true feelings.“I’m worried that he might embarrass me by going around telling people about my status,” says Dlamini.“I think it’s fair to disclose your status to your boyfriend but I’m not sure how he will take it,” she says.
“Each time he proposes love I tell him that I can’t handle school and a boyfriend at the same time.” But she admits that is not the real reason because most girls her age have already had their first kiss.
According to Dr Douglas Blank, the coordinator of Teen Club, HIV-positive children deal with intense issues at a very young age which is a major emotional strain for them.“Teen Club offers a stigma-free environment to help them cope,” says Blank.Food security and dealing with abusive relatives are a bigger challenge, Sarero says.“These are not easy issues and we partner with other organisations,” says Sarero.“As an organisation, we can only do so much.”But for Dlamini, the organisation makes a big difference to her life.The club deals with a range of topics including how to take ARVs correctly; the pathology of the virus and how it is transmitted; dealing with disclosure to friends and peers; nutrition and HIV; and how to stay focused on one’s dreams.“I have a friend at the Teen Club whom I’m comfortable to confide (in) especially about issues pertaining to HIV/AIDS,” she says.She says that being part of the club has also helped her gain a measure of confidence and she is no longer shy around people.While most of the girls in her class are excited about receiving presents from their boyfriends on February 14, Dlamini – who is HIV-positive – does not think she will get any.She is reluctant to become involved in a relationship because of the complications her HIV-status will bring to it.“I had a bad rash all over my body and this affected my performance at school because I was absent most of the time.”Her father, a mineworker, died in 2001.But Dlamini’s mother believed her husband’s death and daughter’s subsequent illness were the result of witchcraft.It's free to register, view photos, and send messages to single men and women in Swaziland!One of the largest online dating apps for Swaziland singles on Facebook with over 25 million connected singles, First Met makes it fun and easy for mature adults in Swaziland to meet people.