Novlet Dougherty Reid, of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, reads the letter that was presented to her by a 15-year-old boy who is living with HIV. The youngster is participating in the 'Special Delivery' campaign. - Contributed
Over the coming weeks, children living with HIV, supported by Panos Caribbean and The Gleaner Company, will be delivering letters advocating for positive change on the issues they have identified to influential movers and shakers in Jamaica.
A child delivered the following letter:
Mrs. Novlet Dougherty Reid
Jamaica AIDS Support
4 Upper Musgrave Ave
November 14, 2007
Dear Mrs. Reid,
A year ago I would never believe I would be writing you this letter. I am 15 years old and I am HIV-positive. I was not born with this infection and I am still trying to deal with my new status and the circumstances that led to it.
I can still remember the day during summer. I was on holiday from school and went to St. Thomas to visit my brother. The next day, I tried really hard to get a bus back to Kingston, but couldn't get one. I had to take a minibus instead. I remember it stopped in Duhaney Park and I decided to walk from there to my community which was not very far away.
While walking home, I realised I was being trailed by a man on a bicycle. I tried to run, but he blocked my path and pulled out a knife. He forced me to go with him. It was very dark that night. I tried to scream, but he put his hand over my mouth. Then he pulled me into an abandoned house and raped me.
Had no choice
I am now living with HIV. I had no choice in becoming infected, but I am trying my best to deal with it. I have done some counselling, but it is still hard to live with this experience.
My concern is, really, what sort of programmes do you have for a young person like myself who had this experience? Can the Jamaica AIDS Support for Life lobby for greater punishment for people who rape and pass on the infection? What future do I have as a young man who was raped?
Thank you very much for reading my letter.