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The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (PEPUDA), passed in 2000, gives effect to the equality clause of the constitution by outlawing forced disclosure of HIV status and discrimination based on one’s status, said Katy Hindle, an attorney and the policy development and advocacy research associate at Sonke Gender Justice. After three years without speaking to her cousin, Yvette said, she eventually forgave her, realizing that she hadn’t meant harm.

Yvette said she didn’t want to pursue legal recourse against her cousin because it was close family. Rather, Yvette said, her cousin just had not known what to do with the information she had been given.

“I thought it would take three months for me to be dead.” In what she now counts as one of the luckiest moments of her life, the taxi coming down the hill slammed on its brakes, stopping right in front of her.

Though new infections have been steadily declining in the country since 2000, there are still more than 6 million people living with the virus. Her startling HIV diagnosis haunting her every thought, Yvette stepped into the street at the bottom of a hill, right into oncoming traffic.As Yvette, 39, recalls that day 15 years ago when she found out she was HIV positive, she looks healthy and bright like the yellow patterned dress she is wearing.She had come to Cape Town from her home of Johannesburg to take part in the first-ever HIV Research for Prevention Conference, convening researchers, academics and activists to discuss breakthroughs and challenges in the field of HIV prevention.An HIV diagnosis is no longer a death sentence, thanks to advances in medicine and treatment in the last 30 years.

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