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2023/02/01      |  Written By:  Mr M Ngxukumeshe   |   Province:  Western Cape

One of the Western Cape HIV/Aids Ambassadors Capt Shiela O’Malley is oozing with confidence that her unbreakable spirit and openness to share her testimony about her HIV status to colleagues and people in general remained a pillar of strength and healing mechanism in her life.

Speaking to Newsflash in her office which is based in Provincial Detectives building, the 59- year old Crime investigation Senior Administration Officer conceded that when the doctor broke the news in regard with her positive status, she was shocked and shaken.

She said, the startling results about her status were double blow to her as she was diagnosed to have also contracted throat TB on the same day. Weeks before, she went to the doctor she was very ill and had lost a lot of weight. When she was attended at hospital she weighed 24kg and her CD4 count was 70.

As if that was not enough, the doctor rubbed salt in her already painful wound, when she told her that she had only three months to live. 

After she was discharged from hospital some members of her family and colleagues at Cape Town Central SAPS made her feel isolated, as she could see that they want nothing to do her with her or be anywhere closer.  She saluted her then 87-year-old mom who gave her support through and through in the darkest moments of her life.

“Prayers and remaining positive kept me going strong, whilst I am also regularly taking my medication with six pills of ARV’s and 28 pills of TB, In June I passed the stage which the doctor never gave any chance for me to be alive then.”

She said she had experienced turbulent times as the stigma about her and her status drive people away to her, but on her side she never shy away of speaking of opening up,  instead she stood firm and resolute , especially after she had found support group of HIV Aids.  

Today she is holding a National Diploma in Public Management.     

“You should bear in mind that when I speak out about my testimony of my status to anyone who care to listen, I am not seeking one’s pity or sympathy at all, no no no.”

Lt Col Du Plessis of Employee Health and Wellness said there were five members of Western Cape  police including Captain O’ Malley who have publicly declared their HIV status. She said all of them were females and she was adamant that all of them were productive and efficient in the workplace like anyone else.

In addition, she said according to statistics Western Cape population both outside and inside SAPS was standing at 8.3% in the country on HIV Aids.

Explaining how she contracted the virus, Capt O’Malley admitted it was a negligent on her part when she treated a colleague who was bleeding with open wound by rubbing his wounds with bare-hands, little did she knew that he had a virus.

She appealed to all those who have contracted the virus to be positive and not to be outdone at the workplace because of their situation whether they have publicly declare their status or not as it is one’s choice to do so.

 However she put emphasis that speaking openly about it was the right thing to do and for one not to suppress what he or she was going through as the support group were there for anyone.  

“Since the day I was discharged from hospital getting the news about my status I never went get sick to go to hospital again.

Even during the severe storms of Covid 19 with the grace of God I never got sick or contract the pandemic.”

After 41 years in the police service, Capt O’ Malley will bow out of the organisation to go on retirement in January next year in 2024.

Recently married to an Irish man, the former long distance runner is happy and content on her life and was now actively involved at Bishop Lavis Fitness Club.