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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

Former Miss World Rolene Strauss opens up about her HIV scare

Rolene Strauss has shared her personal experience of having been exposed to HIV while she was breastfeeding her first child.

In 2014, Rolene Strauss became the first Miss South Africa to be crowned Miss World since 1974 when the title was won by Anneline Kriel.

This past weekend, the former beauty queen and model took to social media to share her personal HIV story.

Rolene, who is due to give birth to her baby daughter any day now, posted on Instagram how she was exposed to HIV in 2017 while treating a patient as a medical student.

Miss World Rolene Strauss pregnant HIV
Former Miss World Rolene Strauss will be welcoming her third child into the world in May. Pictures: Instagram/ Rolene Strauss

Rolene Strauss’s HIV scare

“After the birth of our first son back in 2017, I was completing my medical studies and was exposed to HIV while treating a patient at a hospital during my call one evening,” she revealed on Instagram.

‘I can still remember all the questions’

Rolene explained that following the HIV scare, she took medication to prevent HIV, but still had many questions about the exposure.  

“I was breastfeeding at the time and had to go on post-exposure prophylaxis. I can still remember all the questions (even as a medical student) running through my head at the time…”

What is PEP and how can it prevent HIV infection?

According to WebMD, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) means taking HIV medicines within 72 hours (three days) after possible to prevent HIV after possible exposure to the immunodeficiency virus.

PEP is a combination of three drugs which need to be taken once or twice a day for 28 days.

The medicines can reduce the risk of HIV infection by 80% but have little to no effect if you start it three days or more after exposure.

ALSO READ: Eastern Cape gets SA’s first contraception and HIV kit vending machine

#ForeverWena: Rolene Strauss, Cassper Nyovest and Unathi

The 32-year-old beauty is one of several local celebrities who have joined the #ForeverWena campaign which aims to reshape the conversation around HIV.

Rapper Cassper Nyovest, singer Unathi, and well-known OB-Gynae-Sexologist Dr Mpume Zenda have also put the initiative in the spotlight to create new-generation awareness of HIV among the South African youth.  

The #ForeverWena is in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

ALSO READ: Crowning glory and agony: Miss SA Natasha Joubert stands by Miss USA amid resignation

Rolene Strauss on HIV protection and motherhood

Rolene wrote in her post that being part of the campaign feels like it is her duty as a mother.

“As a mother, I understand the crucial link between maternal and child health! Protecting yourself is paramount in motherhood. If you have any HIV-related questions, reach out to the ForeverWena WhatsApp chatbot here! +27 84 952 6152.”

On Mother’s Day, Rolene shared photos of her journey as a mother with her two boys on Instagram. Take a look…