Here are 3 stories of people who are HIV positive, which can give hope to others who are living with HIV.
My name is Ncembakazi Siyo. I live at 9 Suikerbossie Street in Westlake. I am 33 years old with a husband and a child who is 3 years old. My child’s name is Pantsi Lithemba. I came to Westlake in 2001 from the Eastern Cape and in 2003 I found out that I was HIV positive. My friend Nozipho told me about the support group, so I joined it. I was very very sick with swollen glands. My CD4 count was 29. I was 47 kg. I was thin and I had TB and meningitis. Then I started ARV’s in May 2004. My child was born in October 2005. She was given medication for the first three months. She was tested at 3 months old and she is HIV negative. I bottle fed her. In May 2007 the doctor told me I have diabetes. I have to take an injection every morning and every night, as well as the ARV’s. I started beadwork and now I am now Beadwork Supervisor (the Captain, everyone calls me!) and I am making money now. I don’t have to ask my husband for money any more. I have my own bank account. I am now very happy and I don’t want to be sick again. I have put on weight. I am now 83 kg. In December I took money which I got from my beadwork to the Eastern Cape for my mother, and also some for my sister for her children. If ever I get rich one day I want to bless Di and the support group, and have a big party to celebrate. I have hope now that I will progress and go on in life. That is why I called my daughter Lithemba – it means hope.
My name is Nozipho and I am HIV positive. I have 2 children who are 17 years and 15 years old. The eldest is a girl called Yamkela and the youngest is a boy called Kamva. They are in the Eastern Cape and my mother looks after them. I have been HIV positive since 2002. At that time I was in Stage 4 (Aids stage) and I was very sick. I also had TB and double pneumonia. I was in hospital in the Eastern Cape. Then I came to Cape Town to stay with my youngest sister. At that time I did not have hope. I thought I was going to die. I was very thin. Everyone in the village called me Mrs Aids. Then I met a lady in Westlake who introduced me to Di from St Martin’s church. She prayed with me and she looked after me and gave me some food and clothes for me and my children. This gave me hope and we started a support group called Ithemba. Since then I have got better, and I went on a sewing course and I have got a certificate. I make traditional skirts, ties, hats, cushions, etc in the community centre. The Westlake United Church Trust has made me a supervisor of the sewing and I am everyday at the centre. I am now on anti-retrovirals and I am healthy and my CD4 count is up. I want to thank God and the people who supported me when I was sick. I now have hope in Jesus and for my future.
Two years ago our Home Based Care unit received a message to say that a little boy in the village was very ill and could we help. We established he was an orphan sent from the Eastern Cape by his granny, as a last effort to try and save the child, because the rural hospital situation could not cope.
Di and Veronica, our community healthcare worker, went to the house to find an extremely thin twelve year old – he weighed 44lb (20kg) – with a distended stomach, diarrhea, thrush in his mouth, sores on his head and barely able to say his name. A pastor in the village saw the child and prayed over him and there was a glimmer of response in his eyes. We took him by car to the local hospital where he was admitted and placed in the children’s ward. David was seen by a doctor who after tests, confirmed that his status was HIV positive and that he had an extremely low CD4 count.
Members of the Westlake United Church Trust (WUCT) visited David every day for two months during which time he was given antibiotics to clear up the severe chest infection, as well as the thrush and diarrhea. We also organized for David to have some basic reading and maths lessons whilst in hospital.
After two months in hospital the little boy had gained weight had a sparkle in his eyes and was able to start on ARV’s.
He now lives with six other youngsters in a foster home in Khayelitsha where he attends a local school and is making good progress.
David spends one weekend a month at one of WUCT staff member’s home and someone from WUCT takes him to collect his monthly medication from the hospital and for regular check ups. With God’s grace, doctors’ skills and a lot of love, David has survived and can look forward to a bright and healthy future.
Praise the Lord!
* Not his real name