Hilya Matthew (not her real name) is 42 years old. She was in a relationship with her boyfriend for many years. At that time HIV infections were very common. She responded to the call to get tested and know your HIV status in 2008. Here is her story;
Together with my partner I decided to go and get tested at the Ongwediva Health Centre. Both of us tested HIV positive and we started treatment soon thereafter. Unfortunately my partner did not survive. He passed on shortly after we started treatment.
I came to learn about the TCE Project in my area and invited Moses, the TCE Field Officer, to visit my house. I opened up about my HIV status to him and Moses gave me a series of counselling sessions that really helped me to be comfortable with my status. At the end of year 2009 I met a new boyfriend and we now have two boys aged 8 and 4 years. Thankfully, both of them were born HIV negative.
Since I have to take the ARV treatment for life I am now a member of the Community Adherence Group (CAG). In the CAG we contribute transport money so that one member goes to collect ARV medication at the Health Centre for all of us. It is good that we take turns to go to the Health Centre, which saves us money and time. I use the time to do other chores at home and concentrate on my business.
Since my diagnosis in 2008, I have achieved a number of things that I am proud of. I have managed to build my house through savings and money I generated from my business. I am living a normal and healthy life. I am no longer sick with a serious condition.
The TCE Field Officers’ visit and support to the CAG means a lot to us. The TCE Field Officers are closer to us than our own neighbours. The frequent calls to check up on us are very comforting.
I would like to thank the TCE Field Officers for their dedication and hard work. TCE should continue to assist and extend their services to other communities as their services are needed everywhere. You can live a longer and healthy life if you adhere to your treatment. I have never fallen sick since I started treatment.