Beira, Mozambique: It was a strength that came from within, that motivated me to fight

01 Dec 21

December 1st, 2021-This is the story of Santos Estrela (not his real name), who is receiving treatment for advanced HIV from Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Beira, Mozambique

Laboratory Technicians during the sample analyses. JMH.Maputo. (February 2020).

“Around 2014 or 2015, my wife was admitted to hospital. She was diagnosed with meningitis. That was when we found out she was HIV-positive."

Diagnosis

"After my wife’s diagnosis, I took the test and found out I was HIV-positive too."

Sample collected for laboratory analyses. JMH.Maputo. (February 2020).

"I was depressed. My wife died shortly after and I struggled to cope with this new reality." 

"I started drinking and smoking. I wasn’t any good at being around people anymore. I didn’t tell my family I had HIV and I didn’t follow the treatment. And it made my condition worse."

New reality

"In 2020 I was admitted to Beira’s Central hospital. After taking the treatment properly, I got better." 

Laboratory Technicians during the sample analyses. JMH.Maputo. (February 2020).

"At that point, my family members found out I had HIV and supported me to continue following the antiretroviral treatment, and so did all the MSF staff in the hospital."

"Every month, like clockwork, they [the MSF staff] would call me to check on my treatment. The counsellors, the nurses and the clinical care I received motivated me to keep going. I felt that I mattered."

Normal activities again

"The support I received from my family members and those closest to me helped to improve my situation. My family made sure I had good, nutritious food to keep me healthy. I felt strong. It was a strength that came from within and it motivated me to fight."

Patient being attended by doctors. JMH. Maputo. (February 2020).

"I feel good now. I can do things I couldn’t do before. I don’t depend on others to do things for me. I’ve got my self-esteem back. The one thing I’d say to others in the same situation is that you must follow the treatment. It’s the treatment that prevents you from contracting other diseases and it will allow you to do your normal activities again.”

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