Monday, September 12, 2011

MISCONCEPTIONS STILL RAMPANT DESPITE HIGH HIV/AIDS MESSAGES

Reported by Hetherwick Manda, HIV/AIDS and Media Facilitator, Mzuzu



This story is about Christina Kaluwa one of the founding members of Nkhorongo PLHIV (People Living with HIV) Support group, from GVH Mdilira Tembo. It is a story that emphasizes the continued need for the support of PLHIV through education, training and access to ARV (Anti-Retro Viral) treatments. 
Ms. Kaluwa had heard from one of her daughters living in South Africa, that with the Global Financial Meltdown ARVs will be very scarce and Malawi will not be spared from this problem. Upon hearing this she decided to stop taking ARVs on a daily basis, as advised by the hospital, and instead started taking them at two week intervals so that, in her reasoning, her body could build “resistance” before the drugs became scarce. Christina also felt that because she had been taking the ARVs consistently since the year 2000 that her body had enough ARVs to make her well again, and therefore she could soon stop taking them.

During one of her Group’s Therapy meetings she shared her decision with the other members. Her fellow members were worried for her and together with the Chairperson of the group Mr. Stuart Mhango, told her she was risking her life and that she should follow the advice of the hospital and continue taking the ARVs regularly.

The advice had been given too late and on the 23rd of July 2011, Christina Kaluwa tragically passed away.
Although HIV/AIDS messages have been promoted since 1985 when the first HIV Cases were diagnosed in Malawi, misconceptions of this kind are rampant throughout the country. ADRA Malawi is working with PLHIV support groups like Nkhorongo PLHIV support group, to address these misconceptions and to provide education and trainings. Through the new project Action for Social Change ADRA Malawi will scale up their support and will also train these groups in communication for social change approaches, so that they can advocate to the responsible bodies/groups for the provision of their needs - such as accessibility to ARV treatments at local clinics.

ADRA Malawi therefore hopes to prevent and reduce the amount of deaths like that of Ms. Kaluwa through the development of greater knowledge on the issues of HIV/AIDS and the empowerment of groups to support each other through successful advocacy for their rights and needs.

 

1 comment:

Hernandez Cornelia said...


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