HIVhomegirl has just tested HIV+. She didn't know she had HIV from birth until she became sick at 19 and a doctor suggested she get tested. This is her story.
I was waiting to die. Even though the doctor had told me I would get better I didn’t believe him. The truth was I had AIDS and a CD4 count of 10.
All my friends had left for university and I was stuck in a hospital bed. I didn’t tell them. My guy had stopped calling after I had ignored him. I slept a lot so that when it came, when death finally decided to reach out, I wouldn't feel the pain.
But I didn’t die. My ARV medication was working.
Within weeks my CD4 count started rising. I was really lucky that I didn’t have TB - which is common once your immune system is so weak - so all my extra medication didn’t interfere with my ARVs.
The doctor had warned me there were side effects from the ARVs, but they would ease off after a few weeks.
He wasn't kidding. There were days when I couldn’t eat because I was so sick with nausea and fever that I wanted to stop. Whenever I got to this point I would remind myself of what the doctor had said: that my survival all of these 19 years with no treatment was a miracle. That I should be grateful and not waste it. Miracles don't happen twice to one person.
So I had to put my faith in that fact. That I was alive for a reason. And I swallowed the bitter pills because my life literally depended on it.
As the days dragged on into weeks, my condition got better. Fate had dealt me a rough card by giving me HIV from birth, but that card wasn’t death. Fate had chosen life for me instead and I was going to move back home.
ARVs are free at all government health facilities. The aim of ARV treatment is to reduce levels of HIV (often called your viral load) in your blood, so your CD4 count increases and your body’s ability to fight infections improves and your health returns.
Look out for more of her story as it unravels.
To find out how HIVhomegirl got to this point click on the link below to start her story from the beginning ...