7 December 2012

South Africa: Aids Day Celebrations Bring Hope

Clinic staff, home-based carers and members of the community came together at the Matavhela Clinic on December 1 to celebrate World AIDS Day.

"I feel very honoured to be present here today,” said Caroline Xihundla, a sister at Matavhela Clinic. “Today we are gathered here at our clinic to celebrate World AIDS Day to show people living with HIV/AIDS that we still see them like everyone else and we will keep on supporting them through good and bad times."

Meryline Ndou is a parent of four and is living with HIV/AIDS. "When I first found out I was HIV positive, I didn’t understand it and I never wanted to accept it. But later I accepted my status and started to take ARVs, and now I'm not ashamed anymore to tell other people that I am HIV positive. The fact that there is World AIDS Day makes me understand that being HIV positive is not the end of the world… or the end of your life for that matter," Ndou said.

Mashudu Nekhavhambe, a junior staff nurse at Matavhela clinic said: "World AIDS Day is changing people’s understanding of HIV/AIDS. Many patients are coming to the clinic to get tested while others are coming for ARVs. We are celebrating this day together to show our love, care and support to all who are infected," said Nekhavhambe.

Julia Netshitanzhe, a home-based carer, was also part of the celebration."I am very happy to see all our patients taking part in this day. I hope this will send a message to others that one can live for years with the virus if you follow the nurse’s orders," said Netshitanzhe.

Caroline Xihundla told OurHealth: "We are not only celebrating today - we are using the whole of next week to celebrate it in style.

“We will be focusing on spreading the message to patients to take their ARVs regularly. Collecting them from the clinic is not enough, they must also be taken regularly," Xihundla concluded.

Suprise Nemalale is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from the Vhembe health district at Limpopo.

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