Health-e (Cape Town)

South Africa: "I Didn't Think I'd Live This Long"

When Paul Mawasha was diagnosed with HIV 15 years ago at the age of 29, he never thought he would see live to see 40.

From Soshanguve, Mawasha was diagnosed with HIV in 1998 after his health took a turn for the worst. He felt weak and had a persistent cough, but Mawasha never thought his condition was serious.

He was shocked when the doctor asked him if he had ever tested for HIV.

He was referred from Soshanguve's Maria Rantho Clinic to Dr. George Mukhari Hospital where he took an HIV test and was asked to come back in two weeks for the results.

"I hesitated but because I was getting weaker and thinner, and coughing more, I went back for the results," he told OurHealth. "I was HIV-positive and I also had tuberculosis (TB)."

After taking TB treatment, he started to pick up strength and his appetite increased, which made him grateful to have tested.

"That made me realise the benefit of knowing your status, and also how effective treatment could be," he added.

"After six months, I started antiretroviral treatment and I have never looked back," said Mawasha, who is now 44 years old. "The beauty is, I started with three pills and now I only have to take one tablet a day."

"When I was diagnosed HIV-positive I didn't think I would still be alive in 15 years, but treatment has made it possible," he said.

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