Coping with HIV: Ezihasi's story

Coping with HIV: Ezihasi's story

Ezihasi Kumwenda was diagnosed as HIV positive in 2007.

Although she quickly began to receive treatment, Ezihasi, who is 32, still suffered from long bouts of illness. This made looking after her two young children very difficult.

Finding help

Through her health clinic, Ezihasi was introduced to members of Liwaladzi HIV AIDS Support Organization, also known as Lihaso. They were able to provide her with help around the home and also provide emotional support to her and her family.

Lihaso, through Concern, are now also providing Ezihasi with weekly sachets of a highly nutritious food called plumpy nut. This has also been making a difference to her life. It helps keep her healthy and strong, enabling her to work and travel. Often when Ezihasi felt too weak to work, she could not afford to make it to her hospital once a month for her treatment. She explains “I knew I could get treatment but it hasn’t been easy. The hospital is 45km away and it costs me 1600 Kwacha (11 US dollars) to get there and back by mini bus once a month. Sometimes I just don’t have that money.”

Stronger and healthier

With the additional nutritional support of plumpy nut, Ezihasi is now feeling stronger and healthier. “If my health keeps improving I think I can take care of the children on my own. But I also need to earn more money to do this. I would really like to start a small business, selling fruits and maybe fish. If I can borrow some money to start this, I think it will work. I want to provide a foundation for my children and a good education, god willing this will happen for me,” smiles Ezihasi.

With the support Ezihasi has received from Concern, Lihaso and her family, she has found it easier to tell her neighbours and friends that she is HIV positive. She is now part of a Lihaso support group and is proactively educating those around her. “I have learned to accept my situation and don’t feel afraid to talk about it with anyone who wants me to”, Ezihasi says.

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