IFRC


“I would have never managed to overcome the difficult situation if I did not have the support from Red Cross.” – Story of Sis D

Published: 30 November 2016 18:59 CET

By The South African Red Cross Society

 

In 2012, I was diagnosed with Tuberculosis. I was in denial. Although I had previously heard about, I never thought I would get infected with it. I blamed my husband because he was on TB medication at the time, but was not taking his treatment seriously. He was also abusing alcohol and was promiscuous. I have lost count of how many times I tried to tell him to take his treatment, but it all fell on deaf ears and I ended up getting infected. I feared mostly for my two daughters. 

 

Later in the year, I found out I was pregnant with twins. Unfortunately, after six months, I was told that it was too late to go on the prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) programme.

 

I was also tested and found to be HIV positive. I felt as if my life was coming to an end.

 

I was then introduced to a lady I call my “Red Cross volunteer”. Portia was there to educate me on HIV, though even with this knowledge, my twins were born HIV positive. I hated myself and my husband even more as he was the one that brought this disease into my life. 

 

Portia would come every day and assist me with my twins whilst also educating me about breastfeeding. More often than not, if I am being honest, I did not feel the need to go on.

 

My health started to deteriorate, and I became weak and was then admitted at Khotsong TB hospital, where I stayed for six months. Seeing other people infected with TB and others dying made me scared but I resolved that, if for no one else, I had to live for my kids. Portia would regularly visit me and encourage me to fight on.

 

When I was discharged, and was taken back home, it was difficult as I had to face my husband: a constant reminder of the hurt and pain I felt.

 

We had no steady income given that my husband worked part time as a bus driver. This was an almost impossible journey. I needed to feed my kids and eat nutritious food to complement my treatment. 

 

The South African Red Cross Society was helpful as they would provide me with food (food parcels) and hygiene parcels every three months. They also provided my kids with school uniform and shoes.

 

During her visits, Portia would also educate my husband and encourage him to keep taking his medication and live a monogamous life. This, thankfully struck a nerve, as today he is a better husband and father.  He has been cured of TB and he is currently adhering to his HIV treatment.

 

I know I would have never managed if I did not have the support from Portia and the Red Cross. I, too, have been cured of TB and I am living positively. My twins are doing well and I am grateful for all that life has to offer.




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