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I Am HIV+ And I Am Receiving Palliative Care – Because I Matter

My name is David and I live in Chitungwiza with my wife, six children and my elderly father. When my wife got sick, we both agreed to go for HIV testing. We both tested HIV positive. Later, I started suffering from a mild headache. Then, unexpectedly my daughter died. We did not know what she died from. Soon my headaches were extremely painful. I thought that the pain was because of the emotional stress from the loss of my beloved daughter.

By Petronella Marume, (Palliative Care Nurse & Acting Harare Branch Coordinator)

In no time my whole face was affected by herpes to the extent that I could not see. Anyone who saw me, thought my right eye would pop out any time. No one ever thought I would see again. I was hopeless about life. People felt pity for me. At the peak of my illness I stopped doing carpentry. Carpentry is my profession and my traditional source of income. This affected my ability support my family, including sending children to school.  I felt sad and hopeless.

I then met Island Hospice & Healthcare through one of their community care workers in Chitungwiza. I was regularly visited from this point by community caregivers who then linked me to the Island nurses for treatment. The nurses invited me to Island offices one Tuesday where I was treated by a specialist doctors. In a short space of time, I had fully recovered. I was also counselled. My wife received counselling as she found it hard to cope. In fact the whole family was supported.


People in this community were surprised to see how well I had recovered. No one can tell I used to be in such bad shape. I am prepared to disclose my status to anyone at any time. This has helped me fight stigma and discrimination. Now that I am fit, I look forward to pursuing carpentry soon again and care for my family.

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Falls on 13 October 2018 under the theme Palliative Care – Because I Matter.

About Island Hospice & Healthcare

Island Hospice & Healthcare was established in 1979 as the first palliative care institution in Africa. The organization supports people living with life threatening conditions (such as HIV, cancer, stroke, multi-drug resistant TB among other conditions) and their families. Island has branches in Bulawayo, Harare, Marondera and Mutare.  In 2017 Island was chosen by the World Health Organization to be evaluated as a demonstration site for Africa. For more information about the services on offer or to contact a branch near you please visit: www.islandhospice.care

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263Chat is a Zimbabwean media organisation focused on encouraging & participating in progressive national dialogue

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