CASE STUDY: New lease on life after HIV diagnosis
12 May 2015
Despite the constant strain of financial hardship, Nofumanekile Mboxo prided herself on her positive, even jovial, outlook on life.
Inherently active, she spent her days tending her home and her family, looking after children and making sure everyone was as well cared for as her meagre resources allowed.
That all changed at the beginning of 2014 when Nofumanekile, 60, started experiencing acute loss of appetite, and noticed with alarm that her already slender frame was rapidly becoming thinner.
“I knew there was something wrong,” she says. “I felt tired all the time, and so sick.”
In addition to her rapid weight loss, Nofumanekile also developed a persistent cough and soon found herself out of breath after even the lightest chores.
When the Donald Woods Foundation’s Health in Every Hut screening team visited her homestead in May of that year, the once energetic woman was lethargic and gaunt, and increasingly frightened about her failing health.
“She was very thin, not eating and also battling diarrhoea,” says DWF Community Health Outreach Worker Luno Zonele. “We did a thorough screening and found that she was HIV-positive. We then referred her to the clinic, where the nurses started her on ARV treatment.”
Since starting the treatment, Nofumanekile has regained her appetite and gained the weight she lost.
“I can work around the house and not wait for other people to do things for me anymore. I am very grateful to the Donald Woods Foundation. They come every week now to make sure I’m OK. I am OK because of them.”
Since being diagnosed and starting treatment, Nofumanekile has become a vocal and passionate advocate for HIV screening, and encourages everyone she encounters to be tested.
“You must know your status,” she says emphatically. “If you are sick, and you don’t know, you can die, or you can infect others.”
As she has grown stronger, Nofumanekile’s positive outlook has returned, and with it, a new lease on life – and on happiness.
“I am laughing again. I am happy to be able to do what I want, and not be sick. I am very grateful Donald Woods came to my house that day.”