Anti-retroviral treatment

News from Frank and Ruthie:

Jane is on ARV’s and was on TB treatment for some time. She had an itchy rash on her face and body. When Lorancia (nurse) checked her medications, she discovered some had expired! The workers threw them away and advised her to return to the clinic. She had no food so we left her a parcel and some money and a Bible. She was very grateful. Her daughter had just returned from school and we noticed she was wearing a torn school sweater (jersey as they are called here). We took her size and later bought a new one for her and gave it to the careworker, Lindiwe.

Zodwa has been on ARV’s since 2009. She has 3 children, for whom she receives child grants. These grants are very small (R350 equalling approximately $23 at the current exchange). Her husband left her, but has returned, but he is not on ARV’s. He obviously has been infected and this makes it difficult, if not impossible, for his wife to recover.

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One day in Mahushu we visited the poorest section. Most of the homes were shacks. There are some pictures (probably sent separately as some readers cannot open our newsletter when pics are attached). Nomsa was one of these patients. She had a one room, wooden shack that she shared with her three children. Her husband left her when he found she was on ARV’s. He has since returned and he works for Bongani Hospital, so their situation will improve. They have bricks in the yard, so they are preparing to build a new home. However he also is not on ARV’s. The nurses told us that the men seem to show signs of HIV much later than the women. They feel the men have likely infected their wives, but then because they are not yet sick, they blame the wives for being unfaithful.

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