Story of a survivor
SCIENCE & TECH / 01 Dec '12
Cape Town - When a Hout Bay boy was born HIV-positive in 1999 it was during the worst HIV and Aids period in South Africa, and no treatment was available.
The boy’s mother remembers how her life turned upside-down after she gave birth to a “beautiful healthy baby” only for him to fall ill and be diagnosed with tuberculosis six months later.
A Hout Bay mom and her 13-year-old son have been taking ARVs for 10 years. Picture: Cindy Wax. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS
“It was only when doctors diagnosed him with TB that they tested him for HIV and found out that he was HIV-positive. I also went for tests and also found out that I was HIV-positive,” she said.
While the boy initially got better after TB treatment, the worst was to come. When he was three his TB returned and he went through pneumonia, bronchitis and skin infections.
“We thought that we were going to lose him, but somehow he pulled through,” his mother said.
In 2003, he became one of the first patients in the Western Cape, outside of Khayelitsha, to receive antiretroviral (ARV) medication. Today the Grade 6 pupil is not only doing well with his studies but is an avid cyclist and athlete.
“Being on ARVs was a life-changer. He suddenly got better. His TB was successfully treated and all the other nasty infections disappeared,” his mother said.
The mother and her son had more to celebrate following an announcement by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi that those taking ARVs would only need to take one pill a day. “It’s the best news ever,” she said. - Cape Argus