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Thanks to Thandizani, My CD4 count was 156 at first ...

Now its 411 - Mary Chipeta

Iím Mary Chipeta, the treasurer of Phikamalaza Nutrition Support Group at Jim village, Chief Phikamalaza, Lundazi Eastern Province of Zambia. Our vision is to have healthy community members and to become self-reliant through family and group income generation activities (IGSa) for sustainability.

Phikamalaza Nutrition Support Group started in 2006 with 15 members after receiving support from the Global Fund through Thandizani. Mary Chipeta, who is 52 years old with five children, displayed a smile of hope across her face, appreciating Thandizani.

Before joining Thandizaniís Support Group, my CD count was 156 and I was always sick. I was diagnosed HIV/AIDS Positive in early 2000 and started taking ARVs in 2005 when my weight was 47 kg; now itís 57 kg. Stigma and discrimination which was the order of the day is now reduced. Before I started receiving help from Thandizani there was a problem of adherence in terms of ARVs and lack of support.

There was no food while taking ARVs. At first I though the ARVs would kill me because I experienced side effects like long illness, dizziness and nausea; I believed I was dying. Now Iím working hard, more than I was before. The Care group where I belong provides full support such as Mealie meal when there are no food supplements.

I now understand that AIDS is not my problem alone because Thandizani is representing me and it means a lot to my family and the rural communities.

To be in a group it helps as Iím not isolated, because a problem is shared is a problem halved. Iím all smiles of joy that I will lead a long life now and see my children grow with the blessings of Thandizani.

Everything is ok now because when I take the ARVs there is food and lessons given in a complete package; they also help other family members not on ART to provide care and support to friends.


Thandizani Community HIV/AIDS Program, Lundazi - Zambia


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