August 26, 2013

South Africa: Denial Is a Killer

blogger_HIVMazibula Mali lives in the Ngobozana Administration Area in Lusikisiki. She explains why she believes denial and silence are dangerous.

"In 2003, my husband, Sicelo Mali, started having affairs with other women openly. In those days it was hard for a woman to stand up for herself, especially in the rural areas.

It makes me so mad now, because I felt like I could not do anything about what was happening in my life. He was doing his "running around" and didn't care for his family, and I eventually had to file for family support for my children from the magistrate's offices.

On the days when he did come home, he forced himself on me. I went for Voluntary Counseling and Testing and found I was positive and started antiretroviral treatment when I had to.

Then came the time of the myth that sleeping with a virgin when you are positive heals you. This same man raped our eldest daughter and infected her also. She died sometime later because of denial. She would not listen to me who was trying to help her.

I depended on this man. I felt I had no grounds to report the matter to anyone - my in-laws, the police or my friends - as nobody then would have believed me anyway.

This year in February my husband came home sick, but was still not keen to seek medical help, telling himself and anyone who asked that it was just fever. In the last months he was coughing and getting weaker. At the end of July I decided to take charge and dragged him to the clinic, where he got tested for every illness and tested positive for most of them.

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