Our confidential support group meets twice a month to celebrate life and live positively !
Practising a healthy lifestyle, exercising, nutrition, education on HIV matters, time for counselling and social interaction with others who are HIV+ make this a special group.
We have a close link with HILLCREST AIDS CENTRE so that PHAKAMISA is able to refer people to their respite centre.
This year our sessions have a new format:-
Registration followed by counselling then Devotions. Exercises next followed by a tea break and then classes.
It is important for people who are HIV+ to have a nutritious diet – difficult for people living in poverty. Therefore within our morning we have a compulsory class in vegetable growing which is taught by Zola.
The elective class choices are: Cooking (nutritious meals), Parenting, Home Based Care or Beadwork.
Lindiwe found out she was HIV+ in 2003 at the time of her husband's death. With a dangerously low CD4 count of 82, and greiving for her husband, Lindiwe contracted pneumonia and was close to death.
This courageous woman, now shares her story with you.
HIV/AIDS hits hardest where people are marginalised and suffering economic hardship.
Please help PHAKAMISA improve the lives of these children.
In South Africa 5.5 million people live with HIV/AIDS – thats 12% of the population.
55% of people who are HIV+ live in the Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng Provinces.
1 in 2 people in the communities PHAKAMISA serves surrounding Pinetown (in KwaZulu-Natal) are infected with the HIV virus.
A CD4 cell count gives a reading on your immune system.
People without HIV have a CD4 count of 800 to 500 (a measure like BP of 120/80 or sugar level of 5.6).
People infected with HIV have a reasonable CD4 cell count if it’s greater than 350.
The HIV diagnosis is made after having an HIV antibody test, which tests specific anti-bodies in the immune system to fight the specific virus.
In South Africa, when your CD4 count is below 200 you start Anti-Retro Viral Treatment. The government has recently legislated that if you are pregnant or have TB, you should start ARVS when the CD4 count is less than 350.
You are classified as having AIDS when your CD4 is less than 200 your body is no longer strong enough to prevent illness and infection.
When 8 members of Tholuthando died within 2 months of each other the group could have abandoned the meetings saying ‘We are going to die anyway’ but instead some members pro-actively divided into groups of twos and threes then began visiting people whom they knew were HIV+ but not attending clinics or support groups to encourage them, to lead a new life style. Consequently we have new members and Tholuthando truly has become a special group.
My name is Lindiwe. I go to Tholuthando support group. I am HIV+. I found out in 2003 while my husband passed away and I was so sick and thin and my CD4 count was 82. I went to Marionnhill hospital and they told me I had pneumonia and I started taking ARVS.
Now my CD4 count is 723, I’m taking my ARVS and I go to Tholuthando support group. Glenda is helping us, sometimes she invites people from Hillcrest Aids Centre to teach us how to live positively and eat well.
I am looking after myself and I have a grandchild. I am so thankful to God and to Tholuthando.
My name is Thembi, I live at Clermont. I found I was HIV+ in 2004 at Kwa Dabeka Clinic. Then I came to Tholuthando and met Glenda and am so happy about this. I went to the Mariannhill hospital for treatment and so I’m much better.
Glenda helps us know about food and everything and they Glenda and Tholuthando give us a lot of love, yes a lot of love. I’m so happy.