Auntie Stella

19. What are antiretrovirals?

Theme: Living with HIV and AIDS
Relationships with family and community

Dear Auntie Stella

I’m 19 years old with one daughter aged three years. My boyfriend was older – he left me when I got pregnant but I know he is very sick now from AIDS. I stay in the rural areas with my grandmother. We grow some maize when there is rain and also I sell kapenta (dried fish). But the money is not enough.

Mostly I am OK but last year I started losing weight and sometimes I feel weak and tired. A few months ago, my aunt took me to the clinic to have an HIV test. It was then that I found out I was HIV positive.

One woman in our church told me there are some drugs called ARVs that can make you better, but she said they are expensive.

Even so, I would like to get these pills. My biggest worry is who will look after my child when I die, because my grandmother is old and sometimes sick. I want to see my daughter go to school and be happy and well.

If there is somewhere I can find this medicine, please tell me, auntie.



Talking points

  • Discuss what you know about anti-retrovirals (ARVs). How much information is available?

  • If there isn’t much information, why is this? What can you do to find out more?

  • If ARVs are not available, what else can Thandiwe do to stay healthy?