10 May 2022

As part of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) commitment monitoring, we want to tell the real stories of UHC as experienced by people across the globe. Doris Chauke tells us about working as a Community HIV/ AIDS Support Agent in Zimbabwe.

Picture of Doris Chauke

My name is Doris Chauke. I am from Rutandare village in Malipati, Zimbabwe. I am a Community HIV/AIDS Support Agent (CHASA). The reason why I decided to become a CHASA is because I know that there are information gaps about HIV in our communities hence. I thought if I can share my HIV experience it can help other people in my community.

I was diagnosed with HIV in the year 2010 after my husband passed away. I got very sick and went to the clinic to seek medical attention. There, they tested me for HIV and the result came out positive. At first, I was very devastated and thought my life had ended, because back then there was no HIV treatment at my local clinic. 

However, I was lucky to be immediately referred to the Chiredzi hospital and I am so grateful to the nurses at Rutandare Clinic who provided me with money for transport to travel to Chiredzi. My journey to Chiredzi was not easy, I faced a lot of stigma and discrimination on the way. I was also very sick and had lost so much weight that on the bus to Chiredzi people thought that I was going to die.

When I arrived in Chiredzi, the nurses at Chiredzi Hospital were very helpful and they immediately sent me to lessons on how to take my HIV medications and manage my condition. After I received those lessons, I was immediately enrolled in antiretroviral therapy (ART). I then travelled back to Malipati and started taking my medication religiously as I was taught at the hospital. The first few weeks were not easy. I was tired all the time, and had nightmares making me sometimes dread going to bed. 

"When I arrived in Chiredzi, the nurses at Chiredzi Hospital were very helpful and they immediately sent me to lessons on how to take my HIV medications and manage my condition. After I received those lessons, I was immediately enrolled in antiretroviral therapy (ART). I then travelled back to Malipati and started taking my medication religiously as I was taught at the hospital."

Since 2010, my viral load is suppressed and undetectable. I have since remarried and both me and my husband are on ART and we are both healthy. I am now working hard in my community, encouraging people to get tested and to receive ART medicines if they are positive. My community views me as a true living testimony and I am happy to inspire other people to live positively. As a community cadre I will continue sharing my experiences with other people to help them understand more about HIV and positive living.

Note: This story may have been edited for clarity and shortened for fit on the UHC2030 webpage.

Category: Civil society and communities

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