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 had 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 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 such 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 on 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.
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: Each story has been edited for clarity and in cases, shortened for fit on the UHC2030 webpage.