Mental challenges, not physical is main fight for AIDS patients

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EYEAFRICA TV: Johannesburg, Gauteng Province, South Africa: As the globe marks World Aids Day on Dec. 1, the call this year is about how to help the patients mentally deal with having the virus instead of physically.

Thanks to technological advances in AIDS medicine, patients can now live almost as long as a normal person.

However, the main problem nowadays is not to help them cure their body but their mind. To AIDS patients, support from people around them could be something more precious than medical treatment.

This is why this year’s World AIDS Day theme is “community makes the difference”.

In South Africa, almost eight million people were confirmed AIDS carriers in 2018, a fifth of the world’s total, and 5.3 million of them were HIV-positive, according to the South African government. How to help them to face the disease and receive proper treatment has become a vital issue.

Bongani from Johannesburg found out that he was HIV-positive eight months ago. At first, his whole world seemed to have crashed, but the support he received from the Reproductive Health and HIV Institute has given him the courage to face the disease squarely and treat it positively.

“Since I came here to the clinic, they advised me to take the treatment, it’s not the end of the world. So since I come here, I don’t need further to do anything,” said Bongani.

Mpamba, another patient, caught the disease from his mother. Born as an AIDS carrier, the 34-year-old man said he now understands that the best medicine for the disease is simply faith. He has a wife, who is free of AIDS. He keeps reminding himself that he should live like a common person.

“You should not be controlled by the virus. You are supposed to control the virus. People don’t understand the power that they have within them. To say if one can live a normal life regardless of what they face, what is my excuse regardless of where I’m found or what my society says. It’s a self-belief that is bringing people down,” said Mpamba.

The AIDS prevention situation in South Africa is still severe. The number of new contractors in 2018 was 240,000. Thirty nine percent of the new patients were between 15 and 24, according to South African government.

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