December 1 every year is designated as World AIDS Day, and around the world, people take a moment to remember those who were lost to the disease, and also join together and advocate for progress in the fight against AIDS. The theme this year is “Leadership.”
We’d like to take a moment to honor the life of Thabsile, a young woman who was one of our HIV/TB patients, who passed away recently.
Thabsile had a real desire to live. She fought for life every day. Her TB was so bad (one of the consequences of AIDS is high susceptibility to tuberculosis, and other “opportunistic infections”) that she had to have daily injections of antibiotics. Our staff also fought to keep her alive- our nurses, with great generosity and without any extra pay, worked on Saturdays and Sundays, to go every day to her home and give her treatment.
When we first met her, she was living under a tree. She had no running water, or electricity (needless to say). ShelterBox provided her with a tent, and the Red Cross and World Vision were in the process of helping to build her a cement block structure. Also the medicines were helping her to rebound a bit, and the future looked brighter for her.
Our friend Menzi helped to shoot some video of one of our nurses, Simon, going out to visit her to provide her medicine. Before we were even able to share this video with the world, she has passed away. This is how we feel in regards to the fight against AIDS and TB sometimes- that the disease seems to still be one step ahead of us. That it takes even more effort to get one step ahead of it and save people’s lives. World AIDS Day is an important reminder that there remains a real urgency for treatment, awareness, and prevention, and that we need to join together to lead and inspire other leaders in the fight against AIDS. We need to take bigger steps to get ahead of the disease and to stop losing precious young people prematurely, like Thabsile.
Click on the arrow to view the first video, of her homestead, and the second video, of her telling her story. (Her story is in Siswati- she tells of how she started to get sick in 2005, found out with tests that she had TB & HIV, and has been on ARVs and TB treatment since and is beginning to get better.)
Sr. Barbara Staley & Sr. Diane Dalle Molle