Tantiso, who lives in Pelindaba in Bloemfontein’s Mangaung township, is living with HIV but is currently one of many people being denied treatment in the Free State, She explains that her problems started in October last year when she tested HIV positive after being admitted to National Hospital in Bloemfontein.
At the time her CD4 count was 484. But Tantiso says her condition has since deteriorated rapidly. Dissatisfaction with the way in which the government clinic was monitoring her condition drove her to consult a private doctor.
‘I had been coughing more often than usual and suffering from diarrhoea. I was not eating well and I had also lost a lot of weight’, says Tantiso.
The private doctor confirmed that Tantiso needed to be initiated on ARVs immediately and offered to sell her the pills for R300 per month, but she is unable to afford this every month.
She was donor funded non-governmental organisation but this turned out to be a dead end as they have reached their capacity.
A dejected Tantiso returned to National Hospital, but they also turned her away advising her to try and secure the medication privately.
Previously earning R1000 a month working in a restaurant kitchen, 32-year-old Tantiso has now given up her full-time job due to her ill health.
Tantiso again returned to her local clinic last week where they agreed to do a CD4 count, but she was told to return later this week to get the results.
‘I’m afraid that if my condition deteriorates I won’t be able to return to work and I won’t be able to support my child. But most of all I’m scared of dying while waiting for treatment’, she confesses.
‘Death is painful and serious. I have seen other people die of this sickness and it scares me.’-