HIV - Antiretrovirals (ARVs) HIV Treatment OurHealth

“I didn’t think I’d live this long”

Written by Tshilidzi Tuwani

When Paul Mawasha was diagnosed with HIV 15 years ago at the age of 29, he never thought he would see live to see 40.

A speaker addresses the crowd at an HIV awareness event.
South Africa now has 2.4 million people on HIV treatment

From Soshanguve, Mawasha was diagnosed with HIV in 1998 after his health took a turn for the worst. He felt weak and had a persistent cough, but Mawasha never thought his condition was serious.

He was shocked when the doctor asked him if he had ever tested for HIV.

He was referred from Soshanguve’s Maria Rantho Clinic to Dr. George Mukhari Hospital where he took an HIV test and was asked to come back in two weeks for the results.

“I hesitated but because I was getting weaker and thinner, and coughing more, I went back for the results,” he told OurHealth. “I was HIV-positive and I also had tuberculosis (TB).”

After taking TB treatment, he started to pick up strength and his appetite increased, which made him grateful to have tested.

“That made me realise the benefit of knowing your status, and also how effective treatment could be,” he added.

“After six months, I started antiretroviral treatment and I have never looked back,” said Mawasha, who is now 44 years old. “The beauty is, I started with three pills and now I only have to take one tablet a day.”

“When I was diagnosed HIV-positive I didn’t think I would still be alive in 15 years, but treatment has made it possible,” he said.

 Read more Health-e coverage of South Africa’s fixed-dose ARV roll out


About the author

Tshilidzi Tuwani

Tshilidzi Tuwani is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from Gauteng's Tshwane Health District.