Nolist - surviving AIDS and TB in South Africa

In Karl Bremer Hospital, my doctor told me I must go home and wait for my death. When I started taking ART in the MSF clinics, my CD4 count was two.

I am Nolist. I am 40 years old. I have five children - the last one is HIV positive. My husband died in 1992.

In 1996 I came to Cape Town and found my boyfriend who I have now. Two years later I got pregnant with his child, the child that is now HIV-positive. When my child was five months old, he got sick. I went to the Red Cross Children's Hospital and they asked to take the HIV test for him. I went to take the results after a month and the results said my child was HIV-positive and I must attend the clinic in my community. I was scared because they told me my child was HIV-positive.

In October 1998, I went to the clinic to take the test in Matthew Gonigwe for myself. I was HIV as well. In 1999 I started to get sick - I was diagnosed with TB (tuberculosis). I treated my TB in 1999 but I didn't stop getting sick.

I discovered I had genital warts. At the same time I had sores in my mouth and a loss of appetite. My weight went down to 29 kilos. I got sick again and they diagnosed me again with TB, but this time with pneumonia together. TB twice and pneumonia once in one year!

I was admitted to Brooklyn Hospital for TB, but they also treated very painful sores in my moth. I couldn't eat. In 2000 I was admitted three times in Karl Bremer. First they gave me blood because I was so weak. After, they cut my warts. And the third time because all of my body was covered in rash.

In Karl Bremer Hospital, my doctor told me I must go home and wait for my death. I went home then and called my mother in the Eastern Cape. I told my mother I had this disease and she came to Makasa to take care of me. She accepted my sickness. And my children also accepted my sickness. Late in 2000 I was feeling better. I was taking bactrim and taking vitamins.

In May 2001, I started taking antiretrovirals (ARVs) at the MSF clinics. My CD4 count was two and I was in a wheelchair. When I started the treatment I got very sick but I became better. In 2002 my child started ARVs. And my child now is fine. When I started ARVs my CD4 count and my weight went up. Then after that I was fine and my child was also fine.

When I was sick, I wished that God could take me and I did not wish to be in this world. And now I'm going to spend many more years here because I am fine.

I say thank you to MSF because I am here today because if they were not here then I would not be here.

I also say thank you to the support groups, neighbours and my family for being supportive.