A woman from Kitwe, in Zambia, who was wrongly diagnosed with HIV, is now angry and worried about all the anti-retrovirals (ARV) she took for long months, apart form the emotional turmoil her personal life went through.
24-year-old Chipulu Mulenga, of Luangwa Township, went for a Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) out of responsibility for the child she was carrying.
Mulenga went into complete shock when she was tested and turned out to be HIV-positive.
“I got scared and I had lost my temper. I was also confused, especially after being told that my husbands results were non-reactive,” Mulenga recalled.
She immediately started an anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment, which gave her a lot of undesirable side-effects, such as sleeping for long hours, and experiencing blackouts.
At first, her husband assured her and her parents that he would take care of her, but over the months he started changing. He even started shying away from having intercourse.
After all this anguish, she finally gave birth. But she was in for another huge surprise. A second routine HIV test came out negative. She performed more tests just to make sure… and in effect, she was not infected with the AIDS virus.
With all the evidence at hand, Mulenga went to the original clinic which had tested her positive. Once again, they performed another test… negative!
The medical officers simply advised her to stop taking the HIV drugs, but Mulenga wants justice. She says the anguish and emotional distress she has went through has been too terrible. “My marriage is on the verge of collapse. My husband no longer supports us. He calls me ‘sick’ and he no longer provides for the family,” she regretfully informed local media. Furthermore, she is worried about the effects the drug might have taken on her body.
The Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) will help Mulenga on her case against the clinic. Also, other institutions -such as the Zambia National Women’s Lobby and even the Ministry of Health- are investigating this woman’s case.