Ntsetselelo Manzini's story.
"Three years ago when I was down with HIV, I had lost all hope. My body was weakening and it seemed that it was not going to be easy for me to go on with life. A friend told me about the Family Life Association of Eswatini (FLAS) and their services. Now at 27 years old, the future looks very bright, and I see myself achieving my goals, thanks to the care, treatment, and support I have been receiving from the FLAS clinic.
It all started a few years ago when a Medical Officer at the Association’s clinic noticed that my CD4 cells (immune cells that fight off infections) were low. He said I should start the antiretroviral therapy immediately to prevent me from slipping into the AIDS stage. The reception I received from the staff was very warm. I felt wanted, special and cared for. The counsellors and nurses were very friendly and very welcoming. They listened to my story, gave me rich and useful advice and encouragement, which made me feel better. One of the things I’ve noticed was that the care providers were very nice to everyone. Here I felt respected and valued. This led me to bring one of my children to FLAS for an HIV test. She was found to be HIV negative. The hope I had lost in living got a renewed strength.
There is one thing that I like about FLAS clinics: you can discuss anything with the service providers with openness and trust. Unlike other clinics, confidentiality is always maintained. I just feel comfortable whenever I walk into a FLAS clinic. This is the best thing that happened to me in the past three years. Thanks to the high quality and comprehensive services I received there, I have referred a lot of people to the association’s antiretroviral therapy clinic. These people include my brothers and friends who are either infected or affected by HIV.
The information I get from FLAS also enables me to help others. For example, I have an uncle who is taking his antiretroviral drugs and relies on me for up-to-date information on antiretroviral treatment, which helps him a lot in terms of proper management of the disease.
My wife, who is also HIV positive, is soon going to start receiving her treatment from FLAS after she witnessed how the clinics treat its patients. I believe that the care received at the FLAS clinic was the intervention that helped me stay alive . I am who I am now thanks to the clinic. The renewed hope in me and the energy to be productive again is attributed to the services I receive from FLAS. This is the reason why I always pray that their services continue to be available to poor people like me to keep enjoying life." -Ntsetselelo Manzini.