By Tendai Mukaro
Bridget Tamai and Roderick Maruta ,both living with HIV opened up on their status and shared their experiences with the COVID-19 vaccine on the COVID-19 and HIV Webinar series with Tariro Makanga Tuesday.
This comes as people are living in perpetual fear of the vaccine following misinformation about the vaccine which circulating on various social media platforms.
Speaking during the programme, both Tamayi and Maruta said they had received two doses of COVID-19 vaccines and they had not noticed any side effects.
“I got vaccinated at Highfield Poly Clinic and the one who does not want to be vaccinated is actually harming him or herself,” said Maruta.
Tamayi said, “We were the first, since health is a priority we realised prevention is better than cure.”
“When I told my children they started crying, they took a closer look at everything I was doing from that day but after one month I went back for my second vaccine and up to now I am fine.”
Tamai who got to know her HIV status in 2004 when donors were giving food to people with evidence they had tested HIV positive also shared how she was living in darkness before knowing and accepting her status.
“Things were tough by that time and I did not know my status married woman I assumed that I was negative,” she said.
“My colleague came to me and and told me that donors were giving food but they were only giving it to people who have been tested.
“I went to ZAPSO and asked them to just write a slip for me.
“I told them my whole story, that donors are giving food and they required a slip.
“So I told them that I am negative so all I wanted was a slip,” Tamai said she was encouraged to get tested first before getting the slip.
“They refused to give me the slip and said I should get tested,” she said.
“So they tested me and they said you are positive however I did not take them seriously as I just took the slip and went to collect food.”
Tamai said after sometime she told her husband about the results and he convinced her they were fake.
“At home I started fighting with my husband and asked him about the status and he told me that the results were fake and as someone I loved I believed him.”
“I started reflecting on my status so I returned to ZAPSO and told them that I was back for tests and they tested me again and I was positive.
“I did not accept my status then so I divorced my husband and moved on. ”
On the other hand, Maruta found out his HIV status in 2008 after falling seriously ill for eight months and then he opened up to his sister who encouraged him to start treatment.
Maruta said at first he was in fear but the support from family members gave him courage.
“On day seven of taking my treatment I started feeling extremely hot then chicken pox and measles manifested at the same time, it was not easy, I went to Doctor Museve who told me to take my tablets religiously,” he said.
“From that time till yesterday evening I take my medications daily,” he added.