Stella Mukoko

I first became ill in 2007 when I was living with my husband in Kwekwe.  I thought I was suffering from a heart problem, and the doctors gave me some pills.  But they didn’t work – in fact they made me feel worse.

I decided to call my parents and asked them to take me to a clinic.  Tests and X-Rays that were done that day showed that I was suffering from T.B – so I had been taking the wrong medication.  While we were at the clinic – my mother and sister insisted that I should go for HIV testing  – and I tested positive.

The doctor gave me medication to treat the T.B and I went home, back to my husband.  I didn’t disclose my status to him – and after a while I stopped taking my TB tablets, thinking that I was cured.

A few weeks later, I got sick again and had to go back to the clinic.  My T.B. was back.  The clinic gave me the same tablets.  Telling me to take them all this time.  I was even more afraid to let my husband know my status – so I didn’t go home.  Instead I traveled to Harare to try and find a job.

My husband followed me; insisting that I should go back home to be with him.  But I was so ashamed that I refused.  I told him I “was not worth because I was HIV positive”.  He wouldn’t leave me.  He told me that he accepted and loved me regardless of my HIV status.  I was so shocked – I had not expected him to say this to me.

I am now 30 years old and I recently started taking ARVs, I feel fit and well and I am looking hard for a job to do.  I am a Positive Hero – I can do anything.

Stella is from Gweru Zimbabwe and is a member of the Nothando Positive Heroes Support Group and supports our partner organisation All About Love Trust Zimbabwe