An HIV Patient's 12 Years of Courage Against TB and Other Infections

1384 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
When Peter Kalimba learnt of his HIV status in 2000, he did not know that many challenges lay ahead. He would be deserted by his wife and given up for dead. 13 years later, his story inspires others.

Tuberculosis patients gathered at the Infectious Diseases Institute Monday to mark a belated World TB day which fell on Sunday 24th of March.
 
Among the hundreds of patients watching dramatized skits on the challenges of TB and HIV infections, was Peter Kalimba, a 43 year old resident of Rubaga.
 
Kalimba has taken a leadership role in encouraging other patients to stay positive using his touching experience with TB and HIV/Aids.

When Kalimba learnt of his HIV status in 2000, he did not know that many challenges lay ahead.
 
In 2001, he also tested positive for the Tuberculosis Bacilli, which would later commit him to many days in hospital and a struggle to adhere to anti-retroviral and anti TB medication. Uganda Radio Network caught up with Kalimba.
 
As if that was not enough, his young wife and mother of their only child deserted him after her relatives convinced her that Kalimba was destined for death.
 
He says that having HIV and TB is very challenging.
 
//Cue in: A combination…’’
Cue Out…they managed’’.//
 
His story is one of courage, resolve and hope. Kalimba says, at first he did not know he had TB because of his HIV status he thought, it could be just another opportunistic infection.
 
After suffering from a host of HIV related opportunistic infections and developing full blown Aids, Kalimba had to be admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
 
//Cue in: After the therapy…’’
Cue Out…adhere well’’.//
 
In 2004, there was a ray of hope when Kalimba was registered in a clinical trial for TB and HIV co-infection, which meant that he got his regular supplement of anti-retroviral drugs and anti TB regimen.
 
Kalimba notes sadly that majority of HIV patients die because of the TB bacteria.
 
//Cue in: The biggest challenge…’’
Cue Out…powerful drugs’’.//
 
Kalimba says that he got a lot of support from his sisters after his wife deserted him. He is currently happy in his second marriage.

He also encouraged patients to adhere to the drugs and keep their clinic appointments, to avoid acquiring a multi-drug resistance TB (MDR-TB).
 
According to Dr.Isaac Lwanga Principal Medical Officer at the Infectious Diseases Institute says MDR –TB is a killer disease, whose treatment is complicated and quite expensive, but could be controlled with proper adherence.
 
Cue in: The more side …’’
Cue Out:…as a priority’’.//
 
In his final remarks Kalimba urged care givers to have the courage when caring for TB and HIV/Aids patients, given that with free ARV’s patients can manage the disease and live a full life.