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Man born with HIV wants law revised
Patience Nyangove, The Standard (Zimbabwe)

May 29, 2011

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/local/29948-man-born-with-hiv-wants-law-revised.html

There is need to revisit the law that stipulates that children under 16 cannot get tested for HIV without the consent of either their parents or guardians, a local HIV and Aids activist said last week. Speaking at a two-day training workshop for journalists on TB reporting in Kadoma, 23-year-old Brighton Marweyi, who was born with HIV, said he endured several years of sickness after his parents died before he could be tested.

He said the law infringes on the rights of children, especially those orphans that have no one else to take care of them.

"Testing for children is determined by the child's age but I believe those children can be counselled and be told their HIV status," he said.

"I would always be sick but I never knew why. When I was first told about my status I was confused as to how I had gotten infected.

"Long back I believed that children born HIV-positive could not survive this long at all, but God does mysterious things."

Marweyi, who was put on anti-retroviral treatment after being tested in 2004, said although his parents and relatives knew he was HIV-positive, they never told him.

He was only tested after having turned 16.

"I was always sick, suffering from so many diseases. I had asthma and other diseases.

"It was difficult going to school because I was always sick.

"When I was in Form Two in Bulawayo I got severely ill and by that time both my parents had died.

"The only drug I was being given was Cotrimoxazole but I did not know why. My elder brother knew that I was HIV-positive but he did not want to tell me".

But Eunice Kapandura, HIV and Aids Zimbabwe director said the law was designed to protect the children's interests.

She said some of the children would be too young to deal with the fact that they were HIV-positive.

Marweyi said he did not blame his parents for not telling him about his HIV status.

He said he had no plans to date or marry as he did not want to "hurt another human being."

The workshop was organised by the Southern Africa HIV and Aids Information Dissemination Service.

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