NKOMBO KACHEMBA, Kitwe
A TWENTY-FOUR-YEAR-OLD woman of Kitweâ€™s Luangwa township has appealed to well-wishers to help her seek justice in a matter in which she was allegedly told she was HIV-positive and put on anti-retroviral (ART) drugs at Luangwa Clinic when she was not infected.
Chipulu Mulenga said on May 9, 2016 while pregnant, she went to the clinic with her husband to be tested for HIV as per requirement when one is an expectant mother.
Ms Mulenga said while at the clinic, they visited the voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) wing, where they were counselled and tested by one of the medical workers.
She said when the results were ready, the officer told her that she was HIV-positive and that the blood specimen of her husband had been non-reactive.
â€œI was shocked to learn that I was HIV-positive while my husband was negative. The officer who was testing us counselled my husband and told him how he should take care of me and the food that I should eat to remain healthy,â€ she said.
Ms Mulenga said after the counselling session, a file was opened for her at Luangwa Clinic and she was immediately put on ART.
She said when her pregnancy was due, she went to ZAMTAN Clinic to deliver and while there, another HIV test was conducted, but the results came out negative.
Ms Mulenga said after delivery, she did another test with New Start Centre, which visited Luangwa township and the results again were non-reactive.
She said in January this year, she went to Luangwa Clinic to have herself registered for family planning, but first they had to test her for HIV and the result came out negative again.
â€œWhen you go for family planning, they test for HIV before prescribing family planning pills. I was tested again just there at Luangwa Clinic and my results came out negative,â€ she said.
She said the results of all subsequent tests have been negative.
Ms Mulenga wants the Ministry of Health to compensate her for the emotional distress she and her husband have been through.
She said her marriage is on the verge of collapse because of the wrong results and that her husband has been refusing to support her and her child, saying she is sick.
â€œI have been taking these drugs for eight months now. I donâ€™t know the state of my body now. My husband calls me and my child sick and no longer supports me,â€ Ms Mulenga said.
She said her child was also put on a drug after he was born.
But Kitwe district medical officer Chikafuna Banda said medical personnel usually follow procedure before putting patients on ART.
Dr Banda, however, said he will investigate the matter.
And Michael Mulenga, 36, Ms Mulengaâ€™s husband, said he was surprised to learn that his wife was HIV-positive when they went for VCT.
Mr Mulenga said he still supports his wife and has never left the matrimonial home because of her condition.
He said his wife has been accusing him of having connived with medical personnel at Luangwa Clinic to swap the results, but said the allegations were not true.
Mr Mulenga has since vowed to take another HIV test to prove to his wife that he is not HIV -positive.
NKOMBO KACHEMBA, Kitwe