From HIV Positive to HIV Animator, Raymond Empowers Members in His Community to Lead Healthier Lives
Raymond Tobias, from Malawi, is married with four children and comes from Machisawo Village in TA Kachindamoto in Dedza District. He was widowed in 2000 before remarrying in 2003.
Raymond Tobias and his current wife did not go for HIV testing and counseling (HTC) before they got married. They lived a happy, married life until, when the wife got pregnant in 2004, she began to get sick more frequently. Yet, she still did not go in for HTC. Her condition got worse during her second pregnancy in 2008, when Raymond also got sick and developed shingles. The couple finally decided to go in for HIV testing at Mtakataka Health Center where they were both found HIV positive. They had to walk more than six miles in order to get anti-retroviral treatment (ART) at Mtakataka Health Center, the nearest government-owned facility at the time.
The next year, in 2009, The Hunger Project-Malawi started an HIV/AIDS program in Kachindamoto Epicenter. Raymond decided to volunteer as an HIV/AIDS animator, giving trainings and teaching his community about healthy living, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, nutrition in the context of HIV, safe sex, use of condoms, treatment adherence and post exposure prophylaxis (PEP).
Raymond and his wife are grateful to The Hunger Project-Malawi for introducing the ART clinic at the epicenter, allowing them to access treatment within their village rather than having to walk six miles to the health center.
Now, more informed on issues surrounding HIV/AIDS through training sessions, Raymond and his wife make smarter choices regarding their health. For instance, they have resolved to using condoms to avoid reinfecting each other, they adhere to treatment, and they plan their diet to include all six food groups. “The Hunger Project has helped us a lot to live a positive life and indeed a life full of hope as we easily access the health services we need and we have acquired knowledge to make informed decisions about our health. The evidence that these services and knowledge have impacted our lives is shown by how healthy we are. We no longer get sick frequently like we used to,” explains Raymond Tobias.
Learn more about The Hunger Project’s work in Malawi