“En m’impliquant dans le fonctionnement du poste de distribution communautaire j’ai retrouvé ma dignité » « By getting involved in the running of the community ART distribution point I regained my dignity » says Stéphane Dinanga from Kinshasa.
“I became gravely ill in 1993. I was coughing, had diarrhea, fever... I had a lot of diseases at the same time, but nobody at that time would have guessed that it was because of HIV. It’s only in 2004 that some of my family members got me tested. At that time I was so sick couldn’t even stand up. As my brother is a doctor he initiated me on ARV treatment but he didn’t even tell me what was the disease that was devouring me. It took a year before he told me what it was. In the beginning it was very difficult to accept and disclose my status, but thanks to the support group I decided to come out as a person living with HIV. In fact I even talked at church about it, telling it as it is to the flock: I’m not ashamed to be HIV positive. Now I am an HIV activist. I’m planning to get married soon with another activist, as soon as we get enough money for the wedding! All my friends know that I’m HIV positive, but some think that I’m lying because they see me so healthy. They think I’m just saying that to scare them!”