OkaZHI: Okanagan-Zambia Health Initiative

Living with HIV

This past week I had the opportunity to work in the ART Clinic-the Anti Retroviral Therapy clinic where people go for routine check ups and treatment for HIV. It was such an eye opening experience while I sat taking vital signs for 4 hours nonstop person after person filtering through the clinic. It is amazing that some days they can have up to 300 patients come through. What really caught my attention is that HIV has no stereotype here in Zambia, and I never would have thought that many of the people who came through the clinic were living with HIV. It made me realize that we have been in contact with many people during our stay here that are living with HIV without knowing it, and we have danced and laughed and shared some great times and made some wonderful memories with a lot of the people without ever thinking that they might have HIV. It is very easy to stereotype people anywhere in the world when it comes to diseases and that there are many people here as well as back home who are living with some kind of illness that we may not see on the outside. Here in Mongu HIV affects the young and the old, the rich and the poor and it reinforces the fact that as a nurse it is important that we are seeing the patients for who they are and not just their illness. It was a very interesting couple of days and I am thankful for the learning opportunity.
-SB

Leave a comment