As COVID-19 continues to change social, economic and political norms, a Roman Catholic run organisation, CARITAS has extended its helping hand to people affected and infected by HIV/AIDS.
One of the beneficiaries who is living with HIV/AIDS, Simbarashe Gambarachuta (36) from Epworth says the organisation’s counselling programmes have gone a long way in alleviating stress levels.
“Through CARITAS social programmes we have managed to live stress-free from counselling sessions we were engaged in.
“I used to be a security guard but in 2012 after reacting to ARVs I terribly fell ill and could no longer conduct my duties as before. While it weighed in heavy on us as a family, the counselling we received helped us handle the stress,” said Gambarachuta.
Gambarachuta’s reaction to ARVs blew the long-kept family secret to the community triggering stigma.
“When my husband fell ill it became known to all that we are living with HIV. People started segregating us which impacted us in many ways. But thanks to the counselling we received from CARITAS we have managed to endure through,” said Gambarachuta’s wife Memory Kaengedza
Meanwhile, the effects of COVID-19-induced lockdown have not spared the family.
“We used to trail weddings to beg for leftover foodstuffs people usually stock as dog food, however, due to this pandemic which barred all forms of gatherings we are stuck,” he said.
Funded by PEPFAR under the USAID, CARITAS is a community based and community-led organisation. It is operational in Epworth and Mbare where it houses its offices.