Couples usually recall the day they get married as probably the best day of their lives. This is the day that two lovebirds promise to be together, to be faithful and to love each other; but what happens when marriage becomes the new licence for not only to kill by infecting a spouse with HIV but also to cheat and destroy a spousesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ self-esteem? Paida Mpaso speaks with women who are picking up their lives after marriage took its toll.
Finding out that you are HIV Positive when you know how faithful you have been to your partner is probably one of the worst news that you ever have to hear from you doctor. It is even worse when your partner at home goes against you and starts to accuse you of being unfaithful or while your husband is trying to come to terms with the whole situation, his relatives decide to take matters into their own hands and kick you out of your matrimonial home.
When Judith Kamanga got married for the second time, she was very happy that after losing her first husband she would be able to spend the rest of her life being faithful, loving and caring to her new man. Little did she know that one day, the situation would turn sour and her in-laws would soon turn against her.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In 2008, I tested HIV positive. My husband accepted the test results but my relatives never bought the whole story. One day they just came and told me to pack my belongings and take my child. So I left,Ã¢â‚¬Â she narrates.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Though it was painful, I had no other choice. I have been in this situation and am moving past it, however, I would have loved if more people could be told about these issues. It seems men are having problems in accepting such situations and many women in Chilobwe have lost their marriages. I do not know for a fact whether he infected me because I was once married. I just wish I had gone for testing before remarrying,Ã¢â‚¬Â she laments.
Griezelle Chimbamba, who is raising her three children as a single mother, says she went through a similar situation. She claims after she was found HIV positive, life turned upside down and her husband changed. He eventually left her.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He did not even pack his belongings; he accused me of sleeping around then left. Just to spite me, women would come to my house demanding to see him but I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t let that get to me,Ã¢â‚¬Â she explains.Ã‚Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He is now married and does not even take care of the family that he left behind. I cannot force him to come back so I am finding means to take care of my three children. As you can see, my body is fragile and I cannot stay in the sun for long hours but I find myself doing it because my children need food,Ã¢â‚¬Â she says.
If complaints by doctors and marriage counsellors are anything to go by, married women are more susceptible to the pandemic because they do not protect themselves. Some of them remain virgins until they meet their husbands or get married.
Most of them stay faithful to husbands that do not practise fidelity and end up being infected by the one man that they love, trust and obey.
The question here would be; is there a way to ease this? Married people in general do not use protection unless of course they are both infected. The only option is to be faithful, but how many are practising this?
Medical Assistant for Mbulumbuzi Health Centre, Osbourne Kasengera, says it becomes difficult for married couples to ensure that they are protected because the mind works in different ways and it is difficult to know what your partner is thinking.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You should, however, visit get VCT as a couple regularly. This might scare the unfaithful partner into either being faithful or at least being careful in his or her escapades,Ã¢â‚¬Â he advises.