Families Supporting the Management of HIV

A ROM Discordant Couple.

Josephine Kaleebi
Executive Director Reach Out Mbuya

It is interesting to note how partners that disclosed their status have been helped in the lockdown.  A wonderful case of a ROM male client who was locked up in a factory was helped by his wife to get his drugs refilled. The wife’s support was obviously a result of transparency in a relationship that begets love and care for each other.

We have observed how important it is for the chronic patients to be aware of the type of drugs they are on – in the case of HIV, the regimen. Thanks to the Ministry of Health guideline, refills could be accessed from any nearby ARV dispensing facility during the lockdown to enable all not to run out of ARV stocks.

Despite the wife’s willingness to support, she was faced with the grueling long distances on foot in the absence of public transport only to reach the nearby facility but couldn’t get the refill without any idea of what his husbands’ regimen is. Calling the husband locked up in the factory could neither help as he equally was unaware. The facility advising the wife to walk back and try and find any empty tin at home, fortunately helped as she trekked back. Good news she was served but the pain she endured points to the great love and care for the husband. Gets me to think of what would have happened had the husband not disclosed to her as he had not disclosed to the employer and yet was locked up at work!

As all ROM clients are sensitized on never to run out of drug stocks and more so during this pandemic, utilization of the ROM Toll-free line if locked out of ROM access has been equally sensitized to support such cases that wish to help their families but may find challenges like this case.  

The growing proactiveness of majority of our clients using the toll-free line to call prior to their clinic appointment dates is equally helping. Seeking guidance on what to do should the lockdown continue, finding out how to manage for those unable to reach the facility due to lack of transport and other concerns are good indicators of patients owning responsibility of their treatment compared to the past where many had to be continuously reminded.

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