Happy Couple, Eneless and Billy Mandota
Happy Couple, Eneless and Billy Mandota

Couple HIV Testing Brings Hope to Family: Eneless and Billy Mandota’s Story

May 30 2018

One Community offers HIV testing services using different modalities and strategies. The aim is to reach high-risk populations with convenient, and confidential HIV testing services. Methods that have been most effective include index testing (where the sex partners and biological children of an HIV positive person are tested) and mobile testing (where testing is brought to people in the community). Mobile testing activities include community testing and moonlight testing, which is testing done in the evenings/night, outside of normal operating hours. The moonlight testing sessions have been effective in reaching busy priority populations such as businessmen, vendors and fisher folks. These activities are conducted in and around markets, fishing communities, estates and around hot spots like bars and brothels.

On 22 December 2017, One Community conducted a moonlight testing session at Jali Market in Traditional Authority Mwambo, Zomba a district in southern Malawi. On this day Eneless and her husband Billy Mandota decided to go for an HIV test. The decision to get tested was not due to any risk indicators, the couple simply wanted to know their HIV status. Upon arrival, the couple received counseling and they consented to receive the test.

During the test Eneless was filled with confidence “I was not worried about our results. As far as I knew, we had been faithful throughout our 21 years of marriage,” she shared.

However, the results given were not what the couple expected. Billy received an HIV negative result while Eneless was found to be HIV positive.

“I was confused and devastated,” she recalls with sadness in her eyes “For some minutes everyone was quiet, the counsellor offered more counselling and words of encouragement, but I wasn’t really paying attention.”
After the counselling, the couple left. They discussed the possibility that their test results might be wrong and agreed to go for a confirmatory test at the Primiti health center 5 kilometers away from their home. Their results were confirmed at Primiti health center the next day.

“The second test really left me depressed. I began to recall ways in which I might have contracted the disease. The one scenario that came to mind was when I was taking care of my sister during her labour, I was exposed to a lot of her blood” explains Eneless. “I later disclosed my status to my sister and asked her to go for testing, but she refused so I will be sure of how I became HIV positive.”

For Billy, his wife’s positive result was not something he anticipated, but he thought about his two daughters and grandchild who rely on both of them for support. “I could not break our family apart,” he reasoned.
Billy comforted and encouraged Eneless. He paid close attention to the post test counselling offered and tried to find hope for a healthy life together.

eneless“I understood the situation we are in and I pledged to support my wife whole heartedly. I still love and support her as before and we have hope that we will continue to happily live together and support each other and our children” Billy Mandota concluded. 

With support from her husband,Eneless started her treatment a week later. Index testing, to learn the status of their children, was also done by One Community, the following week after receiving consent from the Eneless and Billy.

“Our children are negative and healthy. I now take every opportunity I can to educate them about how they can remain negative,” concludes Eneless.

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