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The Revolving Door is the place where we publish occasional articles by guest writers. If you would like to submit an article for publication, please contact editor Bob Leahy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Jul19

This is my story

Saturday, 19 July 2014 Categories // African, Caribbean and Black, International , Living with HIV, Population Specific , Revolving Door, Guest Authors

An inspiring tale. Guest writer Ntimbwe M. Mpamba was born with HIV 32 years ago. He lives in Johannesburg, South Afrcia and has had more than his share of troubles, but he has risen above them and become an advocate for people living with HIV.

This is my story

My name is Ntimbwe. M.Mpamba. I’m 32 years old and I have been HIV positive for 30 years. This simply means I was born with HIV and I have been living with HIV for 32 years..

I was born on the 12th December 1982 and was raised by both parents. My mother was a nutritionist by profession and my father was a purchasing and supply manager for the Zambia mines. Being the last born in a family of five kids had its ups and downs. I guess the downs got the best of my life. 

I was an energetic little boy. I always did find myself in situations which were unbearable. I mean just the thought of being crushed by a car or being accidentally hit by flying shot-put or even falling from a tall mango tree were tragedies that made me feel as though I was indestructible in my own crazy world. 

Relocating from mother Zambia to The Republic of South Africa in 1992 opened up new doors where I could enjoy the goodness of greener pastures. As sweet as that may sound, my health got a knock on the head there; I started to experience all manner of sickness. I got chicken pox ( herpes simplex), had a week bladder and rashes all over my body and face.

My mother, being a nutritionist, introduced me to the world of vitamins. The love and trust I had for my parents didn’t give me a reason to ask any questions but simply just flow with the music. 

In early 1995, my father got seriously ill and suffered from meningitis. Not knowing what it was, I didn’t take it seriously because I thought it was a just a phase in life. It didn’t take much time before the grave called his name. At that point, a part of me was torn apart. 

After my father’s death things became difficult for us to remain in South Africa as my mother was not working. Running out of options, mother decided to head back to Zambia where she would try to keep the family from falling apart.

Moving back was the easy part but getting back to our feet was something I lived to remember. My mother being unemployed, my health not being up-to-par was something I couldn’t bear. Praying and fasting while lodging at my uncle’s place was the best way to victory.

It didn’t take much time before God answered our plea. We got a house, mom got a good job and I got my hope back to live a life that was not perfect but still gave me the energy to make it big in this world. 

I was finally happy until pneumonia came walking in, TB came flying after and Herpes also managed to sneak in to my life. These followed each other as they were related to one another. But as much as they had set their course to take me down, my strong mindset was not shaken because I knew that I was a conqueror and was born for greatness, not failure. 

In late 2004, my mother suffered from a TB relapse and didn’t manage to pull through. My life was at a stand-still; my reason for living had gone with her. My school life was messed up and I saw myself as an empty vessel. I was later taken in by my sisters who were in South Africa. The changing environment took its toll and my health seemed beyond redemption. 

First my left lung was eroded by a virus, the herpes zoster (shingles) which lead my right eye to total blindness.

I was told that I was HIV+. Me? HIV+? A lot of questions went through my head, like how did I acquire it?  I was not sexually active and had not been exposed to any risky situations that could cause me to acquire the disease. I was really ill and to be honest, I never thought I would make it through. Through support from the church, friends and family, however,my spirit got the hope to hang on and fight the good fight. 

In 2005 antiretrovirals were the next member of my life and got to be assigned as my assistant in putting the HIV virus in its place. At this time my CD4 Count was 36 and the viral load was one million plus copies. As my body responded to the drugs, my health got a massive boost. Through a combination of faith, prayers and the medication I regained my sight back and my lungs kicked back into shape also.

I decided to play around with medication; I started taking it at my own time and skipping. The virus didn’t waste time to fight back and I became resistant to the drugs. 

After spending a lot of money trying to locate the drug that I was resistant to in private hospitals. I went through five different specialists and the doctors told me my best option would be a Government hospital. At this stage my CD4 count dropped from 490 to 8 and Viral load to 1million plus again.  I was referred to a Government hospital where research would be tried out on me to try and keep me alive. I responded well to the research and gained my health back through the Grace of the Almighty God. 

In all of this I kept a positive attitude and I have striven to live a normal life. I matriculated in 2001 with three distinctions and I went to college where I studied accounting. I completed the CAT’s programme with ACCA and would like to complete my ACCA to become a chartered accountant. 

My goals are to bean  inspiration to the young and victims of HIV as well as young children dealing with different emotions related to rejection, bad health and struggling families. If I can do it, so can they. 

I have dealt with different emotions and of course I have been depressed and asked the normal question which any person in my situation would ask: why me? In 2012 a family relative told me I was actually born with HIV and the entire family had kept this a secret.

Denial is real and many times I have tried to run away from this situation. The saying goes "what you don’t know won’t kill you" but in reality what you don’t know will kill you faster than you know. 

Bottom line is I have risen above HIV, with ARV’s readily available from African governments, plus love from family and friends and loved ones, I see myself as an important member of society and would like to make a positive contribution to other people. I would like to reshape the face of HIV especially for children born with HIV.

Today anything is possible and nothing can stop you if your spirit wills. Remember life is a straight road that has no stop sign, no corners but just pit stops. I have written a book where the whole journey of my life will be explained in detail. 

I deserve a fair chance!!!!! 

I was sickened by did not die, 

Was crushed but not destroyed. 

Pushed but did not fall yet 

It’s true that I am alive coz 

Greater is he that is me than 

He that is in the world 

Visit Ntimbwe M. Mpamba’s website here and follow him on twitter @ntimbwe_mpamba.

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