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'It feels good to be normal' - after HIV drugs nightmare

By Lerato Moeketse | Jun 28, 2012 | COMMENTS [ 60 ]

AFTER struggling for years to get help from local hospitals, Mavis* finally underwent a bilateral breast reduction.

Mavis's breasts grew abnormally large, and long due to side effects from antiretrovirals (ARVs).

The condition is known as lipodostrophy and is recognised through changes in fat reduction or redistribution - often in one area - leading to an abnormal body shape.

Mavis, who was forced to quit her job as a result of her grown breasts, finally has a reason to smile.

Prior to the latest intervention, Mavis was turned away from the Charlotte Maxeke and Chris Hani-Baragwanath public hospitals in Johannesburg.

Mavis was originally given a date for treatment, but this appointment was postponed more than twice because of staff shortages.

The tearful woman told Sowetan: "I am so relieved and happy. It feels good to be normal again. I don't know how to explain the joy I have inside, but I feel so blessed."

Last Friday Mavis, 29, from Ekurhuleni, was admitted to Charlotte Maxeke hospital after Sowetan highlighted her plight.

After the report, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi ordered that she be assisted.

In 2006 she was diagnosed with HIV and developed ARV-related side effects that affected her mobility. Mavis could not walk for two years.

"In 2008, my breasts started growing rapidly and got heavy, making life difficult for me."

After the department said the case was not a priority because it was not "life threatening", Mavis received an apology from Gauteng health MEC Ntombi Mekgwe.

Mekgwe said: "I feel as a department we did not respond properly. We should have shown a caring attitude. We can't ask questions if a person says 'I am suffering from something'. We need to check as to how far we can assist."

Mavis was due to be discharged from hospital on Wednesday 27 June.

"I am so excited and looking forward to going home. I can't wait to be home, to go out with friends and enjoy my life."

*Mavis is not her real name.

- lerato@sowetan.co.za

This article was first published in the printed newspaper 27 June 2012

COMMENTS [ 60 ]

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i am happy for you Madam, Satane o swabile. a modimo a gofe bophelo

Jul 05, 2012 7:29 | 0 replies

I wish her well, hope the doctors will prescribe the best ARVs for her which will not cause drastic side effects on her like this.

Jun 28, 2012 11:24 | 0 replies

Mavis ke thaka yaka!2006 she was 22yrs when diagnosed with HIV,anyway sesi please use a condom, eat healthy and look after yourself. Kuyagulwa Emzantsi straight kodwa.

Jun 28, 2012 11:14 | 0 replies

everything has side effect ARV's are good as look as you take then in time, eat healthy, have a positive life style like condomise when having sex,important stress free life norman talking from experince. but:
Alocohol, smoking, sex with many partners without protectection, stresing, not eating well know that you are digging your grave fast.

Jun 28, 2012 10:51 | 0 replies

@Shredder
@MsKinkyakaKamaSutra - Good morning dear. Should I keep an eye on you to ascertain the allegations by MiniSlahla? Kikikiki
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Ageng Rra.

That one was just piggybacking for fame..............

Jun 28, 2012 10:49 | 0 replies

kikikikiki ba go blokile?

Jun 28, 2012 10:41 | 0 replies

All the best to you Mavis, i also believe that ARV's works.

Jun 28, 2012 10:36 | 0 replies

oh sisi i can only imagine how life was for you. finally you going home happy for for you.

Jun 28, 2012 10:27 | 0 replies

Editor , just because this woman is your mother, does not mean you should block my comments.

Jun 28, 2012 10:23 | 0 replies

@Sowetan
U've done well by Hlokolozing the Dpt of Health, these guys(health officials) wants to be exposed in order for them to do their job.

Jun 28, 2012 10:11 | 0 replies

@Shredder
@Socrates - And this is wht Manto and Mbeki have been saying all along and sadly no one has listened because they have to enrich GlaxoWelcomeSmith
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Exactly, but people were too quick to chuck stones at Mbeki. That is what I understood about Mbeki's statement. If you can't afford to get proper diet your condition will deteriorate quicker than the person who can afford.
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come on guys this is but one case of serious side effects whilst millions survived and (mother to unborn foetus) aids infection has been prevented in many cases.

Anyway if ppl feel so strongly about beetroot and garlic they can always stop with drugs and use that cause no one is forced to take arvs or any medication for that matter, what ppl must understand is that every medication has side effects this is stated in the packaging and users are advised to consult their doctors as soon as they notice side effects.

Jun 28, 2012 10:7 | 0 replies