A wound on her 11-year old daughter’s leg concerned Xolisile enough to take the hours-long walk from her home high in the rural hills of Vulindlela to the nearest health clinic. There she discovered her little girl, Gugulethu*, was HIV-positive. She was started immediately on treatment. “Today, she is alive,” says Xolisile, “she is healthy and she is alive, because of them.”
The same clinicians who treated Gugulethu at the CDC-funded facility in the uMgungundlovu district also encouraged the mother of two to bring her family members for testing as part of an innovative effort to find hidden cases of HIV.
Soon Xolisile learned her husband, her son, and she herself were HIV-positive and that all, except her husband, had also contracted TB. “I think about how we have our medicines now and how we are doing well,” she says, “but how we all could’ve perished.”
*not her actual name.