In Zambia, 36-year-old Daniel Ngoshe, a father of six children, was jobless when he discovered he was HIV-positive. Fortunately, his life dramatically changed when he began antiretroviral treatment (ART) and was disciplined about adhering to his drug regimen.
ART is effective only if patients take the life-extending medications correctly. Taking drugs at the wrong time of the day or at the wrong dosage can result in drug resistance, where ART becomes less effective or ineffective. For this reason, the Zambia Prevention, Care and Treatment Partnership (ZPCT) started a project in 2006 to ensure that, as more Zambians begin ART, they receive support to take the drugs correctly and to seek follow-up care.
Daniel attended the ZPCT adherence support workers training, supported by PEPFAR. The training targeted people who are living openly with HIV and taking antiretroviral drugs. At the training, Daniel learned about methods to support drug adherence, as well as basic facts about the HIV epidemic, counseling, testing, and ways to live positively with HIV/AIDS.
Daniel is an active Adherence Support Worker at Mahatma Gandhi Health Center in Kabwe. He reflects: "When I started taking the drugs my strength increased, which allowed me to do some work at home, in the community, and at the health clinic." He beams with pride when he sees the clients he counseled on treatment adherence. Thanks to his advice, his clients are careful to take their ART every day, adhere to their essential drug treatment, and live healthier lives. Daniel is one of a growing number of Adherence Support Workers who help to improve the health and livelihood of community members.
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