Daniel: Lesotho

Daniel shares his health record booklet with a staff member from the local clinic.

Jon Hrusa

My name is Setloboko but you can call me Daniel. Daniel is my English name and I love speaking English. I love to sing in English too.

I am 17 years old and I live with my grandmother in Molika-liko village, high in the mountains of Lesotho in Mokhotlong district. My younger brother and I came to live here after my mother died in 1997. After we moved here my brother grew sick. He also died in 1999.

Our house is right next to the Molika-liko Health Center. This is good because I go to the center all the time for HIV treatment.

When I was younger I went to school in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho. I was a very good student and my favorite subjects were history and social studies.

When I was 14 years old I got really sick. I had sores across my body. I came home and went to Mokhotlong Hospital, where the doctors told me I had HIV. They gave me antiretroviral medications (ARVs) to make me better.

The next few years were very hard. I couldn’t go to school. There is no school for kids my age in Molika-liko and I was too sick to go to Maseru, which is many hours from here. I was lonely and sometimes I ran away.

But I thank God for grandmother – she always supports me. She helped me to accept my HIV status and she tells me when to take my ARVs. I owe my life to her.

Now that I’m older, I keep track of all the medicines I take. The doctors and nurses write them in my health record booklet. I ask questions and discuss my treatment. I keep my record booklet with me all the time and I like to show it to visitors.

My CD4 count is increasing – it used to be below 100 and now it is 168. This means that my ARVs are working, although I still don’t feel completely well.

I haven’t gone to school in four years but I plan to start again next year. I would like to study biology and physics and become an engineer. With the help of my grandmother and the staff at the health center, I will continue to take my ARVs and grow healthy and strong.

The Foundation, through funding from the United States Agency for International Development, works closely with the Lesotho Ministry of Health and other partners to provide HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment programs in Lesotho, including those at Molika-liko Health Center and Mokhotlong Hospital.

Update: The Foundation recently learned that Daniel, after stopping his treatment regimen, passed away of complications from AIDS in October 2010. Daniel’s story is a reminder of the importance of care and treatment for children and young adults living with HIV, and of our continued efforts to help all children receive the support they need to continue and adhere to treatment. The Foundation offers our deepest sympathies to Daniel’s family and community in Lesotho.