I have lived with HIV for 31 years

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This is my story

ntimbwe

My name is Ntimbwe.M.Mpamba. I’m 31 years old and I have been HIV positive for 31 years. This simply means I was born with HIV and I have been living with HIV for 31 years. I’m a very vibrant male in society who always makes a difference in people’s lives. 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 under the Zambia Consolidated Copper mines.

Being the last born in a family of 5 kids had its ups and downs. I guess the downs got the best of my life.
At the time 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 South Africa in 1992 opened up new doors to my life where I would enjoy the goodness of greener pastures. As sweet as it may sound, my health got a knock on the head; I started to experience all manner of sickness. I got chicken pox( herpes simplex), had a week bladder and rushes 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 flowed with the music.

Defining moments

Early 1995, my father got seriously ill and suffered from meningitis. Not knowing what it was, I didn’t it take 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. The 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-date was something I couldn’t bear. Praying and fasting while lodging at my uncle’s place was the best solution to victory. It didn’t take much time before God answered our plea. We got a house, mom got a good job and got my hope back to live a life that was not perfect but still gave the energy to make it big in this world.

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

Late 2004, my mother suffered from a T.B relapse and didn’t manage to pull through. My life was at a stand still because my reason for living had gone with her. My school life was distorted and I saw myself as an empty vessel. I was later taken in my sisters who were in South Africa. The changing of environment took its toll and my health was beyond redemption.

The Diagnosis

First my left lung was eroded by a virus, then I had herpes zoster (shingles) which left my right eye with total blindness and then was told that I was HIV positive. Me? HIV positive? A lot of questions went through my head, how did I acquire it, I have never been with multi sexual partners as 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 with you, I never for once thought I would make it through. Through support from the church, friends and family, my spirit got the hope to hang on and fight the good fight.

In 2005 ARV’s world was 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 1 000 000 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 the lungs kicked back into shape.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.

The Family Secret

After spending a lot of money trying to locate the drug that I was resistant to in private hospitals. I went through 5 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 1 000 000 plus again. I was referred to a Government hospital where research would be tried 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 2012 a family relative actually told me I was actually born with HIV and the entire family had kept this as a secret. Point is denial is real and many a times I have tried to run away from this situation. The saying goes what you don’t know won’t kill you but in actual sense what you don’t know will kill you faster than you know.

Reshaping HIV/Aids

In all of this I kept a positive attitude and I have striven to live a normal life. I matriculated in 2001 with 3 Distinctions and I went college where I have 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 be 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?

The bottom line is I have risen above HIV, with ARV’s readily available from African Governments, love from family and friends and loved ones

The bottom line is I have risen above HIV, with ARV’s readily available from African Governments, 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 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

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81 COMMENTS

  1. Amazing this brings tears to my eyes.Nthimbwe you are an amazing young man and such an inspiration.May God continue to be your rock and shield.You have conquered when so many have been defeated by HIV.Well done young man!

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    • Ba Mushota are you related to the former minister in Chiluba’s Administration. read throuhg iwe chimushota always looking for negativity. ulishilu?

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    • Keep up your courage and Hope, you will definitely achieve your dreams. Your story has definitely touched Many. You will never fall nor fail. May the Lord Almighty Bless you in all your endeavors.

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    • Young man, keep up the fighting spirit, what a welcome deviation from the usual shit of Zambian politics, ka mushota you stupid bitch,find something better to do.

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    • God Bless this young man. What a brave guy– however his family is ridiculous for keeping his diagnosis a secret. I don’t understand how Zambians think mwe!

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  2. A heartwarming, inspiring account about acceptance and overwhelming love. Continue the great trek – we shall be with you in spirit all the way. By the way, one day soon I shall ask for your autograph so look out for me and my kind! Stay blessed!

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    • I know this young man. I think he’s unbelievable.
      A few lessons here:
      1. The biggest killer is the silence and secrecy
      2. We should stop judging and just looking for who brought the disease and what happened. What is more important is what should be done to deal with the disease. We should not get stuck at the blame game and realise that there is life after the positive HIV result.
      3. The virus can be conquered. If a person can live for 31 years, (after only starting treatment in late 2004), there is a possibility that this virus if fought with the right attitude and medicine can be made of no effect. If Ntimbwe (and any other person) has started taking ARVs earlier (or as soon as they were available to the public), what would we be talking about? Let’s change, mwebantu!

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  3. Keep going man, HIV is no longer a killer it used to be, as long as you are doing the right things as advised by health specialists you’ll live a normal life.
    I know you know much more about HIV than I do and you certainly don’t need motivation nor advice from me as you are clearly self motivated anyway but please avoid overzealous pentecostal pastors they have sent too many people to early graves.

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  4. I am touched to the point of sadness, but your perseverance and triumph makes me feel happy. This story is for all Zambian men and women who are unfaithful to their partners, that the possibilities of you getting infected and in turn infecting your partner and unborn baby is real. If only we thought seriously about the consequences of our actions on the most innocent, may be the high levels of promiscuity in Zambian society will be held in check. One of the reasons we have so many lodges without a corresponding increase in tourists is because they are facilitators of promiscuity.

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    • And people would rather only condemn the actions of the wife on the lady in the video who was stripped and fail to emphathise with victims of adultery and innocent children.

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  5. Thumbs up man, your story has really touched me.. indeed you have risen above it all. Some star you are man. God bless you and continue touching lives..

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  6. My sibling has been living with IT for 28yrs. Had it not been for me to tell my doctor behind her back that she should be tasted for HIV she would probaby be dead by now. I invited my sister to visit me when she suddenly fell sick, i took her to my doctor who i asked to do the test, She was found positive and since been on meds, Now she has very low CD4 count.. she never thought she would see the year 2000 now we are in 2014 and she’s fit as a fiddle!

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    • Young man, you are society’s reason for keeping together. The cold hand of HIV has spared no family. I have taken to testing those of my clan who get sick on and off. And those who are positive, I usher in love backed by the prayers of those who equally love and we encourage them to go for VCT. Many have lived, and sadly those that denied we did bury. The Lord strengthen and comfort you, his face shine upon you and his love enfold you.

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  7. Well done young man, you are an inspiration to us all. Remain strong and focused on your goals and dreams.

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  8. This is a fantastic story. What you have actually done Ntimbwe is you have opened up a ‘can of worms’ meaning, I now understand what I couldn’t over the years. What you have done, Napoleon could not do, so the saying goes…
    The question however that I want to pose to bloggers and indeed the general readership is; Why was the HIV virus so prevalent only in former British Colonies in Sub-Saharan Africa? Could it be that the British are/were behind this calamity? This is a massive question for GRZ and for many Governments to come. They must tackle issues such as GMO foods, SOYA beans cakes added to children’s foods, the poisonous chemicals laced to beef by a British firm (Zambeef) and many more.

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    • Ntimbwe you are a hero and the lord shall surely see you through and give you your hearts desires my baby boy,i will always pray for you.stay blessed

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  9. …Like one blogger notes, indeed why have the Government of the day opened up to so many Motels/Hostels/Inns etc., some even in Chibolya/Misisi Compounds? What kind of Tourist would want to go and live in such squalor? Don’t the Government know that this is where HIV/AIDS is being spread like wild fire? Unless we as a people address these issues Timbwe has highlighted, the die is cast…

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    • Locals need hotels too. Who told you that hotels are only for tourists? Third world rationale

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  10. You are the man ! This is so touching.I`m happy for you my brother,i love your courage and determination.I have seen a lot of relatives and some of my patients succumb to the virus in the past and it is not a pretty scenario.Denial is what leads most of them to an early grave,but for you, you have confronted it with zeal,courage and determination.Keep it up

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  11. Nthimbwe you brought tears to me eyes. You are such a courageous young man. God is faithful and true to His word. It is well

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  12. After reading this I seem to have sand in my eyes. Ntimbwe you are an inspiration to many.

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  13. I have lost a sister and a brother-in-law to this deadly virus. My family had kept it a secret too. I only came to know after stumbling upon some medical documents in the house which had stated that my brother-in-law died as a result of AIDS. He was the 1st one to go back in 1992 when there was no treatment then despite being taken to the best hospitals. My sister died 9 years later in 2001. As in with story my sister was a very devout Christian and had never been with any other man except my brother-in-fall. My brother-in-law had just returned from the UK somewhere around 1990 so there is a possibility that he had some affairs whilst there or probably had other women in Zambia apart from my sister. As innocent as she was my sister was a victim.

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    • so sorry about the loss of your sister…..true many women in marriage tend to innocently fall victim to HIV. Very unfair scenario. Like you I still mourn my aunt who passed on 6yrs ago, she acquired the virus in marriage.

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    • Thanks. Lost my sister in the year 2002 in quite a similar way. Her demise has been a real blow to my family as she was a sister and mother to us. Its terrible.

      It took me personally a very long time to carry on with life. Miss her so much

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  14. Ntimbwe finally you have spoken out. May the Good Lord continue keeping you. with Long life he will satisfy you!

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  15. Very inspirational, when I look back and think of those dark days in the late 80s and through the 90s my goodness so many relatives and friends that past on it brings the emotions back. I remember a young niece I had that had been born with the disease it was very difficult to bear seeing such a young child go through the suffering she went through and nothing we could do, financially speaking we couldn’t get her ARVs, we couldn’t afford to take her to any well equipped hospital and those days ARVs were very expensive, eventually she passed away. As a Zambian growing up I know we all have seen such tragedies of losing relatives and loved ones. These days the disease has become manageable a lot are living normal and healthy lives, this means fewer orphans, more united and happy families.

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  16. Dear Brothers and Sisters, we need to help the young archive something. Let contribute some money for his education at least. I am willing to start with £10 a month.

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    • Mr. T, you are spot on. I am willing to give a $50. Is there someone out there who can coordinate this and inform the man about it.

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    • DontCare
      Man whats that for? Did he say he needs donations and what makes you think hes in need? Donate to UNICEF or other aid agencies. No need to start patronizing the gentleman.

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  17. Boi Ntimbwe,
    This is a very touching story and I must admit that all those years we were together at school, I had no idea these were the things you were going through…am so impressed by your courage my friend and please inbox me if there anything I could do to help…

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  18. this same Mushota is foolish ka, always looking for attention. atase, stupid

    Well done my boy for the article. you are a Star to the voiceless.
    well done

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  19. I simply just love this article. I think it shows the continued strength that people with HIV/AIDS are finding and the progressive reception they are receiving… both attitude and medical progress on this issue is needed for us to fully address it in Zambia.

    This is simply a beautiful article and a beautiful story behind it.

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  20. Timbwe you’re a true solder and have known you for years and to be honest I haven’t seen anyone as vibrant and strong as you’re. With long life He will satisfy you. Keep going baba.

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  21. Well well well this story has really touched me.My dear brother God is the main reason why you are still living.Continue being faithful to him because He is been the one holding on to your life.God bless you my dear.

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  22. you are indeed a conqueror,am touched all the way to the bottom. may the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ continue being with you my brother….

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  23. RED ARROW ME IF YOU WANT……but I have my doubts you were born with it. The first cases of HIV in Zambia were reported in 1984. All those who contracted it at that time, DIED within 10 – 15 years. You say you were born in 1982 hmmm ……to reach 2014 is either a miracle or you contracted it later in your childhood through routes other than sex.
    Sorry to say but your parents could have contracted it years after you were born…May their souls rest in Peace.

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    • @Scientist, The fact that the “first case” as you say was recorded in 1983 does not mean that HIV/AIDS was not there. They detected the first case in 1983. Does that mean HIV started in 1983? NO! For HIV to be detected then, that means it was there earlier. I am also a Scientist, SCIENTIST. I thought about that too

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    • Discovery
      AIDS was first clinically observed in 1981 in the United States.[77] The initial cases were a cluster of injection drug users and gay men with no known cause of impaired immunity who showed symptoms of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), a rare opportunistic infection that was known to occur in people with very compromised immune systems.[78] Soon thereafter, additional gay men developed a previously rare skin cancer called Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS).[79][80] Many more cases of PCP and KS emerged, alerting U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a CDC task force was formed to monitor the outbreak.[81]

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    • In 1983, two separate research groups led by Robert Gallo and Luc Montagnier independently declared that a novel retrovirus may have been infecting AIDS patients, and published their findings in the same issue of the journal Science.[89][90] Gallo claimed that a virus his group had isolated from an AIDS patient was strikingly similar in shape to other human T-lymphotropic viruses (HTLVs) his group had been the first to isolate. Gallo’s group called their newly isolated virus HTLV-III. At the same time, Montagnier’s group isolated a virus from a patient presenting with swelling of the lymph nodes of the neck and physical weakness, two classic symptoms of AIDS. – Wikipedia

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  24. what a good testimony, so encouraged. May God see you through my brother.
    Stay blessed.

    Thank you.

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  25. Oh Ntimbwe, you are such a hero and inspiration to all those living with this virus! You will complete your ACCA and you will achieve even more in your precious life. You have reclaimed that beautiful life from the horridous HIV, with the strength from Jehovah God almighty who has destined you for greater things. You have asked the million dollar question, why YOU? May be for the same reason you are still alive and now you have written that book.
    THANK YOU LORD FOR NTIMBWE’S LIFE & CONTINUE MAKING HIM A TESTIMONY UNTO YOUR GREATNESS, AMEN!!!

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  26. Gallant hero! Ntimbwe you are a conquereor. may God let you see even more and more days.

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  27. Seemingly good story but it is faked = Boza. HIV was discovered in France in 1983 among homosexual prisoners. The first recorded case in Zambia was in 1986. Thereafter the next year it was diagnosed in USA. During that interlude, Zambia had neither a suspected case nor staff with compentence or equipment to diagnose it. The writer, being 31, was born in late 1982 or early 1983. That means he was conceived in late 1981 or early 1982. How could he therefore be positive from birth when the disease didn’t even exist then. Bufi!! It is like the Nigerian fakes of someone winning a lottery when they did not even buy a ticket

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    • Imwe a Chibwachamazakala, The fact that the “first case” as you say was recorded in 1983 does not mean that HIV/AIDS was not there. They detected the first case in 1983. Does that mean HIV started in 1983? NO! For HIV to be detected then, that means it was there earlier.
      Scientist will record the year as they discovered something the time they publish their findings. They published their findings in 1983 but that does not mean It was not there. That is when they gave it the name HIV. For them to start investigating what it was, that means it was already there but they wanted to know what it was. That means there research started way earlier. Not just kushusha

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    • Discovery
      AIDS was first clinically observed in 1981 in the United States.[77] The initial cases were a cluster of injection drug users and gay men with no known cause of impaired immunity who showed symptoms of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), a rare opportunistic infection that was known to occur in people with very compromised immune systems.[78] Soon thereafter, additional gay men developed a previously rare skin cancer called Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS).[79][80] Many more cases of PCP and KS emerged, alerting U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a CDC task force was formed to monitor the outbreak.[81] – Wikipedia

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    • In 1983, two separate research groups led by Robert Gallo and Luc Montagnier independently declared that a novel retrovirus may have been infecting AIDS patients, and published their findings in the same issue of the journal Science.[89][90] Gallo claimed that a virus his group had isolated from an AIDS patient was strikingly similar in shape to other human T-lymphotropic viruses (HTLVs) his group had been the first to isolate. Gallo’s group called their newly isolated virus HTLV-III. At the same time, Montagnier’s group isolated a virus from a patient presenting with swelling of the lymph nodes of the neck and physical weakness, two classic symptoms of AIDS. – Wikipedia

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  28. Mmmh! And you’re assuming the writer’s parents never travelled outside Africa! Yaba!

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  29. This is amazing. Glory to God.
    I have a strange situation about someone. between 1992-1997 I worked in Malawi with this man. His first born child died at 5 years due to aids related illnesses in 1994. At that time his wife was pregnant. She gave birth to another boy but at the local hospital his wife was told not to breast feed the child. (PMTC programme was pioneered in Malawi then) In 1996 they had another baby girl who died due to aids related illnesses. My friend died in 2001 after his wifes death in 1999. recently I located the second born boy who survived the scourge through facebook He is at a university in London. We now communicate a lot and he is happy I know a lot about his father more than anyone in the family. I do not know if he knows how he escaped the aids trap thru PMTC

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  30. mushota; you are a heartless ignorant; empty vessel and stupid at the most: if you are not infected you are affected; some things should be taken with seriusness: whoever is paying you to blog should not waste their money as you are an absolute *****:

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  31. Truly inspired by your story, you are an overcomer, God will reward you richly not only in this life, but also eternally. There is nothing impossible with God, Bless you Bro.

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  32. A slightly exaggerated story. Zambia had no facility to test for HIV in 1882. I fact we used to test for HTLV iII at TDRC in Ndola. We are not doubting that he is HIV positive, but since birth is a bit doubtful. He was just told by relatives that he was born with the virus. Not very plausible. Not 1982. First cases in zambia were around 1986 and was htlv iii virus.

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  33. You man you have made HIV/AIDS look easy, easy to the point that it can be conquered with the right information and attitude
    God bless you boy

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  34. Guys it breaks my heart that people always want to be heard and use other people’s stories to make their voices heard. For those of you sending messages gs of well wishes and hope, thank you. For those of you that want to play ignorant and display it in such a blog for others to have an opportunity to insult you, may your eyes be opened. Ntimbwe is my brother. I have been with him in this journey all his life. Kindly use these forums for constructive issues and avoid comments that would otherwise be thrown in the bin.

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  35. Mpamba I’m lost for words this is overwhelming ur truly an inspiration even when we were growing up. Thumbs up bro.

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  36. Ntimbwe im so proud of you, may God continue giving you the strength,love and peace that you deserve…..LOVE U!

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  37. I love u my brother,,my friend, u ar a true inspiration,,,God saved u 4 a reason,,4 us to have hope,Love ‘faith, tolarance, ,,,may Lord our God continue to love and protect u,,

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  38. I want to thank Dr Queensabar for helping me get cured of my Hiv/aids diseases, for like 4 yrs Now I have been suffering from Hiv/aids , but one day as I was surfing through the Internet I met a post about a lady who was cured by Dr QUEENSABAR so I decided to give it a try to see if he could save my life Luckily for me I was cured by him. I cannot stop thanking him for what he has done for me if you are into similar problem you can contact him via: email on (([email protected])) or(((([email protected])) or call him on phone +2348112302821
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  39. Sad but inspiring… It’s so nice to see so many people with good hearts ? comrades I salute you. Big thumbs up to this young man. May the good lord continue blessing you.

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  40. You are a strong and very courageous person, Thumbs up for you my bro, many have fallen because of stigma and discrimination and yet you are out there giving the strong encouragement to others, they are few pwople who think of other but you thought to share which is very good. I wish you all the best to your wishes and i just pray that God will surely answer you prayers very soon.

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  41. Great man indeed! Besides the status, he is a man who is always positive about things and brings life out of people that seemingly have lost hope. As a person I know personally, I would like to congratulate Ntimbwe on the stance he has taken. Many people who are living positively will have hope for a longer life span. God bless you my guy!

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