HIV testing
HIV testing
A ZAMBIAN professor living with HIV has found himself a life partner after going public about his HIV status.

Samson Tembo, 36, based in Kitwe and Nzila Kafwimbi met via the Times of Zambia column that tackles the subject as part of a campaign to reduce stigma and ignorance about the condition.
Professor Tembo’s wife to be also decided to go public about her HIV status soon after the two met and announced their intention to tie the knot next month.

He revealed that seven years after being divorced for being HIV positive and was advised by his colleague Yusuf Dodhia to use his iconic status in society and go public about his HIV status so that he could help in dealing with stigma.

“A few months ago, I made a call to a phone-in programme called Chat Box on Radio Phoenix where I said I am a Professor living with HIV and was looking for someone to marry who is also HIV positive.

“Soon after the programme, I received 82 text messages from HIV positive ladies asking if I can marry them. Then I was interviewed and my full story about my HIV status came out in the New Year’s Day AIDS Corner column in the Sunday Times and I received more than 2, 000 marriage inquiries,” he said.

He said that all these women were stigmatised as they could not go public about their HIV status.

Prof Tembo said it was through the marriage inquiries by text messages that he met Nzila whom he says also spoke passionately about HIV and how it was important that they should work together to help reduce or eradicate the stigma around HIV.

“Soon after my story in the Sunday Times, Nzila also decided to go public and her story also came out in the same newspaper column within January 2017. This was very encouraging not only to me but to our families and society in general.

It showed us how much stigma is attached to HIV because after her story was publicised, so many men started asking for her hand in marriage and yet they did not want to go public about their status,” he said.

As a result of his going public, he says at least 10, 000 people, students and non-students, have gone for HIV testing at the Copperbelt University alone while the institution’s AIDS Club membership was now in excess of 2, 000.

Nzila,38, and a mother of a son, Kapalu, said “our coming together is a story of love involving two people that feel they have an obligation to help the world fight stigma. People should go for testing, reveal your status and be happy.”

She appealed to fellow women to know their status and go public about it so that they could, among other issues, also meet men living with HIV to partner with in holy matrimony.

“When you test HIV positive, you must not despair. Don’t go into depression and as for couples, they should not start the blame game of who has brought HIV in the home but instead they should concentrate on treatment and encouraging others out there either to remain negative or adhere with the treatment ,” she said in a jovial mood.

Prof Tembo, a father of one son, Takondwa, said Nzila and their two children were now his family and was looking forward to their formalisation of their marriage through a wedding ceremony to be held in Ndola.

“We want people to dance to this HIV positive couple and we just want to be happy. Stigma and lack of testing are serious problems but we shall endeavour to fight them. HIV is not a disease but a condition,” he said amid cracking jokes of how many beautiful children he was looking forward to have with his new found love.

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29 COMMENTS

    • As a nation we have lived with HIV/AIDS for over 30years. We have had life prolonging drugs for close to 20years. There are so many people with the virus who are living fulfilled lives & immensely contributing to the development of this country.
      Its time we focused on advancements in treatment & not stories that should have been told decades ago.
      As for Samson & Nzila, congrats. You have a long life ahead of you. Add value to your society. Your students don’t need distractions.

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    • @kabwalala: Step outside your little apartment, get hit by a truck, and you will be just as DEAD! So what do you these two are dead already? Who are you to predict how long and fulfilling life these two have left ahead of them?

      My dear, you are also ONLY A HEARTBEAT AWAY FROM DEATH. So don’t dare KARMA, for karma is a b!tch!, as they say.

      Kudos to the Prof and his soon to be bride. Indeed, although we have had this problem of HI-AIDS in our country for a long time, Stigma is still a big problem. And it is stories like yours that will help fight ignorance such as expressed by people like @kabwalala. God bless both of you!

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    • Kabwala: I remember one politician being very passionate about someone else’s sickness sometime in 2015. Alas he lost the wife instead and that person who was always being reported as sick is now the President of the country. Please don’t be so excited with other people’s misfortunes. My won mother is HIV positive but so far she has witnessed three deaths of very close relatives. She is still going strong! Some of the things we write should be self censored!

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  1. 2000 marriage enquiries, that means 1,999 have had their hearts broken by this professor.

    OK! Nice move prof, you are a smooth criminal.

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  2. LT these are the stories you should publish….not that Today’s Sunday Message which is a waste of space!!

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  3. Zambia awe its a joke. 2,000 inquiries without caring how Prof got infected? What about those who get married without testing?

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    • @6, You really want Zambia to be a joke, but sorry it will never be. You are…!
      To Samson and Nzila, big up to you!!!

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  4. ladies and gentlemen let’s not make AIDS a playing thing. it is a disease which we should strife to while it out. yes pipo have become rich because of AIDS but we should not forget however comfortable we may be that KK commissioned us to fight and concur AIDS not playing with it.

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  5. I thought I was alone in this hiv thing but when i visited the clinic , oomg a lot of people are hiv positive

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  6. At which university is Samson Tembo a professor? It’s certainly not UNZA or CBU. I have never heard of this professor although I have spent nearly forty years of my life as a university don in Zambia.

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  7. With the women in Zambia killing men over money, property…awe good luck……..not so long ago LT published and article that 8700 divorces in Lusaka alone were granted within a space of 9 months…what the hell are you looking for…..Single for life

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  8. At least he is honest l. We hope he will be safe. When will the president lead by example and carry out a test on live TV

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  9. My wife and I are HIV positive, we both lost our spouses 17 years ago, and have a health daughter who is now 8 years a pride to both of us, we never breast feed her as advised by the medical authorities, she is HIV negative. Our families are very supportive in our living with HIV including my workmates. At my workplace we joke freely about HIV may because our company has a good policy on workers living with HIV.

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  10. This marriage is not based on true love and companionship. It is based on the fact that they are both HIV Positive. I have nothing against people living with HIV/AIDS. But I think there are other more important things to consider before making a decision to marry someone. e.g personality, hobbies/interests, temperament, and ability for them to relate to each other as friends.

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  11. True indeed we have lived with HIV/AIDS for decades and it is surprising that malaria which affects so many people gets little attention, or no attention at all. Malaria kills in days of getting it if not treated, HIV/AIDS kills in 20 years or so after being infected with it. So why the stigma? Most cancers today could be AIDS related but they don’t get the same attention as HIV/AIDS. In the west and other developed countries, HIV/AIDS is not seen on billboards or posters. People just gone on with their lives.

    WE ALL HAVE HIV – WE ARE EITHER POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE – STOP THE STIGMA

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  12. kabwalala ndiwe galu.if not infected then you are affected. let the wrath of that disease strike one of your family members.

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  13. This story has an empowering ,endearing message of resillience and purpose. I dont know that it makes one proud given its medical axis and notoriety. Much as i commend the new (infected) loving couple for impending trip to the alter i believe their message would be much more pointed and stronger if presented in real context rather than seeking the “covers” of hashtag annonymity. Come with your faces so people can be awed and inspired by your progress and reduce stigma. As it is you are just another couple knocking each others brains out till death do you part.

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  14. What I have observed is that people who have publicly come out that they are HIV positive and are married live a happy positive life than those who have not declared publicly.

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