A Zimbabwean veteran journalist and HIV advocate Cathrine Murombedzi has warned people living with HIV to desist from detoxing as it detrimental to their health.
Murombedzi has been living openly with HIV for more than a decade and she has been doing a lot of advocacy work surrounding the HIV story and educating the society about the virus.
Speaking to journalists during an online dialogue on covering the HIV story, Murombedzi warned everyone who is on a lifelong treatment to desist from detoxing as it flushes out the optimum drug level maintained by their bodies.
“So that is the story that you should tell everyone on long life treatment; be it cancer, hypertension or HIV that you do not detox,” she said.
Murombedzi urged journalists to amplify their voices on telling the HIV story as she shared her inspirational story on living with HIV from the day she tested positive up to now.
She urged people to get tested regularly to avoid the spread of the virus.
“The virus is passed mostly by people who do not know their status because if one knows their status and they take their treatment religiously it means they are virally suppressed. They cannot pass the virus to the next person, that is why it is important for us to keep telling the HIV status.
“I urge you to know your status. Get tested annually,” she said.
However, Murombedzi expressed her fears over her other health conditions that may lead to renal failure due to interaction of drugs in her body.
“As a journalist living with HIV with two other conditions, I am diabetic and I am also hypertensive, taking all the two treatments.
“These two conditions came to be after my HIV status in 2008. I do not know if it was because of my status that I became hypertensive because I was worried and had concerns.
“To date, I still have concerns that I am on three lifelong treatments. I am scared of drug interaction. Renal failure is one of the killers of people who are on long life treatment such as me.
“I have faith that I won’t be overloaded with treatment and I do not take any supplements because it is detrimental to my health,” she added.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe lost 20 000 lives to AIDS related illnesses in 2021 whilst about 23 000 people got infected with HIV during the same year.
On another disturbing note, 6 333 young pregnant women were diagnosed with HIV posing a possible risk of transmission to the unborn babies.