Iron Man

Malawi

My name is Iron Man and I am the last-born of three children, born in 1989. I discovered that I am HIV positive in 2005 when I was still a teenager and honestly it was very difficult for me to comprehend this and to believe that I really have HIV. Luckily there were people who encouraged and motivated me and gave me the space I needed to talk about my diagnosis. With that support, I was able to accept it and I can honestly say that today I am living positively, I am stable on my treatment and I am healthy.

COVID-19 has changed so much about my daily life, negatively impacting my business, raising prices and affecting how people travel and shop. I used to have customers from different areas but when it was announced that COVID-19 is dangerous people stopped coming to the market. They were afraid the police would arrest them for moving around. This meant that we could sell our fresh produce and it rotted, costing us our income. Schools have been closed for a long time and my young sister fell pregnant because she wasn’t attending school and had time to fool around with boys. My brother has also been impacted by COVID-19 because the company he worked at had to stop production due to the pandemic and he lost his job.

The pandemic has limited our access to healthcare, reducing time spent with healthcare workers because they are trying to get you in and out as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of exposure. Doctors that used to take time to motivate us to look after our health are now busy with COVID-19 or afraid to catch it. COVID-19 has changed things completely.