Congo - Thierry Maba

Thierry Maba had a plan. It was 1991 and he would leave his native Congo to pursue his education in Algeria. A compulsory blood test was a standard part of the admissions procedure and Thierry didn’t think anything of it. But when the test revealed that he was HIV-positive, the university cancelled his scholarship and suddenly, at 19 years old, Thierry no longer had a plan.

Rejected by friends and family, without any information about the disease, and lacking access to medical services, Thierry fell into despair. It wasn’t until eleven years later, in 2002, that Thierry was finally able to access medical treatment. Under the care of a health center in Pointe Noire, Congo’s second-largest city, Thierry started the antiretroviral treatment that would change his life.

As his health began to improve, so too did Thierry’s self-esteem and his enthusiasm for life. “The doctor told me that these days, with treatment, I could live as long as someone without HIV”. Married to an HIV-positive woman, Thierry is father to two healthy, HIV-negative daughters.

Today, Thierry serves as the advocacy officer for RENAPC, the Congolese association of people living with HIV. He says, “there is hope for the future of people living with HIV, thanks to medications”. But, he cautions, there remains work to be done. Reaching the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets will require more commitment and concrete action. “We must eliminate the barriers of stigma and discrimination so that people living with HIV can access health services.”

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For Additional Information or to Request Interviews, Please contact:
Beatrice Bernescut

Consultant

WHO Regional Office for Africa

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OKA Sakuya

Communications Manager (a.i)
WHO Regional Office for Africa
Tel: +242 06 508 1009
Email: okas [at] who.int