“I guess I knew what the result was going to be because I’d seen the same thing happen to so many people in our community but it still came as a real shock to learn that I was HIV positive,” said 44-year-old Ntsonyama.
“All I could think of were my four children and how they would grow up without a father,” he said.
Like every other community in Lesotho, Morija, a town to the south of the capital Maseru, has been ravaged by HIV/AIDS. According to the latest estimates, around 22 percent of adults across Lesotho are infected – the third highest prevalence rate in the world.
Along with 1,000 other HIV positive people around Morija, Ntsonyama now receives both anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) and food assistance under a joint project, involving the government, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF ) and WFP.
While the drugs have been primarily responsible for getting Ntsonyama back on his feet, food assistance has played a crucial supporting role.
Not only does the WFP ration provide him with the nutrition needed to take the ARVs but it also acts as a powerful incentive for him to return to Scott Hospital to get his next essential dose of drugs.
“The drugs saved my life but the food also made a huge difference – not just to me but to my whole family,” said Ntsonyama.
Knowing that his family will have enough to eat has removed a heavy burden from Ntsonyama’s shoulders and given him a real psychological boost.