Youth Fighting HIV: A Deadly Challenge

11-year-old Mphilenhle* was living with HIV in a remote part of KwaZulu-Natal.

Sadly, even though she was receiving treatment, the severity of her disease had gone unchecked.

Earlier this year, by the time we were alerted to her dangerously high viral load
(the amount of virus in her bloodstream), it was already too late. The day we picked up Mphilenhle’s file
to assess her clinical care and address her psychosocial needs, was the day she tragically passed away.

The news of her death was shattering.

The terrifying reality is, HIV continues to claim
almost four thousand precious young lives every year.

South Africa has come a long way and has one of the largest HIV treatment programmes in the world, but HIV remains the leading cause of death in children under 15 years. This is a stark reminder that our future leaders are still vulnerable, and their fragile lives depend on skilled healthcare workers and committed caregivers to enable access to life-saving treatment.

For the past 20 years, CHIVA Africa has been supporting the healthcare system in KwaZulu-Natal through case-based mentorship, empowering healthcare workers, and (more recently) youth participation programmes. We are continuously looking for ways to strengthen our relationships with all government departments and community structures so that we can work together for the greater good.

With the invaluable support of our amazing sponsors, donors, and passionate volunteers, we are helping innocent children and adolescents impacted by HIV lead happy, healthy lives, and preventing HIV from becoming a death sentence.

*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the child.