The story of Sergio Mathavel - Re-constructing the future
Re-Constructing the Future: The Story of Sergio Mathavel
When the TCE Field Officer first visited the house of Sérgio Mathavel, the 37-year old constructor from Manhiça, Maputo Province, could not even open the door: his feet were too weak to stand on. “At that time, I had completely given up on my life,” explains Sérgio now, over a year after the incident. “They had been rude to me in the hospital so I had decided that I would never go back and that I would never start the treatment.”
Sérgio Mathavel had found out in 2004 that he is HIV-positive. Unlike his wife who was also tested positive, he didn’t start the antiretroviral treatment at the time because he felt completely healthy. Time went by and Sérgio continued his life as usual, traveling from one construction site to another and gradually building his house for his wife and two children. It was only several years after that he started feeling sick. Gradually, Sérgio felt his strengths withering away until, one day, he had to stop working altogether. When the Field Officer first came to visit the family, Sérgio had been unemployed for over a year.
“The Field Officer came to my bedside and saw the condition in which I was,” he recalls. “Instead of judging me, she started speaking of the importance of taking the medicine and not giving up on life. I listened to her but didn’t first say anything. In fact, she had to visit us various times until I started responding to her. When she told that she would even accompany me to the hospital to ensure that they register me and give the treatment, I began changing my mind.”
Sérgio has now been under treatment for over a year. His strengths have come back quickly and he is again working in the construction industry. His wife and his friend, both engaged by the Field Officer in Sérgio’s personal support team, the TRIO, make sure he doesn’t skip a day of his treatment.
“I am quite sure I would not be here to tell my story today if the Field Officer didn’t pass by our house that day,” Sérgio reveals. “She made me see how important it would be to keep on fighting.”
Today, Sérgio speaks openly about his disease and encourages others to do so as well. “After all, HIV is very common today. No one should feel scared or ashamed because of it. Especially, if it stops them from going to the hospital, adhering to treatment, or knowing how to avoid spreading it.”
Suddenly, his future seems to have filled with projects. “My idea is to build a wall around my house. I will also be starting the construction of a bakery soon. I am hoping to earn enough money with it to buy a car!” he laughs, visibly excited about his future plans.