Roselyn Rufu* is a 38-year-old mother of three. She tested positive to HIV and was commenced on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in 2021. When she visited the health facility for her routine cervical cancer screening, she was told that she had pre cancer lesions.
“When I went to my routine cervical cancer screening in November 2021 at Kwekwe General Hospital, my results showed that there were changes to my cervix which could lead to cancer. I was devastated, the thought of having cervical cancer killed me.”
“I recalled many scary stories that I heard from the community where people said cervical cancer treatment kills. I decided to consult renowned traditional healers in our area, I also consulted prophets who assured me that I was going to be in good health as long as I followed their instructions.” Roselyn explained.”
As Roselyn tried other options, the cervical cancer nurse continued to engage her to reconsider treatment of cervical precancer lesions. For the next two months, the USAID/ZHI outreach worker visited her three times trying to convince her to get treatment.
“The cervical cancer nurse and outreach worker did not give up on me even after I made it clear that I was pursuing other options. I later agreed to get VIAC treatment, though with lots of fear.”
Roselyn had a post treatment follow up six months after her VIAC treatment and she screened VIAC negative.
“I was shocked to hear that the precancer lesions had been successfully treated as was confirmed by the negative repeat screen.” Said Roselyn with joy.
“My ordeal made me a committed advocate for cervical cancer prevention, screening, and treatment. We should make all efforts to increase awareness raising efforts on cervical cancer to dispel myths surrounding treatment.”
The USAID/ZHI Accelerated, and Comprehensive HIV Care and Treatment for Epidemic Control in Zimbabwe (ACCE) cervical cancer program managed to reach 14 050 women on antiretroviral therapy (ART) aged 25-49 with cervical cancer screening services from October 2021 to January 2022. Out of these, 493 screened positive, and all of them accessed treatment.