LUSAKA, Zambia (BP)--No one in the clinic's waiting room is smiling -- except Anna Banda.
She chats happily with people at the Circle of Hope clinic on the outskirts of Lusaka, Zambia. There are few -- if any -- empty seats as they wait to be tested and treated for AIDS.
One mother leaves the clinic carrying bottles of medication in one hand and an infant in her other arm. A trash can overflows with empty medication boxes people have discarded before leaving the facility.
Banda knows all too well the pain these people are feeling.
Nearly six years ago, Banda was dying of AIDS. She shows a photograph of herself during her darkest days. In the picture she is not smiling. She sits on a bed with her shoulders slumped, staring blankly into the camera. She appears frail, sad and near death.
At that stage of the disease, many people die within days or months -- maybe a year if they are lucky. According to UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) statistics, AIDS claims nearly 4,000 lives in sub-Saharan Africa every day.
As Banda's immune system began to shut down, she often felt weak, nauseated and unable to keep food down -- on the edge of becoming another AIDS statistic.
Then she began to take life-saving medication -- ART (antiretroviral therapy) -- and found encouragement at Circle of Hope clinic. A doctor put her on a strict regimen of medication each morning and evening. Read More