We need the Global Fund: Our stories

We need the Global Fund: Our stories

For GFAN members’ and partners’ 5th Replenishment campaigning, we have produced four stories featuring members of our GFAN Speakers Bureau.

Each of them, either through video or photo, have shared their personal experience about how Global Fund investments in HIV, tuberculosis and malaria programs have impacted their life, their families and their communities – these are the lives saved by the Global Fund.

Their message is clear: we need the Global Fund now to save lives today, because the end the epidemics is within our reach.

We encourage anyone interested in advocating for the Global Fund to use these multimedia tools for your online and in-person campaigning – they are free for everyone.

Want to use any of the following videos or photos for your own Global Fund campaign? Download our users guide to learn more.

Clara Banya, Malawi

Watch Clara’s story

Clara was 25 years old and working in Voluntary Testing and Counselling for HIV at a local hospital when she noticed she was having similar symptoms as her patients. However, at the time, while she knew she had HIV, it was difficult to get a CD4 count. Clara travelled 400km to get the test: her CD4 count was 32 (from a healthy range of 500-1500) and she had progressed to AIDS.

With the support of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Clara has returned to full health – now her viral load is undetectable. Clara’s 12-year old daughter also has HIV, but is thriving. Prevention of mother-to-child transmission is now available to all pregnant women with HIV in Malawi – thanks to the Global Fund’s support, Clara’s second child was born HIV negative.

Clara now coordinates national activities for women living with HIV. She offers technical advice to organizations, encourages testing, combats stigma and discrimination and speaks publicly about HIV in Malawi.

Clara is clear: “I am the living example of what the Global Fund has achieved over the years.” Still, she warns that donors need to keep investing in the Global Fund because “there is an opportunity that we can end this epidemic.”

Louie Zepeda-Teng, Philippines

Watch Louie’s story

Louie was diagnosed at age 24 with tuberculosis (TB) meningitis (tuberculosis in the brain). At the time, she had been planning to take her board exam to become an architect and to start her career. Instead, she found herself going through years of treatment and its debilitating side effects for TB and then multi drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). TB drugs can cause severe side-effects; during her difficult treatment, she lost her vision permanently.

When she discovered that normal TB drugs did not work for her, Louie was able to get a proper diagnosis for her MDR-TB and full, free treatment at a clinic funded by The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Now Louie is involved in national and international disability advocacy. In her TB patient treatment advocacy work, Louie promotes patient empowerment and universal access to treatment including those with disability. She is also married and a mother.

Louie has a message: ending TB is within our reach, but to do this “we need to keep investing in Global Fund.”

Anton Basenko, Ukraine

View Anton’s life through photos

Anton was 14 when he started using drugs and 16 when he began injecting himself. Anton’s life comprised of health issues and regular conflicts with law enforcement and he had no job, home or family; he describes himself at this time as an “ordinary street junkie”.

Over the 11 years he used drugs, he tried to stop many times, but nothing worked until he started opioid substitution therapy as a client of a harm reduction program. In 2003, thanks to the introduction of these Global Fund programs, he found out he had HIV and hepatitis C and started anti-retroviral therapy (ART). Then in 2004, Anton was one of the first patients in Ukraine of Global Fund-financed opioid substitution therapy. It was then his life turned around.

Now Anton coordinates national harm reduction projects and participates in consultations, conferences, working groups and campaigns at national, regional and international levels. His organization runs the country’s Global Fund-financed harm reduction programs.

Anton says that “only thanks to the support of the Global Fund, substitution therapy came into my life and turned it upside down. I started antiretroviral treatment in time and I’m still alive. I’m one of 17 million lives saved by the Global Fund.” For Anton, he’s seen first-hand why the Global Fund needs to continue to fight against a resurgence of the epidemic in Eastern Europe.

Loyce Maturu, Zimbabwe

View Loyce’s life through photos

Loyce is 24 years old and was born with HIV. Before the age of 10, she lost both her parents and her brother. Loyce had a difficult time growing up with HIV and accepting her status: she faced stigma and verbal abuse from some of her relatives, nearly committed suicide and missed school often due to ill health.

Loyce didn’t start receiving treatment until she contracted tuberculosis (TB) when she was 12 years old; during that time Loyce had to manage both TB and HIV treatment for the first time. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria supported her tuberculosis treatment and recovery.

Since 2009, Loyce has been working as a peer counsellor and advocacy officer on issues around treatment, care and support including HIV-related stigma and discrimination for children, adolescents and young people living with HIV; the campaigns she works have been rolled out in schools and communities throughout Zimbabwe. Loyce also works in international HIV youth advocacy.

Loyce thanks the Global Fund for saving her life. Now, with her good health, she can take on life’s challenges, but she asks donors to continue to support the Global Fund as “this will help in saving lives of people like me”.