Solomon Mthana, a 50-year-old South African man, experienced severe mental and emotional trauma due to a misdiagnosis of HIV.

His ordeal began in March when he visited Settlers Hospital in Makhanda for surgery to remove a lump from his head.

As part of the pre-surgical procedures, doctors conducted blood tests and a rapid HIV test, which mistakenly indicated he was HIV-positive.

Consequently, Mthana received counselling and began ARV treatment. The medication’s side effects were intense, causing him to suffer from constant vomiting, nausea, and extreme fatigue.

Mthana shared with Sowetan that the initial two weeks on ARVs were particularly challenging, exacerbating his emotional and mental distress.

However, over a month later, in April, the hospital’s lab returned negative HIV test results, revealing the initial diagnosis was incorrect.

Reflecting on the experience, Mthana recalled suspecting something was amiss when doctors delivered the news, noting that the nurses’ unusually kind behavior and immediate counselling raised his suspicions.

This misdiagnosis and the ensuing treatment period were a harrowing emotional roller-coaster for Mthana and his family.

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