portrait of Abisaih, Simiso and More Blessing

"We were severely stigmatised by our community. No one wanted us near them and people would laugh at us."
- Simiso Blessing (above, middle) with husband Abisaih and daughter More

portrait of Florence, who is living with HIV in Zimbabwe

"My church has helped me in some ways, like helping me in the fields and in the home... If I can only be assisted to get treatment, also to be helped to find a way to support my family."
- Florence, aged 32, a married woman living with HIV

portrait of Christopher, a pastor in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe

"Although I am a pastor, I have not been helped much by my church. Spiritual support is there for me, but this is not enough on its own."
- Christohper, aged 30, an Apostolic pastor, a father and a widower

portrait of Jessina, a widow living with HIV in Zimbabwe

"My main problem now is shelter. The government is turning a blind eye on people like me. I also don't get any support from my church. I must beg for assistance because I must care for my six children."
- Jessina, aged 59, a widow living with HIV

portrait of Isaac and Esmay, Zimbabwe

"As a pastor, there is an expectation from the members of my church that I should be able to do something for them when they need help. But prayer alone is not enough. These people need medical assistance."
- Isaac, aged 59, an Apostolic pastor, with his wife Esmay, aged 35

portrait of Veronica and Gibson in Hatcliffe, Zimbabwe

"I do get support sometimes from my church such as food, soap, etc. When I was bedridden, the church helped me a lot."
- Gibson, pictured with his wife Veronica, both aged 49 and living with HIV

portrait of Nesbert Murewa, Zimbabwe

"The problem with people from rural areas ... is a lack of education. Most, including our church leaders, are illiterate. When they become ill, our people believe the problem is caused by an evil spirit."
- Nesbert, aged 26, was a child head of household at the age of 16, when his father, who was HIV-positive, became too ill to care for his family

Read their stories in full - and more stories from Zimbabwe, Yemen and El Salvador - in Prayer alone is not enough (1.86MB PDF)

Photos © James Matarazzo/Progressio

Return to HIV and faith page