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Esther Phiri returns to the ring after wrong HIV positive test forced her to retire

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Esther Phiri

Esther Phiri

Boxer Esther Phiri says she has decided to come out of retirment and continue with her career.
The light welterweight IBO/WIBA world champion hung up her gloves unceremoniously shortly after a knock-out victory over Zimbabwe’s Monalisa Sibanda at Mulungushi International Conference centre in February 2012.
Esther, who had a nine-year successful boxing career before retiring, said she was forced to hang up her gloves after false medical reports about her.
However, Esther has rescinded her decision and has renewed her boxing licence after discovering that she is actually fit to fight again.
In an interview, Esther revealed how reports of her being HIV positive broke her fighting spirit before she realised that haters fabricated lies to end her career.
“I retired from boxing because of claims from medical experts, who examine us before fights, that I was sick. I was told that the doctors had diagnosed me with breast cancer and I was also told that I was HIV positive,” Esther said. “I remember at that time I was expected to fight Monalisa. What was strange is that I was never given or shown the results of the medical examinations. So I asked Anthony Mwamba to explain to me what was going on but it’s like he also didn’t know. After the fight, I was called by Anthony and he told me that I was needed at the hospital. Again I was not given the results but I was just told by word of mouth that my results were bad.”
She said she was told that she had been found to be HIV positive and could not continue fighting.
“For me, I felt that was a serious turning point in my career and I needed to change my focus and know how I would start taking care of myself. I said, ‘if I am HIV positive please tell me so that I know’. This doctor just told me that, ‘everything is fine because your blood is very strong and it is fighting back’. I insisted to be shown the results. I told them, ‘I will stop boxing but you need to put me on medication’, but they said, ‘we will call you’,” Esther said. “When we went back, they took my blood samples three times but on all occasions they never gave me the results. I started complaining to my coach and told him that I was going to resign. That is how I announced my resignation out of frustration.”
Esther, who is Road Development Agency (RDA) board chairman Willie Nsanda’s wife, said her family supported her throughout the difficult period.
“My husband has been very kind and supportive. I was very worried about this. As you know issues of HIV and AIDS and relationships can be very sensitive sometimes. But he encouraged me all the time and in fact he is the one who advised me to go and do independent HIV tests. I told him that I was not happy with the way I quit my career after so many years,” she explained.
Esther said after conducting tests at four different hospitals, she tested negative for both HIV and breast cancer.
“I went to UNZA clinic. My results came out negative. I went to Matero clinic and the results were still negative. I went to two other hospitals and the results were the same. Last month I called Anthony and asked him to accompany me to the hospital where we repeated the test in his presence and the results were negative. Even hepatitis test was negative. That is how I told my coach to renew my boxing licence,” she said.
During the interview, Esther produced transcripts of her HIV test results and challenged anyone doubting her status to inquire at the named VCT centres.
“Here are my results from all the hospitals and clinics I went to. You are free to get copies and check if they are genuine or fake.

Courtesy of  The Post


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