Thriving in Care

I am Mary*. I got to know about my HIV status at a PMTCT clinic five years ago. I could not believe it. I engaged the nurse in a long argument. I knew I would die immediately after testing positive.I was told about the HIV clinic but due to stigma, I did not access care until I got tuberculosis (TB).

One day a neighbor of ours talked to me about how she got help. I went for the idea and immediately started TB treatment. During this time I gave birth to my 5th born baby, unfortunately my infant son was also HIV positive. My son and I both enrolled in HIV care. These events made me disclose my status to my husband. He took the testing idea positively and after also testing HIV positive, he was enrolled a few weeks later. Now the three of us are living positively.

We are the antiretroviral treatment and doing well. My husband made a living pushing a water handcart and this was our means of survival. This worried me so much as he was HIV positive and needed rest. He started volunteering with a study as a community mobilizer and joined the Patient Advisory andPatient Support Group at FACES. One thing that helped us is that we did not blame one another.Fortunately I was called by the FACES Program to give HIV/AIDS health talks to women at the PMTCT clinic as a Peer Educator. I prayed so hard to get the confidence and the wisdom to do this, especially since I never completed secondary school. The percentage of pregnant mothers accessing HIV testing services increased tremendously. I later landed a job at FACES as a lay health care worker. I was so excited to join the happy family as staff. 

*Names have been changed to protect our clients’ privacy.