I became pregnant in July 2005. The nurses at the antenatal clinic asked me to go for an HIV test. I didn’t hesitate and agreed to the test. I was confident that I would be HIV negative. I cried when I learned the results; I found out I was HIV positive. I wasn’t convinced that the result was correct. I went back home very sad. My husband asked me what the problem was and I could not find the words to explain myself; I knew he was the one who infected me.
Since I wasn’t satisfied with my result, the following day I went back to the voluntary counseling centre (VCT) for testing. Unfortunately, the result was still positive. I was counseled and told how I could live positively with the virus. The counselor referred me to the Patient Support Centre (PSC) for HIV care and treatment. I did not go.
Three months after giving birth, I decided to go to Mbita Health Clinic for HIV care at the PSC. I have been in care for two years now. It took a long time to convince my husband to go to the VCT for testing. He finally did and he was HIV positive. After a while he became sick, he was vomiting and had diarrhea. I urged him to go for care and he agreed to come.
In June 2006, FACES began to support the Ministry of Health (MOH) at Mbita. They introduced some good activities such as health talks so that we were taught about everything related to HIV/AIDS and adherence counseling to help us stick to our medication. They employed more staff to ease the work.
I am now receiving HIV care with my husband and my child. I’m on antiretroviral treatment (ARVs). My husband and child are on opportunistic infection prevention medicine, they don’t need ARVs yet. What I have realized is that when people say “if you are HIV positive you are going to die” it is not true. In HIV care, you can live positively for a long time.
We have joined support groups. We discuss problems that we are facing. Personally, I’m out preaching this gospel to the community and requesting my community to go for HIV testing. If they know their status, they can begin care. I also tell people that HIV treatment is free at Mbita and that there is ARV treatment for our children.
I am very happy with the services and may God help us continue with the services successfully until we overcome this problem.
Note: All names have been changed.