Joel & Beatrice: Courage and Support
Joel and his wife, Beatrice*, are a discordant couple, meaning they have different HIV statuses. He is negative while Beatrice is positive. In addition to visiting the health clinic for Beatrice’s HIV care, they also attend a biweekly FACES support group together with other discordant couples. Beyond social support, the couples also receive advice about safe sex, planning for a healthy family, and how to best support the care and adherence of an HIV-positive partner.
Joel reports that he and Beatrice have taken great care to follow through on all aspects of the support group’s advice. After giving birth to an HIV-negative child, Beatrice now uses the Depo shot for family planning and Joel uses condoms. As a support partner, Joel refers to himself as “the treatment buddy” and frequently travels to the facility to bring his wife to her appointments and pick up her HIV medications, which he also reminds her daily to take.
Joel credits the FACES support group with enabling him and his wife to continue living normal and healthy lives. He continues to farm and she manages the sales of the vegetables he produces. Their HIV-negative child remains healthy. “I give many thanks to that support group,” says Joel. “They have given us great courage in our marriage.”
*Names have been changed to protect our clients’ privacy.