I heard about MAMA+ center but I knew nothing about it before coming to "Doctors to children" organization. And I realize that this center is the only place, the only home you can go when you diagnosed with HIV and your life is ruined.
Imagine, you are a young woman, pregnant and left by your boyfriend. And accidentally you were diagnosed with HIV... What you should do? Where you should go? Who would you tell about your diagnose? Usually young women think their life is over and the only thing they can do is to abandon the child and leave him in orphanage. It is because medication from HIV is very expensive, because HIV means no job, no husband, no family, no life... In the world and in Russia particularly there still exist strong ban of people living with HIV, fear and stigma. Person HIV + is still abandoned by government and community. Imagine that situation when you have a baby... In other hand there are centers like MAMA+ for women HIV positive where they can get support and care, where they can be understands and helped.
In St.Petersburg there are several centers MAMA+ under care of "Doctors to children" organization. Its unique place for those who were abandoned and turned out in difficult life situation. MAMA+ has psychologists, social workers, qualified volunteers and facilities like kindergarden and social dormitory. Women can attend HIV school for mothers and learn how to take care of a baby being HIV+. The major thing of these groups is to help woman understand that she can be a mother no matter of her diagnose. To abandon the child and leave him in orphanage is not the right way. Its very important especially for Russia.
Nowadays MAMA+ centers work together with maternity welfare centeres in policlinics and hospitals to identify HIV+ women in difficult life situations and help them.
This experience is successfully replicated in another big city like Ekaterinburg.
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