Apr 13, 2021

DENISE'S STORY OF HOPE

It was December 2017 after Christmas when Denis and his family received the devastating news that changed their lives, forever. After Denis’s son was hospitalized, the 3-month-old baby was given several tests to determine the cause.

"I remember it like it was yesterday," Denis said, recalling the nervous nurse who came into the hospital room with results from the tests.

"Your son came out positive for HIV and Malaria, as parents you need to get tested too." said the nurse.

Denis was 30 years old by then living with his wife and a 3-month-old baby. The two parents had tests done as advised and the results were positive. The diagnosis was a wake-up call that they needed to change their lives. 

"It was just like a punch in the stomach," Denis narrates. " We didn’t know much about the virus and we thought, it was too late to live longer."

Denis, now at 33, did not believe that they had contracted HIV since they were all faithful to each other. Frightened as they waited in the hospital room, they immediately thought of their baby boy, who was to start treatment at his age for the rest of his life. 

The nurse assured them that irrespective of the fact that HIV infection rates were still increasing, antiretroviral ( ARV) medications work very well and saves lives and when people living with HIV (PLHIV) take them well and follow the doctors’ advice and instructions, they can live healthy lives. What once was thought as a death sentence can be treated. The nurse then referred them to Alive Medical Services for further assistance.

With so much confusion, disagreements, blames, Denis, and his wife separated after three months of treatment, leaving him and their son on their own. With the help of his mother, Denis along with health workers from Alive Medical Services, has been able to find treatment, care, and support combined with love and dignity.

Ever since Denis and his son were diagnosed three years ago, there's been incredible progress in their health and lives. New cocktails of HIV can keep patients healthy and work so well that patients who have access to the drugs can expect almost the same life expectancy as those uninfected.

"The stigma is still high," he said. "When I am working, I hear a lot of negative murmurs about HIV, but I have seen the possibilities of treatment and long life with HIV."

Denis knows that the medication they take is not a cure and that they will need to stay on a healthy path so that they get to see more of the future together. 

"Being diagnosed with HIV literally saved my life," said Denis. "I felt it was a second chance in life, I think the HIV virus made me stronger."


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Feb 13, 2021

NADYA TAKES A STAND TO STOP THE CYCLE OF HIV

 

Alive Medical Services Comprehensive Elimination of Mother To Child Transmission of HIV  package 

Through the specialized program for maternal and child health ensuring the birth of HIV-negative babies to HIV-positive mothers. AMS’ Comprehensive EMTCT package ensures early identification and timely intervention of high-risk mothers that include newly diagnosed HIV positive expectant mothers and virally unsuppressed expectant mothers living with HIV. These are intentionally followed up during antenatal care (ANC) and post-natal care (PNC).  The babies are then followed up until they are 18 months when they are discharged from the EID clinic. 

Early Infant Diagnosis clinic

Every Tuesday, AMS gives special attention to HIV positive mothers and their babies aged 0-2 years whereby there is the provision of care, support, and treatment to ensure that the baby turns out negative at the last antibody test. 

The clinic continues to offer immunization services, pre- and post-natal services to all expecting mothers irrespective of their HIV status. This year, 1,469 babies were immunized. 165 of those are fully immunized babies. The clinic also provides pre-and post-natal care services to both HIV positive and negative mothers. Other diseases immunized include tuberculosis, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, hepatitis B, pneumococcal pneumonia, and measles, among others.

Prenatal care clinic

The prenatal care clinic is held every Thursday for pregnant women to have access to ultrasound scan services by a sonographer and a full examination by a designated midwife and clinician. This clinic focuses on monitoring the viral load for HIV positive expectant mothers, client assessment, CD4 and ART refill to safeguard the birth of an HIV free and healthy child.

This year 410 women received ANC services; 570 women were provided with ultrasound scan services.

During these ANC services, there is also the provision of psychosocial support and health education sessions to the HIV positive expectant mothers on the acquisition and administering of the Nevirapine syrup to their babies as soon as they are born, as well as safe infant feeding practices and schedules for both PCR and anti-body tests.                                                               


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Feb 13, 2021

HOW A MOTHER SAVED HER CHILDREN FROM HIV

A MISTAKE NEVER STOPPED ME: PEACE’S STORY OF SAVING HER CHILDREN FROM HIV

Peace is a 30-year-old mother of three, two girls and one boy. Peace’s first born daughter aged 8 was born with HIV because she did not follow through with prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV. Fortunately, Peace learnt from her mistake and protected her other two children from the deadly epidemic.

In 2013, Peace became pregnant with her first child. As required by government that all pregnant mothers are tested for HIV , she went for antenatal care to a public health centre and tested positive for HIV. She was devasted, afraid and in denial! Peace was conselled by the health workers and referred to Alive Medical Services to start ART treatment to avoid transmitting the virus to her unborn baby. Unfortunately, she was confused and afraid and did not respond to the health workers' advice.

When I tested HIV positive, it took me one week to tell my spouse because I was afraid he would leave me all alone in my situation.” Peace was later followed up by a community health worker who always checked on the ANC mothers that tested HIV positive if they went to their clinics of referral. She was encouraged to go to the facility and start ART immediately before anything happens.

“At the health facility, I was given some blue tablets to swallow every day, but I threw them away and kept on lying to the health workers that I am taking them correctly as guided,” Peace explained.

Unfortunately because Peace did not take her ARVS, she gave birth to an HIV positive baby. she was devasted and regretted her action. With intensive counselling, Peace accepted the situation, took responsibility and began to take her medication for the sake of her life and her child. Because of adherence to her ARVS, Peace regained her health and became virally suppressed. Peace’s first borne is on ARVS, adhering to medication and healthy as well. Peace later gave birth to two other children and they are both HIV negative, because undetectable equals untransmittable ( U=U) !

At first the drugs would make me feel drunk and nauseated. I talked to the nurses and doctors and they advised me how to take the drugs. I am now okay and a testimony to all people. I thank the doctors of Alive Medical Services because if I had not adhered to their instructions again, my two children would also have contracted HIV.” Said Peace with a smile.

Today, the smiling Peace is full of praises just like her name Praise; of the Elimination of Mother to Child HIV Transmission (eMTCT) services at Alive Medical Services and very thankful to the health workers who have been helpful and supportive. She is a champion of eMTCT at Alive Medical Services because she has had more two children in AMS care, and they are healthy and HIV negative. Her husband is HIV negative which makes them a happy and healthy discordant couple.

Alive Medical Services and the community is grateful to all our donors and partners for the support that will enable us to have and HIV free generation!

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Thank you

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