| Oct 11, 2017
One Woman's Journey from Denial to Acceptance
By Dr. Pasquine Ogunsanya | Executive Director
Three years ago, Betty became dangerously sick. A rash covered her arms and legs, and a fever and staggering pain made it impossible to leave the house. Her husband had died just a year before from HIV – but fearing the stigma that accompanies such a diagnosis, Betty refused to believe she had contracted the virus.
“I kept telling my uncle: I’m fine. I’m fine,” Betty said. “I didn’t want to go to the hospital, because I heard they treat you terribly there. And I didn’t want anyone to see me, because they would think of me in a different way.”
Betty’s refusal to see a doctor led to a steep decline in her health. Fearing that she was HIV-positive, Betty's uncle told her about Alive Medical Services (AMS), assuring his niece that it was close to home, confidential, and offered quality care. Betty finally agreed to go, and her uncle was right: she was HIV-positive. That day, AMS immediately enrolled Betty in care.
Not too long after her initial visit, Betty stopped showing up at the clinic. AMS community health workers came to Betty’s home to figure out what happened to her, encouraging Betty to return to the clinic and continue taking her anti-retroviral drugs.
“I cried and cried and cried,” Betty said. “But the counsellors said: don’t cry. You still have life, your children, and a lot to live for.”
With encouragement from the counsellors and nurses, Betty began taking her medication. She started to eat again. And in time, she was recognizable as the person she once was. She now visits AMS regularly for her check-ups, treatment, and counselling – and a few days ago, she attended Caregivers’ Day, an event at the clinic that aimed to help parents and guardians care for their HIV-positive children.
Nothing AMS does would be possible without the support of partners like you. Your generosity helped us meet our target goal for this project, something we could never have done alone. You've helped our counsellors listen to patients, providing support and guidance for the most desperate situations. You've boosted our clinicians capacity to educate mothers, fathers, and guardians, helping them understand how to better care for their HIV-positive children. And, your you've enabled our clinic to give new life to women like Betty, helping them start over and rebuild after the trauma of diagnosis. While we will continue to raise money for our clinic through separate Global Giving projects, we are so appreciative of your compassion throughout this project's lifespan. Thank you for everything you helped us achieve – we speak for countless clients when we say: we are so grateful for your support.
“Today, I am okay,” Betty said. “I’m feeling strong, and I’m feeling healthy. For AMS, I am very grateful.”