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!