Fiona made a stand that HIV ends with her and was bold enough to disclose her HIV status to her long-term partner who is HIV negative. The couple has maintained their well-being and are raising their children under the Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission (EMTCT) program at Alive Medical Services. It is uncommon to discover HIV-negative men who stand by and support their HIV-positive partners, but many women will continue to live with their HIV-positive partners. Disclosure sometimes results in violence and occasionally ends in divorce.
In 2012, *Fiona, now 35, discovered she had HIV during her final antenatal appointment for her first pregnancy. The news left her devastated and in denial.
“I was 36 weeks pregnant and didn’t want to ruin the mood of becoming a first-time mother which made me ignore the importance of medication, especially during that time.”
Since Fiona was a first-time mother, she assumed that her frequent bouts of sickness while nursing were a sign of postpartum depression.
“When I went to the clinic to test, I told the doctor to test for anything since I couldn’t explain the pain, they decided to first do an HIV test. The test came out positive, which I already knew.”
The doctor asked Fiona where she obtained her medication. Fiona stared at the doctor, unconcerned, and told him she already knew her condition but wasn't taking any medication.
At Alive Medical Services, Fiona was advised to cease breastfeeding to protect her child because of how high her viral load had become. Unfortunately, Fiona lost her child and fell into a deep sadness and almost gave up on life and love.
With the help of Alive Medical Services and the facility's Assisted Partner Notification (APN) program, Fiona was able to find love again while receiving care. The counsellors helped her learn more about her condition.
“I am still shocked up to this day that my spouse chose to love me. He doesn’t look at me in judgment to my past; he is supportive, loving, and exceptional. The best thing I will give to him is a happy and healthy family. He met me while I was in a lot of sorrow and sadness; you can’t be diagnosed with HIV and lose a baby at the same time and remain normal. We have had all the counselling sessions together and we are adhering to them as he is taking PrEP because I want him to stay negative!”
The love of her husband was Fiona’s strength, and it quickly washed away the sadness in her heart. This love allows the two to continue to live together harmoniously.
“Last year, we received the exciting news that we were going to have a baby. It didn’t matter to us whether it was a girl or boy; the thing was that it was going to be a baby and I was ready to do the right thing this time. I took it as a second chance because I was getting older as well. Our little one is here and Alive Medical Services is here with us to make things right.”
Fiona lauds Alive Medical Services for bringing the EMTCT program to her vulnerable community because it has enabled women like her to give birth to children who are free from HIV.
The various forms of support provided by friends, donors, and well-wishers provide Fiona and other women living with HIV with free comprehensive care, treatment, and other supportive HIV services. Since supporting the EMTCT program in 2013, Alive Medical Services has not recorded any HIV-positive births from women receiving care. We never stop celebrating the EMTCT program's accomplishments.