Like most mothers at AMS, when Kay* became pregnant her primary concern was the health and HIV status of her unborn child. “When I was pregnant, my main concern was if my baby would be free of HIV. Thankfully AMS doctors, nurses, and counsellors kept reassuring me that if I continue to take my medicine well and follow the advice given to me, my baby will be fine.”
Globally, over 90% of new HIV infections among infants and young children occur through mother-to-child transmission. This is why elimination of mother-to-child transmission (EMTCT) is a key global goal for achieving an HIV-free generation.
At AMS our dedication to clients’ needs and our commitment to providing accessible, comprehensive care is changing this statistic. From January to May 2016, the AMS EMTCT program has successfully supported women living with HIV to give birth to 156 healthy, HIV-free babies. This continues the program’s 100% success rate – since 2013 all babies born in AMS’ EMTCT program have been born HIV-free.
Thanks to the generous support of donors like you, we have been able to continue providing more women living with HIV with the quality HIV treatment, antenatal care, and comprehensive support services that they need to give birth to a thriving, HIV-free generation.
The success of the AMS EMTCT program is grounded in the thoughtful, loving care that we deliver to each woman, child, and family.
Kay was diagnosed HIV positive in 2011 and immediately enrolled in care and treatment at AMS. Once on treatment Kay’s health began to improve and she regained her strength. However, in 2013 when Kay became pregnant her excitement and joy was quickly overshadowed by concern for the health of her unborn child and fear that she would transmit HIV to her baby.
The constant support and encouragement of AMS staff and access to free, comprehensive HIV and antenatal care services allowed Kay to have a smooth and healthy pregnancy. “I was well cared for by AMS staff and enjoyed free services like ultrasound scans, laboratory check-ups, medication and their loving support. I faithfully followed what they told me, took all my medicine, attended antenatal care and when the time for delivery came I went to Nsambya Hospital for delivery. After delivery I came back to AMS where my baby and I continued to be followed up.”
With limited access to additional financial assistance or support, the free comprehensive services provided at AMS are crucial to supporting mothers like Kay during both pregnancy and the period following childbirth. “The food package I receive from AMS also was of great help to me to keep breast-feeding my baby.”
By enrolling in the AMS EMTCT program, Kay received top-quality physical and psychosocial support throughout her pregnancy and the first year of her baby’s life. This holistic care has made it possible for Kay and hundreds of mothers like her to achieve their dreams of giving birth to HIV-free babies.
“I stopped breastfeeding my baby at one year and he was tested again and found to be HIV negative and what a joyful moment that was. To me AMS is more than a medical center. They are like a family to me to whom I will forever be grateful and pray for to continue their service in being a blessing to others like me.”
Your support for the AMS EMTCT program enables us to continue working towards an HIV-free generation, by providing the free comprehensive services needed to support mothers and deliver healthy HIV-negative babies. From the entire AMS family – and the 156 HIV-negative babies born this year – thank you!
*Kay is not the woman’s real name, but was used to respect her privacy.
“Negative” is the single confirmation that all mothers living with HIV hope to hear when they bring their newborns in to get tested for HIV. At Alive Medical Services (AMS), we have been saying ‘negative’ a lot. In fact, since 2013, AMS has supported every woman enrolled in our EMTCT (elimination of mother-to-child transmission) program to give birth to HIV-free babies!
Alive Medical Services understands that in order to realize an HIV free generation, we must provide all women and families with the proper respect, love, and care to empower them to make healthy and informed decisions. AMS believes that every woman has the right to build the healthy family that she desires. AMS supports this vision by providing women with the information, care, treatment, and support that they need to give birth to HIV-free children.
As mothers continue to spread information in the community about these services, AMS has seen the demand continue to grow. In 2015 alone, AMS supported women living with HIV to give birth to 414 HIV-free babies.
Your support enables us to continue providing the staffing, medicine, and care that is needed to stand in solidarity with women living with HIV and work towards an HIV-free future!
Hope*, one of our AMS ambassador mothers recounted her journey to good health and giving birth to an HIV-free baby. Hope first arrived at AMS in 2011, when family members brought her to the clinic after she had fallen sick at her aunt’s home. Her family members knew about the free, quality care at AMS and trusted the clinic to care for the young women. After being tested at the clinic, Hope learned that she was HIV positive. Despite learning this difficult information, Hope immediately began working closely with AMS staff to make a smooth and holistic transition on to treatment. Within just a couple of weeks, she was placed on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and her health immediately began to improve.
However, despite regaining her strength and health, Hope was overcome by fear when she became pregnant two years later. Hope came to the clinic worried about her and her unborn child’s future, fearing that they would both die from HIV. However, the staff at AMS immediately consoled and assured her that with the proper care and treatment she could give birth to a healthy, HIV-free baby.
Hope followed all of her doctor’s advice and carefully adhered to her ART and other antenatal care medications, making sure that she did everything that she could to ensure that she would give birth to an HIV-free baby. When she delivered her baby boy in June 2014 she was rewarded with a happy and healthy baby. However, even after the baby’s birth, Hope knew that she needed to stick to her treatment plan to keep she and her new son healthy. She continued to follow her doctor’s medical plan for the newborn, following a breastfeeding plan and giving her son the recommended Nevirapine syrup, followed by septrine for the first year of his life. Throughout this process, Hope brought her son to the clinic where he received his three, scheduled HIV tests. After the third and final test, at one and a half years old, the baby boy was confirmed HIV negative!
With her son confirmed HIV-negative, Hope was ready to celebrate the accomplishment with her family and friends! When thinking about the bright future that awaits she and her young son, Hope says that she is grateful to God and AMS for the guidance, care, love, and support that she received along the way.
Now Hope is doing her part to spread education and ensure that more children are born HIV-free. Hope helps advise other HIV positive women about the importance of working closely with medical staff and adhering to their treatment plans in order to give birth to HIV-free babies.
When you support the AMS EMTCT (elimination of mother-to-child transmission) program you are supporting the dreams of women like Hope. Thank you for believing in our work and for investing in an HIV-free generation!
*Hope is not the woman’s real name, but was used to respect her privacy.
On 1st December Alive Medical Services (AMS) joined the global community to celebrate World AIDS Day. The theme this year, Getting to Zero, holds special significance for AMS. Since 2013 AMS has successfully eliminated mother-to-child transmission (EMTCT) among enrolled patients. This is an important success for the clinic and our community – and an important step towards realizing an HIV-free generation!
At AMS a strong EMTCT program means:
Zero babies born with HIV – all mothers enrolled in treatment at AMS have given birth to healthy, HIV-free babies
Zero stigma against pregnant women and mothers – all women are greeted with love and respect
These are globally recognized steps and part of UNAIDS ‘Fast-Track to end AIDS’ agenda. Eliminating the spread of HIV from mothers to babies is a key target for the Fast-Track agenda and for the UN’s Sustainable Development goal to end the AIDS epidemic.
The Stop the Spread of HIV from Mothers to Babies project is providing crucial support to the continuing success of AMS’ EMTCT program. AMS cares for more pregnant women and infants each year, with 104 negative babies discharged from AMS care in the first six months of 2015. AMS is working hard to meet this growing demand and ensure that all pregnant women get the support and care that they deserve. However, this requires an expanding perspective – to serve new clients and meet the demands of new challenges.
AMS’ EMTCT program is founded on a commitment to help all women and families recognize their right to build strong, healthy families. Like the rest of AMS’ services, this approach is based in the loving and dignified care that AMS provides to every person that comes to the clinic. In addition to our staff’s dedication, mother-to-mother support groups are making an important difference. HIV positive mothers who have completed the EMTCT program have become ambassadors within the community. These mothers share their knowledge, experience and vision with others in the community.
Veronica is one of AMS’ fearless EMTCT ambassadors. When Veronica first arrived at the clinic ten years ago she was sick and depleted. After being diagnosed with HIV and enrolling in treatment, Veronica harnessed her strength and courage to bring her son and husband to the clinic for testing – both of who tested positive. Heartbroken by her family’s sickness, Veronica used her enduring spirit to care for her family. A year later, after working closely with AMS staff and adhering to her treatment regime, Veronica gave birth to a healthy, HIV-free baby. Veronica went on to give birth to another healthy, HIV-free baby. Since being diagnosed, Veronica has worked with AMS staff to keep herself and her family healthy.
Now Veronica has become a beacon of light for her whole community, courageously sharing her own story to inspire neighbours to test and seek treatment.
“The message I would really love to give to anyone who is pregnant: I would recommend the person to run as fast as possible to [the] nearest health center to test for HIV and know their status. In case she realizes that she is positive, she would be advised to begin taking medicine as soon as possible.”
When you donate to Stop the Spread of HIV from Mothers to Babies, you help AMS to continue building a community of strong, healthy mothers and you support the dream of an HIV-free generation. Thank you from all of us!
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