27-year-old Faridah was born HIV-positive, and her dream is to reduce the spread of HIV in her family.
“I’ve been taking medications my entire life. At first I used to take two pills a day but now I take once a day,” says Faridah.
Growing up Faridah lost her mother at the age of 5 which made her go through a rebellious stage as a young child where she used to refuse to take her medications. Faridah used to lie to her maternal aunt that she was taking the medicine, yet she would find ways of keeping it under her tongue and throwing it away, this is because she didn’t know why she was taking the medication.
“I was just told I have sirimu (which means AIDS in our local language); however, I didn’t know how people contracted it, my aunt just said I will heal if I take this medication as she instructed me, and I was told I would be okay. She sometimes told me that I will have big buttocks in the name of convincing me to take the medicine and told me all sorts of components in it. The fact that I didn’t have body pains anywhere and I wasn’t growing fat either, I thought I had healed a long time ago which made me throw away the medication.”
Following the loss of her mother, her aunt looked after her and made sure she was taking her medication; however, she has always been challenged with the costs especially the transportation of her medication. Her aunt who got an opportunity for Faridah to study registered her under an organization that looks after orphans. This was not a worry for them regarding her education. Because knowing the child’s HIV status was a mandate by the organization, Faridah's aunt disclosed it to them but shared that Faridah wasn't aware of her status. Faridah was then taken to Alive Medical Services in 2010 where she was professionally disclosed to.
“When I was told the meaning of sirimu, I didn't know how to react, I wondered if I was supposed to cry, feel sad, be angry, I had no emotion at all because I was told I will be okay from the time I was 5, I trusted all those words.”
While studying, Faridah got pregnant with her first child in 2016 which forced the organization to return her to her aunt. “My aunt was disappointed about the turn I had taken but she assured me that I was going to have a healthy HIV negative baby.”
“On coming to Alive Medical Services, this time I was coming for just my refill but also, I had come for antenatal services. The nurses to my surprise were not judgemental, I was just 21 and pretty ashamed of my pregnancy but they handled me with dignity.” Says Faridah.
Today Faridah is happy to share that she has had two amazing children who are HIV-negative. She also reports that the father of her children is doing well. The two are raising their children in harmony thanks to the services offered by Alive Medical Services.
“I know I haven’t been the best client at this facility, but they have had time for me and my family.”
Increasing the number of pregnant women on life-saving HIV treatment, helps mothers live longer, healthier lives and helps eliminate new infections among children. Since 2013, Alive Medical Services has not registered any HIV-positive babies from mothers under their care thanks to donors, funders, and well-wishers that have made it possible to avail of the necessary services HIV-positive pregnant mothers need.
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