Tag Archives: mother

1-year-old Charity is HIV negative!

On January 30, 2018, Catherine’s second-born daughter was confirmed HIV negative.

A clinician smiled as she brought Catherine into the treatment room, embracing her to celebrate the good news. Ever since she realized she was pregnant, Catherine had worked hard to ensure the baby, Charity, wouldn’t contract HIV. She received continuous support from AMS staff to prevent mother-to-child-transmission of the virus, and faithfully adhered to her medication.

“I’m so relieved,” Catherine said. Charity smiled in her arms, almost as if she was relieved, too.

The joy in the room was tangible. But it hadn’t always been this way for Catherine and her family.

When Catherine gave birth to her first-born daughter, she went to live with her mother and extended family in the village. As Catherine recovered from the delivery, her family helped her with the baby. Her husband stayed in Kampala to work – and during that time, he contracted HIV from another woman.

Catherine returned to Kampala after three months in the village, unaware of her husband’s infidelity or illness. She put all her time and energy into caring for her daughter. And when the two of them fell sick, she assumed it was a temporary bug, or at worst, malaria.

Catherine tested HIV positive at a health facility near her home. Her neighbour urged her to get another test at Alive Medical Services – and after her diagnosis was confirmed, the doctors tested Catherine’s daughter, who was also diagnosed HIV positive.

“I was shocked, but there was nothing to be done except to begin treating myself and my daughter,” Catherine said. “I convinced my husband to get tested, but he never accepted his diagnosis. For me, the only option was to stay strong for my child.”

Catherine has since separated from her husband, who refused to get treatment and was inhibiting Catherine’s own progress. By continuing to visit AMS for check-ups, Catherine’s viral load is suppressed, and her first-born daughter – now three years old – is stable and healthy. Catherine now works as a farmer in her village, where she grows fresh produce for her family and sells whatever is left.

“My advice to other HIV-positive single mothers is to do as much as possible to support your children,” Catherine said.

A Mother’s Love Resurrects a Dying Child

Taking care of a child – any child – is never easy. But when Irene found out her adopted daughter, Gift, was HIV-positive, she was at a loss for what to do. Gift’s diagnosis came during a difficult time, as Irene brought the baby to Alive Medical Services (AMS) when she was near death. After the doctors and nurses treated Gift, she was started on antiretroviral medication at the age of 2.

“I had never taken care of an HIV-positive person before,” Irene said. “AMS did so many tests and figured out what was happening to my child.”

After Gift’s condition stabilized, Irene continued visiting AMS to seek out advice and retrieve Gift’s medication. The counsellors helped Irene understand the importance of proper disclosure, and taught her methods of discussing HIV in ways that wouldn’t scare or stigmatize her daughter. For years, Irene and Gift took medication together, turning it into a morning routine where Irene would swallow her vitamin supplements, while Gift would take her antiretroviral treatment.

When Irene felt Gift was old enough to know the truth, Irene was honest with her. After discussing her status just the two of them, Irene took Gift to visit the AMS counsellors. Though she was only 8 years old at the time, Gift immediately started tracking her medications with a watch, taking full control over her treatment and her health.

“She really was amazing, and I’m so proud of her,” Irene said. “But she also got the right information from the right people at the right time.”

Gift is now 9 years old, and Irene reports that she feels free about her diagnosis. Her health is stable, and she has disclosed her status to the older members of her family.

“I used to think: how am I going to do this?” Irene said. “I used to be scared. But I thank God for Alive. Now I know exactly how to care for my child.”