Fighting Pediatric AIDS in Uganda - When a Patient Becomes the Counselor
In the seventh and final post in our blog series, “Fighting Pediatric AIDS in Uganda,” we hear from 35-year-old mother of two, Elizabeth. After learning she was living with HIV, Elizabeth began efforts to educate her community and help people affected by HIV/AIDS. Today, Elizabeth works at Rugazi Health Centre IV as an expert client and counselor.
October 14, 2011
My name is Elizabeth. I am a 35-year-old mother of two boys. My sons are four years old and two years old. In June 2007, I decided to come to the clinic to have my blood tested for HIV. I had heard about voluntary testing and wanted to know my status so that I could plan accordingly.
I found out that I am HIV-positive.
I immediately started treatment and I changed my lifestyle. I began eating a balanced diet, drinking safe water, sleeping under a mosquito net and most importantly, I made sure that I was taking my medication correctly.
When I got pregnant with my second child, I attended antenatal care where I was given medicine to help prevent the transmission of HIV to my unborn child. I had a normal delivery and my son was born healthy and strong.
Elizabeth discusses HIV prevention with health center guests. (Photo: James Pursey)
A few months later, he was tested for HIV and the results were negative. Both of my sons are HIV-negative. I am so grateful for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services at the health center.
Following my success with PMTCT, I dedicated my life to teaching my fellow community members about HIV. I now volunteer at Rugazi Health Center IV in Rubirizi district. It's there that I provide HIV education and counseling to the patients. I also assist health workers with non-clinical activities like conducting health talks, dispensing drugs, and following up with patients, and I am active in the center’s family support group.
Elizabeth talks to patients following HIV testing. (Photo: James Pursey)
I happily volunteer my services because I feel fulfilled when am able to show people in my community that they can live long, happy and meaningful lives. I’m living proof!
Click here to read the previous post from the "Fighting AIDS in Uganda" blog series.
Sanyu Nkiinzi is a Communications and Outreach Officer for the Foundation, based in Uganda.