My name is Maria and I am 39 years old. I live in Gaza Province, Mozambique
Nine years ago, when I was pregnant with my daughter Tatiana, I became sick with tuberculosis and went to the nearest health center to see a doctor about my symptoms. After a series of tests, I was diagnosed with HIV.
Unfortunately I did not receive my diagnosis until after I gave birth to Tatiana, and therefore I did not receive medication that could have prevented HIV transmission to my baby. Tatiana was born with HIV. But she was diagnosed early and immediately began to receive HIV care and treatment. Thanks to this treatment, Tatiana survived and she is now nine years old.
Learning that my daughter and I were HIV-positive was very painful for me. I thought my life had ended — and it did become much more difficult. When I disclosed my status to my husband, he reacted terribly. He refused to get tested and asked me to leave his home. He soon married another woman and to this day he prevents me from seeing my eldest daughter.
Thankfully, I can rely on my mother and sister for emotional and financial support. I also participate in a community support group for people living with HIV, which is sponsored by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF). Thanks to the people I have met in my support group, I no longer feel alone.
Tatiana and I were very lucky to attend EGPAF-Mozambique’s second Ariel Children’s Camp — a weeklong camp for children with HIV and their guardians — in July 2009. The camp was a wonderful experience for us because we got to know other families who face the same challenges we face — including health problems and stigma relating to HIV. I am also very grateful for the medication, food, clothing, and toys that we received at the camp.
At Ariel Camp, I received information and advice on how to care for my daughter. I really enjoyed participating in the camp and I hope more children and families will have the opportunity to benefit from this experience in the future. Thanks to everything I’ve learned, I am now able to advise other people with HIV on how to live healthy lives.
I want to see Tatiana stay healthy and perform well in school. I also want to have a job one day and a home of my own. Thanks to the support that Tatiana and I have received from EGPAF, I look forward to achieving these goals.