Stories of Hope
Over the last two decades, EGPAF has helped to foster an irrepressible new emotion in those infected and affected by HIV: hope.
Thanks in part to the research, advocacy, and programmatic work we do, children and families living with HIV around the world are no longer forgotten. HIV-positive women can give birth to healthy children who are free of the virus. What's more, children and adults living with HIV can lead long, healthy lives.
EGPAF invites you to meet some of the people who are directly benefiting from our programs! Read their inspiring and courageous stories below.
March 1, 2009
Amadeus. (Photo: Nigel Barker LLC)
My name is Amadeus. I am 17 years old. I was born in Mkuu Makiingi village in Rombo district, which is in northern Tanzania on the border with Kenya. I am the first-born of four children — I have two sisters and one brother. My father passed away when I was very young but my mother is still alive.
In 2005, I became very ill and went to Huruma Hospital, which is supported by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, for treatment and a check-up. It was there that I was diagnosed HIV-positive. Soon after my diagnosis, I started taking antiretroviral medication to treat my illness and my health improved.
February 9, 2009
Silvia and Caleb. (Photo: EGPAF)
Motherhood has always been Silvia's passion — she has devoted her entire life to children. But when her son, Caleb, was barred from swimming in a pool at an Alabama RV park because he is HIV-positive, Silvia knew it wasn’t right. And she became an activist.
“What happened to Caleb should not happen to any child,” said Silvia, 67. “This is about making sure that all children are treated fairly.”
January 22, 2009
Joey. (Photo: EGPAF)
I used to think I wouldn't be alive today. When I was four years old, I received contaminated blood during open-heart surgery. Four years later, I learned I was HIV-positive. I overheard my doctor talking to my parents about the disease. Doctors advised my parents to keep the diagnosis a secret.
January 1, 2009
Ben and his wife Kasiah.
(Photo: Jordan Strauss/Getty Images)
Imagine a two-year-old child. Envision your child, your niece or nephew, your brother or sister, your neighbor, your friend's child. Picture this loving, healthy child playing outside, running around, and just generally being a kid.
Now visualize this child's body being destroyed by cancer in three weeks. Two surgeries, three blood transfusions, fifteen months of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and many, many prayers are required just to keep this child alive.
In 1981, that child was me.
December 1, 2008
Faith (left) with a friend at the Global Partners' Forum in Dublin, Ireland in October 2008. (Photo: EGPAF)
My name is Faith and I live in the Masaka district of Uganda
. I am 17 years old. I’m a member of the Ariel Children’s Club, a support group for children affected by HIV/AIDS that is sponsored by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
My parents died while I was very young and I don’t remember them very well. I was raised by my maternal aunt and her husband, whom I take as my parents.
Before I knew about my HIV status, I was very sickly with skin rashes, fevers, cough, and diarrhea. In 2000, when I was nine years old, I was tested and learned I was HIV-positive.
August 1, 2008
Lungile (left) and her counselor Christabel at the Luyengo Clinic. (Photo: Jon Hrusa)
My name is Lungile and I am 33 years old. I live in Luyengo, Swaziland
, in a rented flat with my four children — aged 17, 14, 9, and 12 months. My oldest three children are from my first husband, who died of an HIV/AIDS-related illness. Then I met the father of my 12-month-old son. He is 57 years old and has two wives. I am his prospective third wife.
When I became pregnant with my youngest son, I visited the Luyengo Health Clinic to receive antenatal care. I underwent HIV counseling and testing as part of the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV program that the Foundation supports at Luyengo. I was shocked to learn that I was HIV-positive.
January 1, 2008
Cameron with actress Courteney Cox at the 2008 "A Time For Heroes" Carnival. (Photo: EGPAF)
People think that HIV is a manageable disease, but I'm here to say that it is not. When I was two years old, I received a blood transfusion that infected me with HIV. Five years later, my family and I learned of my HIV-positive status.
We tried many different types of medicines, but nothing worked. For the next 17 years my health deteriorated and I struggled to survive.
January 1, 2008
Marilyn. (Photo: EGPAF)
Like many other families, mine came to the United States from Puerto Rico in search of the American dream. America: where you could get a good job, health care, and the opportunity for a better education. As a child this is what I understood America to be. Unfortunately, close to two years after arriving in search of that dream, I was told that both of my parents and my baby sister, Ana, were infected with HIV.
At the age of nine, I was forced to grow up faster than most kids. This illness kind of robbed my siblings and me of our childhood. It also robbed me of both my parents and my baby sister.
At first, my parents were the only ones that were receiving treatment. At that time, there was nothing for children. This was around the time that Elizabeth Glaser was taking a stand for her children to get HIV medication.
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March 27, 2007
From left: Bill, Mihaela, Susan (seated), Ionel, Ramona, Loredana, and Aidan Belfiore. (Photo: EGPAF)
In the fall of 1989, my wife Susan and I were watching a Primetime special about children in Romania living in orphanages; they were all HIV-positive after receiving tainted transfusions. At the end of the show, viewers were invited to go to Romania as volunteers for six months to nurture these children with love and affection.
Susan arrived in Romania in January 1990 and was assigned to five babies between the ages of one and two. During my first visit, I saw that although none of the children had any illnesses or symptoms of HIV, they were in great need.
After my first visit, I remember thinking, "I wonder what life will be like for us when this six months is over?" One day, I got an excited phone call from my wife. "What do you think about adopting one of these children?" she asked. Without even thinking, I heard myself saying, "Why don't we adopt all of them?" And we did.