In 1997, Fortunata was 22 years and had just moved to the U.S. from Tanzania, to pursue a degree in journalism. She was a newlywed with a baby on the way. Less than two weeks later she received the news that she was HIV-positive. After receiving this devastating news, she was concerned for her own health and most of all for the health of her unborn child.
But hope arrived when a nurse told her that treatment was available that would not only enable them to be healthy but also would protect their unborn child from contracting HIV. A few months later, after receiving regular treatment to prevent transmission from mother to child, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Florida.
Florida is now 18 years old and HIV free, and often travels with her mother when she shares her story as an advocate and educator for EGPAF and for mothers living with HIV.
In 2014, Fortunata realized a long held dream: she gave birth to her second daughter—Gabi, who is also happy, healthy and HIV free. Today, Fortunata, Florida and Gabi live in New York City. They are all, healthy and looking toward a bright future.