Florentine: Cameroon

Florentine and her son Faith.

EGPAF

Florentine is a young woman living and working in Bamenda, Cameroon. When she was 19 years old, Florentine received two pieces of good news during a visit to her physician: she was pregnant and HIV-negative. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the truth. Not only did she later find out that she was HIV-positive, but when her father-in-law discovered her status, he asked Florentine to leave his home.

Florentine’s parents took her in, and she received follow-up antenatal care at a health facility run by Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS), one of EGPAF's partners in PMTCT services.

Florentine joined a support group for people living with HIV and took nevirapine, a cost-effective intervention that has been essential in dramatically reducing mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Her baby boy, Faith, also received nevirapine soon after birth. Faith is now a healthy eleven-year-old who continues to live HIV-free.

After her positive experience with CBCHS’s PMTCT program, Florentine began working at CBCHS as a chairperson for CBCHS’s support groups; there are now 90 of these groups throughout Cameroon with more than 3,000 members. Under Florentine’s leadership, these groups help to reduce HIV stigma in the communities where they are active. They also provide families in need with infant weaning food, important nutritional counseling, and training on specific income-generating activities.