Rafina: Mozambique



My name is Rafina.  I am 24 years old and live in Balama District, Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique.  I first became sick in 2000 with chronic diarrhea. In 2008, I developed a terrible cough and was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis.  I took medicine for six months, but the cough would not stop.  I was five months pregnant at the time, and during a routine prenatal care visit, I was tested and diagnosed with HIV.

For the remainder of my pregnancy, I took medicines to prevent transmission of HIV to my unborn children. I gave birth to twin girls and was given medicines to give to my children and additional medication for myself.  I was not told that I should return when the medicine was finished.

Three months passed, and I became very sick again.  I was coughing blood, and I thought I would die.  I went back to the health center where I received medication for TB, and my children were tested for HIV. A month following our visit I received the results of the children’s HIV tests: one of the twins was negative and the other was positive.

Today my HIV-positive daughter and I take our medicine together every day to be healthy.  She likes to play and is growing normally, like her HIV-negative sister.  To help support my daughters, I work as a counselor at the Balama Health Center, where I counsel other women and families. I encourage them to get tested and to adhere to treatment if they are diagnosed with HIV. 

I have a dream that my HIV-positive daughter will continue to grow, become a doctor, and one day have her own children who are born free of HIV.  

I would like to thank the people who have helped me manage my illness, especially the nurses and doctors at the Balama Health Center who have accompanied me every step of the way in treatment. I also want to thank the staff of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation for providing the financial and technical support to the Balama Health Center and helping to improve  prevention programs and health care services provided at the hospital.