Saquina is a 38-year-old single mother who lives in Nacala Porto, Mozambique.
Five years ago, when I was pregnant with my son Frechou, I went to the hospital for a consultation. I received counseling and agreed to be tested for HIV. The test was positive.
When I returned home from the consultation, I spent a lot of time thinking. I felt sorry for myself and I began to think that my life was over. But then I had an idea. I decided to accept my HIV status and follow the advice of the nurse who counseled me.
From then on, I did not miss any visits to the health center. I took the pills that helped me prevent passing HIV to my child. I participated in support groups with other HIV-positive mothers.
When Frechou was born, I gave him medication every day. I also exclusively breastfed him for six months, following the advice of the nurses. When I was preparing to wean my son, I learned how to make enriched porridge in the health center. It was not easy for me: I have four children, I am a domestic worker, and I did not reveal my HIV status to my family so I would not suffer from stigma and discrimination.
It was very helpful to participate in the support group meetings and other activities at the health center, which are supported by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. I learned many things, like how to live positively with HIV and how to take care of my child. I control my disease by regularly taking my antiretroviral medication, and I help counsel others who do not want to accept their HIV status.
Thanks to the support we received, Frechou is HIV-negative – his status was confirmed with his final negative test when he was 24 months old. If not for the support of the Foundation and the health center, providing me with medication and counseling during and after my pregnancy, my son and I would not be healthy today.
Now I dream that Frechou will grow up and have the opportunity to study and be successful. He is very healthy and goes to school.