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.
June 1, 2013
(Photo: EGPAF, 2013)
I was born in Gizegyera village in Kisoro Town Council, South Western Uganda in 1976. I went to school and finished my ordinary-level education, then went for a computer course. I got married in 1995, and my husband and I were blessed with two children, who are now 16 and 15 years old. However, in 2000, my husband fell ill. He was diagnosed with bronchitis, and died shortly after being admitted to the hospital.
May 1, 2013
(Photo: EGPAF, 2012)
I first became aware of my status about 10 years ago while in third grade in the Copperbelt. At the end of 2008, I was introduced to a support group where I learned a lot about HIV and AIDS. Those of us in the group now know it’s not our fault that we were born with this virus, and that infants can get this during the birth period. In 2012, I was introduced to the Tisamala Teens Group. I would like to thank EGPAF for introducing this programme, because it has really helped people here – especially we young ones – and I hope that it also will help those people who are still ignorant about HIV and AIDS.
April 1, 2013
(Photo: Ann Summa, 2012)
Sweeta and her husband Sarthak represent the sort of success story that make all the long hours and the big caseloads for community health counselors all worthwhile: both are HIV-positive, while their only son, Sartha, is negative.
Sweeta’s first husband didn’t tell her about his HIV status before they got married; in fact, he didn’t do so until he started suffering from TB and having symptoms of AIDS. He died within six months, and Sweeta tested HIV-positive soon afterward.
March 1, 2013
Kasongo with EGPAF's PMTCT site supervisor. (Photo: EGPAF, 2012)
Kasongo is one of the male partners of a PMTCT beneficiary, and is doing his part to slowly turn the tide of male partner participation in family health in DRC. Originally from Bandundu Province, Kasongo, 37, and his wife Paula, 27, now live in Kinshasa and have had three children.
During her most recent pregnancy, his wife sought ANC services at Binza Maternity, receiving an HIV test and a paper invitation for Kasongo. When she returned home with the invitation, they discussed the opportunity, and he decided to come in to be tested. Despite two previous pregnancies during which his wife also attended ANC at Binza, this was his first time visiting the ANC.
February 1, 2013
Julie and her son Anthony. (Photo: EGPAF, 2012)
My name is Julie, and I am a 25-year-old full time mom. I was born HIV-positive in 1987 after my mother had unknowingly acquired the virus through a blood transfusion. Today, because of the medications and services that EGPAF helped to create and share with the world, I was able to become pregnant, and I now have an HIV-negative son. Like so many other HIV-positive pregnant women around the world, I get to experience a healthy, happy, beautiful baby boy without the worry that he will be infected with HIV.
January 1, 2013
Flora. (Photo: EGPAF, 2012)
Being an HIV-positive mother was hard then, and it is hard now. However, I gained a lot of strength from my family, my community, the health clinic, and other HIV-positive women I met in a support group called “Waitinya.” In my community’s language of Luyhia, waitinya is a word that means “being hopeful.”
I needed to be hopeful for my children, my husband, and my unborn baby. Today, I am still hopeful, and grateful too.
December 11, 2012
Patience. (Photo: EGPAF, 2012)
During pregnancy and after Josphat’s birth, I followed PMTCT guidelines closely. At 18 months, Josphat was tested and found to be free of HIV. Since Josphat’s birth and learning of his HIV-negative status, I’ve continued to attend support group sessions and maintained having regular check-ups at the hospital.
I’m an advocate so other women understand that being HIV positive is not the end. Josphat and I are proof that an HIV-positive woman can have a healthy HIV-negative baby.
November 6, 2012
Christopher. (Photo: EGPAF, 2012)
My name is Christopher. My wife Everlyne and I are HIV-positive, but our two sons – three-year-old Norus Ombama and nine-month-old Budy Busaia -- are strong, healthy, and HIV-negative. In 2006, while I was still working at Kenya Railways, I had been very sick, so I decided to get tested for HIV. When the tests came back positive, I was afraid to disclose my status to anyone.
I battled with the sad news for one week before I told my wife. After being tested, she found out that she, too, was HIV-positive. We started going to counseling and were started on antiretroviral therapy (ART) immediately.
October 3, 2012
Florentine and her son Faith.
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.
August 27, 2012
A nurse, Florence has a goal to save her fellow health workers from preventable HIV deaths – and she is starting in Busia District Hospital in Kenya, where she works. Like many of her patients, she is also living with HIV. EGPAF met up with Florence during a trip to Kenya’s Western Province, where EGPAF is part of APHIA Plus, a five-year, USAID-funded project that includes HIV care and treatment and prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT).