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.
January 31, 2011
Janice. (Photo: EGPAF)
My name is Janice. When I was four, my father became very ill and we later learned that he was diagnosed with AIDS. My mother and I were also diagnosed, but thankfully we were given medication to suppress the virus and keep us healthy. At the time, I didn’t know that we were infected with HIV. After my father died, my mother and I moved to Florida to be closer to family. I grew up a “normal kid” and participated in “normal kid activities” -- but I always wondered why I had to take so many pills for “allergies” when my friends didn’t.
December 21, 2010
Alice. (Photo: EGPAF)
My name is Alice. My husband died in 2008 when I was pregnant with our sixth child. I moved to a house in Kakamega from Ikolomani village, where my family lives. My husband was the family breadwinner, supplying vegetables to traders at the trading center in the village. He had been sick often, was referred to the provincial general hospital in Kakamega, and later died.
December 16, 2010
Potso prepares his Basotho pony for another day's journey in the mountains of Lesotho. (Photo: Jon Hrusa/EPA)
My name is Potso, and I’m 30 years old. I live in Mokhotlong District, Lesotho. My village, called Polomiti, is high in the mountains. The nearest town, Mapholaneng, is 30 minutes away on horseback. The weather in Mokhotlong is very difficult. There is heavy rain in summer and lots of snow in winter. When the weather is bad, it is nearly impossible to travel anywhere by car or motorbike. The only way to get around is on foot or horseback. Three years ago, I heard that the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation was looking for horse owners to ride to and from health clinics in the mountains. The Foundation needed help transporting blood samples from these clinics to the laboratory at Mokhotlong Hospital.
November 30, 2010
Zanele and her two-month-old son Nkosingphile. (Photo: Jon Hrusa/EPA)
My name is Zanele and I am 25 years old. One year ago, on World AIDS Day 2009, I lived with my husband, Mfanzile, and my one-year-old daughter, Phiwa, in Mkhulamini, Swaziland.
Life was hard. We lived in a one-room house with barely enough space for the three of us. We earned very little money; sometimes we did not have enough food to eat. Mfanzile and I were HIV-positive, and although we both took our medications, Mfanzile was often sick.
Despite all of these difficulties, we were happy. Mfanzile and I lived for Phiwa. Thanks to the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) services that I received during and after my pregnancy at the Mkhulamini clinic, Phiwa was HIV-negative and healthy.
November 30, 2010
Fortunata and her daughter Florida. (Photo: Gary He/AP Images for One Campaign)
I was a newlywed with a baby on the way in a new environment. I remember my mom insisting that I visit a prenatal clinic as soon as I arrived in Houston, Texas. I was almost 30 weeks into my pregnancy and had never had a check-up. A friend took me to a neighborhood hospital in Houston where I agreed to take routine prenatal tests, including an HIV test. I was not worried about HIV. I just prayed that after more than 20 hours flying from Africa, my unborn baby would be healthy. I went home feeling good, energized, and even more hopeful about my new beginning.
Less than two weeks after my check-up I received a phone call from the hospital asking me to report to the clinic right away. I entered the clinic and without wasting any time the nurse broke the news that changed my life forever. She told me I had tested positive for HIV. For a minute I thought I was having a bad dream, I was horrified. I felt dizzy, fell out of my chair, and then started to cry. I cried for my unborn baby, my husband, my parents, and myself. My life was just beginning. Was it over now?
November 1, 2010
Child mentor Sam (left)
My name is Agness. I’m 32 years old and live in Mtendere, a township in Lusaka, Zambia. In 2002, I received some devastating news: I was diagnosed with HIV. After learning my status, I felt very scared and alone. With a two-year-old daughter to look after I was worried what my diagnosis would mean for me and my family. When my daughter began getting sick, I feared the worst. My friends encouraged me to take her to the clinic where she was examined and tested for HIV. When her results came back positive, I felt like my family was falling apart. Fortunately, I live in a community where HIV and AIDS care and treatment services are available for me and my daughter.
October 27, 2010
Lee and Lucas. (Photo: EGPAF)
My name is Lucas, and I have a brother named Lee. We’re both living with HIV. We didn’t know we were HIV-positive until one day last summer, when my mom told us why we had to take so much medicine and why we went to the doctor so often.
Hopefully someday soon, there will be a cure for HIV. Until then, the most important thing we can do is eliminate pediatric AIDS by preventing the transmission of HIV from moms to their children.
October 8, 2010
Daniel. (Photo: Jon Hrusa)
My name is Setloboko but you can call me Daniel. Daniel is my English name and I love speaking English. I love to sing in English too.
I am 17 years old and I live with my grandmother in Molika-liko village, high in the mountains of Lesotho in Mokhotlong district. My younger brother and I came to live here after my mother died in 1997. After we moved here my brother grew sick. He also died in 1999.
September 13, 2010
Marekelalitsoe. (Photo: Jon Hrusa)
My name is Marekelalitsoe and I am 22 years old. I live with my husband in a village in Mokhotlong district, Lesotho. My husband builds houses for a living and I am a housewife. I’m 28 weeks pregnant with our first child.
This morning, I came to the clinic at Mokhotlong Hospital for my first antenatal checkup. I was scared before I came. My family told me that the nurses would insult me because I delayed coming for so long. But that did not happen – the nurses and staff were good to me and made me feel welcome.
August 4, 2010
My name is Josephine, and I am a young woman living with HIV. If it weren’t for EGPAF, I wouldn’t be alive today. When I was 10 years old, I learned that I was living with HIV.
I had found a letter that my mother never intended for me to see, confirming that she, my father, my sister and I were all infected with the virus. Our family had been plagued with illness for many years, and before seeing the letter, I had never understood why. My mom was the worst. She suffered from pneumonia many times, and we both had bumps all over our skin.