My name is Eduardo. I am 57 years old and live in Matutuine District, Mozambique. I am married and I am a father of 10 children; five of them died, and five are alive and in good health. I am also HIV-positive.
One day, I was out with my friends and I met a beautiful woman. I fell in love with her and lost control of everything. I left my wife and children to go away with her, and we had unprotected sex. I never suspected anything; she was in good health and beautiful, but she deceived me. She had knowledge of her HIV-positive status and did not tell me anything about it. Everything changed after I became sick. When she saw that I was very sick, she abandoned me. Soon after, I returned home to my wife and children. For a long time I was in denial about what happened to me.
I am thankful for the goodwill of my wife and my children. After all I put them through, they did not abandon me. They helped me when I needed it most. My wife took me to the hospital, where I received treatment for my illness. When I was better, I received counseling and was tested for HIV. I was HIV-positive.
Although I was receiving treatment, I was still very sick for awhile; I had no strength to do anything by myself. My wife and my children had to help me with everything – even small tasks like taking a shower.
I thank my wife every day for her support. She visited me every day in the hospital and made sure I took my medication. She is a wonderful person and if it wasn’t for her, I would not be alive today to see my children and grandchildren grow up.
Following my diagnosis, my wife was tested for HIV and is negative. She repeated the test after three months and was still negative.
Today, I participate in a support group that meets every month to share our experiences on various issues, such as with living with HIV, good hygiene, adherence, stigma and discrimination, and nutrition. I am happy with the sessions that we have. I am learning a lot about HIV and now feel like I am not alone in the world. I am also a volunteer at a local community-based organization supported by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. I visit people in the community to educate them about HIV/AIDS and refer them to the local health center to get tested.
My experience living with HIV has taught me a lot of lessons and changed my attitude. Now I protect my wife during sex because I love her and do not want her to get sick.
From Eduardo’s wife Teresa:My name is Teresa and I am Eduardo’s wife. I am from Matutuine, Mozambique, and I sell products on the South African border to support my family.
My husband, Eduardo, left me and our children to live with another woman. It wasn’t an easy situation to face, but when I saw that Eduardo was very sick, I felt that I had to help him. After all, he is the father of my children.
When he was hospitalized, I was there with him. I slept in the men’s infirmary just so I could be next to him, day and night. He was very weak and couldn’t do anything by himself.
When he was hospitalized, a nurse approached me and asked me to take a HIV test. I was scared because I saw what the infection was doing to my husband and I had heard about the consequences of the disease. Fortunately, I tested negative. I stayed with my husband and continue to support him today.
I want to tell other couples that they can live well and stay healthy as long as they protect themselves. I would like also to encourage men that are HIV positive to tell their wives and avoid keeping their status a secret. If you are not certain of your status, go to a hospital and get tested. Life doesn’t end because you are HIV-positive. Eduardo and I are proof that with treatment, you can live a long life. Don’t be afraid of HIV.