September 12, 2011
Sabina. (Photo: James Pursey)
My name is Sabina, and I am 35 years old. I live with my husband Patrick and our four children in Busangi Village, Kahama District, Tanzania.
I work as an embroiderer and make beautiful patterns on cloths. My family and I also depend on our family farm to make a living. We plant rice, maize, and cotton.
I first learned I was HIV-positive in 2009, when I was five months pregnant with my son. I had visited a clinic for a regular prenatal check-up, where I was counseled and tested for HIV and malaria.
My results came out positive, and I felt the whole world crumble around me. I called my sister who works as a nurse in Mwanza. Fortunately, she helped me understand the diagnosis, and made me realize that having HIV didn’t mean that I was going to die.
But it was still difficult. I struggled with disclosing to my husband for more than a year. I hid my drugs in the maize flour so he wouldn’t find out I was HIV-positive.
When I finally gained the courage to tell him, he reacted differently than I imagined he would. He was supportive. He went to the hospital, got tested, and was also diagnosed HIV-positive.
Since learning our HIV status, my husband and I have lived happily together. I educated my husband about living positively with HIV, and we take our drugs together.
We also worked hard to ensure that our unborn baby would stay healthy, following all of the precautions for him to be born HIV-free.
Our baby boy, Betton Patrick, is now eight months old and HIV-negative. When we found out, we celebrated with our family.
We are grateful that we have not passed this virus to any of our children. It is the best gift we can ever give them.
I can’t believe how we have overcome the odds. I encourage all women to get tested for HIV early so they too can take the right steps to stay healthy and raise HIV-negative children.