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.
November 1, 2009
Annabella (right) with her mother and two sisters. (Photo: EGPAF)
Annabella lives with her mother and two sisters in a small mud house in southwestern Uganda. Her home is surrounded by banana trees, rolling hills, and grasslands dotted by cows.
Annabella’s father died due to complications from AIDS. Not long before her father’s death, Annabella discovered that she too is HIV-positive, as did Annabella’s mother, who was pregnant with her third daughter. Fortunately, Annabella and her mother, Allen, have access to the clinic at Kabale Hospital that is supported by the Foundation. After they discovered their HIV status, Annabella began taking lifesaving medications to treat her illness.
November 1, 2009
Kevin (left) with his father in their home village. (Photo: Olivier Asselin)
Kevin, son of a chief in rural Côte d’Ivoire, was 32 years old and living in the capital city of Abidjan when the fevers started, followed by diarrhea, typhoid, and anemia. Within months, his weight dropped to 114 pounds, and he moved back to his family’s village. Kevin's story might have ended there, all too typically, but for a wise and caring father’s advice: Get tested for HIV.
Kevin went to the Centre NDA in Dimbokro — a health center supported by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) — where he took an HIV test. The nurse who provided post-test counseling asked Kevin to identify someone to whom he could disclose his HIV-positive status. With some trepidation, Kevin chose his father.
October 1, 2009
Marta. (Photo: EGPAF)
My name is Marta and I’m 20 years old. I have two children — one is three years old and one is just 20 months. I live in Mahubo, Mozambique.
I found out I was HIV-positive in 2006, when I was pregnant with my second child. I went to the health center in Boane — which is supported by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation — for prenatal care, and that is when I discovered my status. I received HIV counseling and testing, as well as pills to reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to my baby.
September 2, 2009
Tatiana. (Photo: EGPAF)
My name is Maria and I am 39 years old. I live in Gaza Province, Mozambique. Nine years ago, when I was pregnant with my daughter Tatiana, I became sick with tuberculosis and went to the nearest health center to see a doctor about my symptoms. After a series of tests, I was diagnosed with HIV.
Unfortunately I did not receive my diagnosis until after I gave birth to Tatiana, and therefore I did not receive medication that could have prevented HIV transmission to my baby. Tatiana was born with HIV. But she was diagnosed early and immediately began to receive HIV care and treatment. Thanks to this treatment, Tatiana survived and she is now nine years old.
August 1, 2009
Jamie and her husband, Paul. (Photo: EGPAF)
When I was born, my mother thought that the laborious delivery of her 10-pound baby girl would be the worst of her problems. Little did she know that I had much more in store for her. I was born with a complicated heart defect. This was corrected by an open-heart surgery at age 3. As my family celebrated the success of my surgeries with pool parties and roller skating parties galore, we were unaware of what was to come years down the road.
When I was 8 years old, the medical world discovered that horrible mistakes were unknowingly made in the past when unscreened blood products were used in blood transfusions. My family brought me in for the "routine" test to make sure that I wasn't one of the unlucky few who received infected blood. This test turned out to be not so routine, and my family was informed that I was HIV-positive.
July 6, 2009
Mariam and her twins, Hussein and Hassan. (Photo: EGPAF)
Mariam, 32, lives in Rwanda and is married with four children. She learned she was HIV-positive in 2008, when she visited an antenatal clinic while pregnant with twins.
Mariam's 14-month-old twins, Hussein and Hassan, were born in Kiziguro Hospital and have received continued treatment at Rugarama Health Center. Both of these facilities are supported by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
July 1, 2009
Jecinta. (Photo: EGPAF)
Jecinta lives in Kenya and she is about 40 years old. In 1998, Jecinta became very sick and was hospitalized several times for malaria and TB. She tried many treatments but nothing seemed to work — she wasn’t getting any better. Finally, Jecinta’s sister-in-law told her she should be tested for HIV because that is what Jecinta’s husband had died from six years earlier.
Jecinta was shocked: She had always thought that her husband died of liver cancer. Not only did Jecinta’s in-laws hide her husband’s HIV status from her for all those years, but they also kicked her and her two children out of their house after her husband’s death.
June 3, 2009
Marty and her son, Brett. (Photo: Marty Mitchell)
My son, Brett, was infected with HIV at birth in 1980. When he was diagnosed seven years later, nobody gave us much hope. At that time there were no FDA-approved drugs for children with HIV — only clinical trials.
When Brett was in third grade, he stood up in show-and-tell and courageously told his classmates that he had AIDS. For the next 20 years, he dedicated his life to raising awareness and educating others about the disease that would one day take his life.
In the early 1990s, Brett and I were introduced to EGPAF, and Brett became one of the original children supported by its work.
April 13, 2009
Perpetua. (Photo: EGPAF)
My name is Perpetua and I am eight years old. I live in Cameroon
with my caregiver, Awah, who treats me like her own child.
I do not remember my real mother. She died in 2001 because she had HIV. I was only five days old when she died. I am very sad about this, but I am glad that my mother received medicine to help prevent me from being born with the disease that took her life. Thanks to the help that my mother got, I do not have HIV. I am healthy and I go to school. I love to run around and play with my friends.
March 17, 2009
Beatrice and Lightness Andrea. (Photo: EGPAF)
My name is Beatrice and I am 22 years old. I live with my parents in Machame Aleni village in the Rombo district of Tanzania. I am a stay-at-home mother and also a part-time volunteer teacher at a nearby primary school. I have a daughter called Lightness Andrea, who is now 10 months old.
I completed secondary school in 2006 and planned to start teachers’ college in 2007, but unfortunately I never made it to college because I didn’t have money for school fees. I had a boyfriend in my village during that time, and we had unprotected sex.
Later that year, when I was 20 years old, I moved to Dar es Salaam to work for a family as a housemaid. Soon after I arrived, I realized that I was one month pregnant with my boyfriend’s baby.