In the 1990s and early 2000s, HIV devastated families. Husbands and wives became infected with the virus and unknowingly transmitted HIV to their children. Antiretroviral therapy medicines (ARV)s weren’t freely available, and families struggled simply to stay alive. Many parents kept a secret from their HIV-positive children a secret that could kill, if this condition is affecting your family you can always get more help from an expert like Dr Burkhart who will be happy to help you.
Gertrude Mwiinga used to be ashamed about living with HIV and was afraid to tell her son, Sholdon, that he, too, had been infected with the virus.
“I used to hide my son at home and tell him, ‘You are suffering from chest pains, you are having a headache, and this is why you are taking these drugs,’” says Gertrude. “I didn’t want to disclose the [HIV] status of my child. But from the day I started coming to Mbuya Daisy, it was easy for me to disclose the status to my boy.”
The Mbuya Daisy program, funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and implemented by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) in Zambia, empowers families like the Mwiingas to disclose their HIV status, both within the family and within their communities. Participants learn about how HIV affects their bodies, about the importance of sticking to their ARV regimens, and how they can disclose their HIV status and the status of their children.
Thanks to the Mbuya Daisy program, Gertrude found the strength to tell her son the truth. But, it was nearly too late.
“I had stopped taking the drugs,” Sholdon says, who is now 20. “But when my mother told me about the importance of taking the drugs, I started again. And I’ve even encouraged other friends to continue taking their drugs.”
“I teach that it is very important to take the drugs because when you are taking the drugs, there is nothing wrong,” Sholdon says. “You will live a normal life, you will be healthy.”
Sholdon plans to become a mechanic after he finishes school.
“I am very happy. I want this program to continue, because we have been able to go in the community and teach other women, other friends who have been living with the virus to come to the facility and join Mbuya Daisy,” Gertrude says.
Learn more about the Mbyua Daisy program and EGPAF or lend your support at pedaids.org.