Resilience in Managing Life with HIV

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Andrea is the mother of two children and is currently pregnant with her third. Two months ago, during her antenatal checkup at the health clinic, Andrea tested positive for HIV. After learning about her new status, she enrolled into GWED-G’s program for HIV prevention and maternal health. Andrea’s husband has also been diagnosed with HIV and has been on antiretroviral treatment (ARV) for approximately five years. However, Andrea’s husband never disclosed his positive status to Andrea or the other two women he is currently married to. Andrea’s husband made additional efforts to conceal his positive HIV status by forcing all his wives to deliver their children at home, rather than the health center where they would have received a routine HIV test. Andrea lives with her two co-wives, and altogether they raise seven children. Andrea’s co-wives are unaware of their true HIV status since they have not been recently tested. For now, her co-wives assume that they are healthy and are therefore not enrolled on ARV. Andrea wishes to inform them of her and their husband’s positive HIV status, but she is afraid of receiving violent backlash from her husband.

Andrea was devastated when she first discovered that she was HIV positive. Trying to raise her children, while pregnant, has already proved extremely difficult for her. Now that Andrea is HIV positive, trying to manage her health has only amplified the challenges of providing for her family. Andrea’s husband offers little support to help ease her burdens; at times, he often does more harm than good by wasting the family’s earnings, obtained from selling crops, to support his drinking addiction. By drinking a sizable portion of their income away, he leaves Andrea with insufficient funds for purchasing food, medicine, and other necessities.

Despite her numerous hardships, Andrea remains resilient. Although her husband is unrelenting and extremely troublesome, Andrea’s remarkably strong will continues to foster her motivation. Andrea claims that she now simply focuses on her children and being happy, while doing her best to ignore her husband’s brutish behavior. Now that Andrea is enrolled into GWED-G’s maternal health program, the organization plans to provide her with continuous support. Last week, GWED-G gifted Andrea with a mama kit in hopes that her third child will also be born HIV negative. In addition, GWED-G already plans to schedule counseling for Andrea to aid her in managing life with HIV and improving her and her husband’s relationship.  With her perseverance and GWED-G’s active support, Andrea remains optimistic about what the future will offer for her and her family.