Preventing HIV Transmission with Meetings & Livelihoods Support

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More than four years ago, Jodie got tested for HIV to find the devastating result that she was infected. Immediately, she was enrolled in GWED-G’s maternal health program with the help of a VHT (Village Health Team) member and started ARV treatment. Currently 34 years old, she has five children—all HIV-free—and is pregnant with her sixth one.

As a part of GWED-G’s maternal health program, Jodie attends weekly meetings—led by a VHT—with other mothers who are also beneficiaries. At first, she felt ambivalent as to whether these discussions would be helpful. Challenges from taking care of her five children, managing her pregnancy, dealing with her health issues—HIV and severe chronic ulcer—have dimmed any remaining hope for an alternative future. However, as weeks rolled by, she found herself with increased confidence and stopped isolating herself—an act that she resorted to due to her depression. With a support system, Jodie feels less lonely in grappling with her troubles.

To ameliorate the excess financial burdens experienced by Jodie—her husband does not have a source of income—GWED-G’s Goat & Livelihood Program provided her with goats and vegetable seeds. She mentioned that the seeds were very useful, and that she was preparing her garden for this year. With the money that she earns from selling the vegetables and her goat’s offspring, Jodie is able to send her children to school. Nonetheless, the money is not enough to extend their education to secondary school; most likely, they will have to drop out of school to help her farm.

Jodie acknowledges the limitations that GWED-G faces in providing for all of their program beneficiaries, and is grateful for all of the help she has received thus far. She hopes that the program continues to support her, as she feels a better sense of community and care than before.