Attending AIDS 2012 was an experince I shall live to always cherish for the rest of my life, and I have shared with PLWH women in the clinic (in Lagos, Nigeria) where I access treatment from just two days after I got home. They are all happy about the fact that someone has been cured of HIV. That is what I love to do --giving HOPE and having hope! I was able to give some of them The Well Project and A Girl Like Me buttons and wristbands, there was not enough to go around.
After I got back, I spoke with many mothers at the children's HIV clinic. After I finished sharing my experience from the conferance with them all, I took time also to answer some qustions. I responded to qustions on PMTCT and access to treatment and information, and cutting down of AIDS funds. I met a sister of a 13 year old teenager who is HIV+ and has been on ARVS for two years, but has not been told about her status. Now her CD4 cells are coming down, what this means is that she may be failing treatment. I counseled the elder sister on important for the girl to know her status.
But in all of this the one that breaks my heart, is a mother who came to me to tell me that she just found out her status during her second pregnancy. She was encouraged to bring her first child, a little girl of six years old, for HIV screening and the daughter turned out positive. At a point she ran after me, and held tight on me cried on my shoulder, and when I looked around me I saw two shining eyes full of surprise and shocked. Behold, it was the six year old girl and seeing her mum in such pain, really breaks my heart. I pinched the mother and whispered to her ears telling her to get a grasp of herself and I went to the little girl to embrace her, telling her that am a friend to her mother. A moment after, I took the mother for a counselling session and what amazes her most is that her daughter could be living with the virus for six years without any symptoms. The bottom line of all these is that people lack adequate information and awareness of HIV/AIDS at the local community level. Inadequate knowledge about this virus at the grassroots level has really fueled its spread across the world.
Today I am having a meeting in one of the community hospital HIV clinics, to identify more OVCs. I can talk more about my experience with them too. My experiences are great and overwhelming that I just don't know how to put them into words. But the greatest part of them all is knowing and meeting all those great ladies, wish I now chose to call my sisters from another mother. I learned something great from my A Girl Like Me sisters, things that are helping me in my marriage. I use my insight to see how happy one can be if really allow youself and that is what I have desided to do with my life.