Chantal* is a hospital laundry woman with a five-year-old son living in rural Rwanda. She tested positive for HIV shortly before finding out that she was pregnant with her second child. Thankfully, her son tested negative for the disease, and Chantal felt deeply committed to doing everything within her power to ensure that her second child also tested negative.
Chantal was immediately transferred from the Adult Infectious Disease Clinic to the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission Clinic (PMTCT), where she began triple antiretroviral therapy (ART) and received nutritional support in the form of food packages of sosoma (a nutritious mixture of sorghum, soy, and corn) and sugar.
As part of PIH’s HIV-Free Child Survival Program, Chantal followed-up regularly with the clinic and remained healthy throughout her prenatal care visits. In addition to the medical clinic, she also attended a counseling and education group for pregnant, HIV-positive women and their partners, which shared information about hygiene, nutrition, coping with stigma, prevention of transmission, family planning, child development, and parenting.
Six months ago, Chantal gave birth to a daughter who received immediate prophylaxis in order to prevent transmission. Chantal was also educated about replacement feeding and was provided with the materials needed to safely formula feed her new daughter, including jerry cans, a stove, fuel, oil, bottles, and formula. Chantal also receives a comprehensive package of services that includes community-based follow-up and regular education sessions as well as ART and food packages.
At six months, the baby has tested negative for HIV. Her thrilled mother remains committed to ensuring that the infant continues to test negative by adhering to replacement feeding and keeping herself healthy to be the mother her children need.
*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of the patient.