Presentation on theme: "ZIMBABWE AIDS NETWORK PREVENTION OF MOTHER TO CHILD TRANSMISSION OF HIV (PMTCT) and ELIMINATION OF NEW HIV INFECTIONS IN CHILDREN ZIMBABWE AIDS NATIONAL."— Presentation transcript:
ZIMBABWE AIDS NETWORK PREVENTION OF MOTHER TO CHILD TRANSMISSION OF HIV (PMTCT) and ELIMINATION OF NEW HIV INFECTIONS IN CHILDREN ZIMBABWE AIDS NATIONAL CONFERENCE 5 – 9 September 2011 Celebration Centre, Harare SHARING MY EXPERIENCE BY TENDAYI WESTERHOF
BRIEF BACKGROUND:- The realities of an HIV Positive woman This story is meant to inspire every HIV positive woman out there. It’s a story of hope, its about my baby and me. I am 45 years old. I was diagnosed HIV positive when I was already pregnant in 2002.
THE PMTCT CONTEXT AT THAT TIME Many HIV+ pregnant women at that time failed to access PMTCT services due to lack of information and knowledge. At the time there was very little information about PMTCT offered in public hospitals. The environment was not condusive for pregnant HIV positive mothers to reveal their status because of stigma and discrimination associated with an HIV positive status.
THE PMTCT CONTEXT AT THAT TIME ……… (contd) Many pregnant HIV mothers failed to access entry to treatment and prevention of transmission for their babies. Routine HIV testing for pregnant mothers was not common, though these services were offered at selected health delivery centres. There was also very little information on legalised abortion in the case of HIV+ women. There was coerced tub ligation for HIV pregnant women.
MY FEAR, ANXIETY AND DISCLOSURE I was anxious of the implication of being HIV positive and carrying a baby to which I received continuous counseling during my pregnancy. My entry point to PMTCT was through a private practice Gynaecologist.
The Interventions The doctor recommended AZT prophylaxis that I took six weeks before delivery, procured through personal resources. The drugs were costly at the time. I delivered a healthy baby girl weighing 4kgs through caesarean section, although this was an expensive procedure. The baby was given a dosage of Nevirapine a few hours after birth.
Interventions cont. I did not breastfeed her. Milk formular was expensive but I soldiered on for the sake of the baby. My baby was put on a paediatric prophylaxis called Cotrimoxazole until she was 18 months. This AZT prophylaxis and the Nevirapine dose were meant to reduce chances of vertical transmission through reduction of the viral load in order to reduce infection to the baby in the womb.
THE HIV TESTING FOR MY BABY At 18 months my baby tested for HIV at my own initiative. She was HIV negative. My little girl is now 8 years old and is in school. she has not experienced any health problems related to HIV. This was made possible because Of the PMTCT programme.
OTHER KEY SUCCESS FACTORS The counseling also emphasized the importance of nutrition to maintain a healthy nutritional status to sustain the baby growth and myself. The issue of stress management was also emphasized as a key strategy of positive living especially during pregnancy. To a greater extend family support also contributed to my strength. This process initiated me to seek for more information on HIV and AIDS and an Activist was born as this made me stronger and courageous.
There was a critical gap in my life after delivery of the baby because the gynaecologist was only concerned with safe delivery of the baby. I realized that my health was fast deteriorating. I consulted another private doctor a general practitioner, this time and went through a series of tests again and was initiated on ART. At the time, most of the services were accessible through private practice and did cost dearly. This marked my journey of hope into a healthy and productive life. Post Natal Care Services: MY ACCESS TO ARV TREATMENT ?
MY LIFE TODAY This year marks my 7th year on ART and I am still on first line treatment. My quality of life has improved. Despite the several treatment side effects that I experience initially. Looking at the challenges that I faced, the stigma and the discrimination as a Public personality this motivated me to start an organization, PPAAT and help other public personalities. PPAAT is a member of Zimbabwe AIDS Network. PPAAT is not working in isolation but is networking with like minded organizations, the likes of ZNNP+, ICW to further the push for universal access to HIV treatment.
MY RECOMMENDATIONS In conclusion, I wish to make recommendations As:- 1.There should be a deliberate attempt to ensure that private practitioners are better equipped and constantly updated in order to address HIV and AIDS in line with the response. Imagine what could have happened to me and my baby if the gynaecologist did not know about PMTCT? 2.There is need for information and integrated service delivery to ensure quick and efficient ART initiation for mothers as part of ante- post- natal care. 3. There is need for community support to affected women and their families. 4. There is also need for peer to peer support- PMTCT ambassadors to provide comprehensive psychosocial support to other mothers being initiated on the same programme.