Esperança

From Mozambique: HIV, Healing and Hope

HIV testing and treatment is still met with hesitation and distrust in Mozambique, home to an estimated 2 million HIV-positive residents. Here, the disease is often not fully understood by community members and a positive diagnosis will more than likely result in a shunning from your family.

Rutey is a courageous and hardworking woman living in Mozambique. She and her 11-year-old son live in the small village of Maciene and survive on a small plot of land where they grow all their own food.

When Esperança met Rutey, she was 3-months pregnant with her second child.

After talking with Esperança’s health activists, Rutey consented to begin prenatal check-ups at the nearest hospital which included an HIV test.

When her test came back positive, Rutey was even more determined to follow Esperança’s recommendations for the health of her baby, despite the negative reaction of her partner. She began her regular antiretroviral treatment and never missed a prenatal appointment.

Unfortunately, this disease is ruthless.

After birth and a 4-day fight in an incubator, her baby passed on. He was tested to be HIV positive.

Thanks to Esperança’s holistic healthcare program in Mozambique, Rutey’s care did not end once she lost her baby. For three months our activists ensured that Rutey and her firstborn had a hot meal each day until she had regained enough energy to make a small vegetable garden in her backyard.

She continues to take her antiretroviral treatment to this day.

Rutley shared, “Esperança saved my life three times. The first, when they advised me to open the file as soon as possible, since I didn’t know my sero-status. The second time was when they accompanied me and advised me when I had to go get the HIV test results. The third time was to take care of me after childbirth.”

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Elena Burr