|Mwema at her home in Budiriro 5, Harare, Zimbabawe today|
Mwema has bravely agreed to work with ABH post natal in our 'Born HIV FREE Campaign' sharing the importance of knowing your status as a pregnant woman in order to protect your unborn child.
The following is Mwema’s account of her life in her words;
“I met John when I was 15 years old and at school, a brilliant student at Glen View 1 High School. We fell head over heels in love with each other and at age 16 I finally consented to have sexual relations with him. We eventually started staying together in January 1991 soon after writing my ‘O’ Level exams the previous November.
By age 22 I was a mother of 4; Chipo, Cassam, Assam and Julia. We considered ourselves a happy and blessed family since we had two boys and two girls. My third child Assam started ailing when he was 1 year old. He was subjected to a multitude of tests but to no avail. Lastly a certain white doctor asked for our consent to test the child for HIV. We agreed and the results came back positive. We were confused and found it hard to believe it was true. Very little information was available about the disease and eventually we decided to ignore the doctor’s prescription and continued to look for a doctor who would give a “better” diagnosis. Meanwhile my child’s health continued to deteriorate and in August 2001 Assam passed away. My eldest daughter Chipo is also HIV positive but has a strong immune system and has survived and is now the mother of one. Cassa, and Julia were born IV negative.
Shortly after that I became seriously ill and was also diagnosed as being HIV Positive. Later I recovered due to the great care I received at Mashambanzou. I grew stronger and became independent again and carried on with my life.
Later I met a man who I developed a relationship with and I fell pregnant some time after that. When I was pregnant he left me.
When I was 7 months pregnant I met Rudo [founder of the Art of Being Humane Foundation] and she helped me with money to register at the clinic and get onto the ARV Therapy that is supposed to protect my baby from getting HIV from me. In January 2012 I gave birth to not one but two babies...girls...the initial HIV tests for them were negative praise God. There are more tests to be done and they are on medication to cover them while I am breastfeeding them.
The Art of Being Humane helped me with a food hamper and baby clothes after my girls were born and I am grateful to them for that."
|Learn more about our Born HIV FREE Campaign here|
Read the first part of Mwema's Story here