Personal story: Akudzwe
Finding out you are HIV positive while you are pregnant:
'This baby saved my life, and I am so grateful for that'
"I am currently 6 months pregnant; I am 25 and found out that I have HIV when I went to my first OBGYN appointment. I just got married a month prior to the man of my dreams. When they told us my whole world stopped, I couldn't breathe. I looked at my husband and my eyes filled with tears. I was petrified – for my life and the life of my unborn child. My husband immediately held me close while I cried. He asked to be tested as well. His test came back negative. Thank God! But then I thought for sure he was going to leave me... And I wouldn't blame him.
How could this happen to me? You only hear about this happening to gay people where I am from. But that is not true at all – HIV does not discriminate. I went to the infectious disease doctor and found out that I have had HIV for 7 years. This meant that I got it when I was 17 years old, and that my counts came back that I had AIDS.
If I wouldn't have become pregnant right when I did and found out I was positive ... I would be dead by next year. This baby saved my life, and I am so grateful for that. My husband did not leave me… Our relationship is so strong now because of this. I appreciate my family and everyone and thing so much more… I appreciate a beautiful day and a wet kiss from my dog.
My biggest fear is that my baby will be born positive. I am on medications to prevent it. So hopefully the baby will be healthy. I do feel like an outcast. I ask myself why me every day, I rack my brain wondering who could have given it to me... I guess I will never know, and I have to look ahead and be thankful for my husband and my baby on the way."
What we say
Expectant mothers living with HIV can reduce the risk of passing HIV to their child to almost zero by taking antiretroviral treatment and following advice on how to feed their baby from their doctor. This is why it is so important for all expectant mothers like Akudzwe to be tested for HIV during pregnancy – both for their own health and for the health of their unborn child. For more information, check out our page on HIV, pregnancy and childbirth.
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These personal stories have been submitted to us anonymously by individuals who use our site. Some of the stories have been edited for clarity purposes and names have been changed to protect identities.