AIDS Crisis in Africa: Living HIV-Positive

My name is Azalea*. I live with my daughter. She is 10, in grade four and is second in her class. So, we are two people in the family. My husband passed away several years ago after a short disease. He was suffering from a liver problem.

We eat rice, millet pastry and beans. As we are only two, I cook once a day. After breakfast, I cook and we eat the meal at noon, and in the evening I reheat the leftovers and we eat.

We are living in an urban area. We have electricity and running water in the community, but only for those who can afford it. We also have a medical center in the neighborhood. Most people sell small items to feed their families.

I discovered my daughter was HIV-positive in 2005. She was suffering from severe chickenpox. The treating doctor suggested us to take an AIDS test. We agreed, and the child was declared HIV-positive.

I do not know how she got the disease, if it was during her birth or during the blood transfusion she got when she was very little.

My daughter does not yet know she is HIV-positive, but I will surely tell her. As I do not know how she will react, I am looking for the right moment to tell her.

I am also HIV-positive, but I do not know how and when I got infected. When the doctor discovered that my daughter was HIV-positive, he encouraged me to take the test and that was how I came to know.

I was very shocked when I found out. I was asking myself how I would live with the disease and how others would react.

Four years after being declared HIV-positive, I am still asking myself the same questions. And sometimes I even think of killing my daughter and committing suicide. I would not like to die and leave my daughter alone. Who will take care of her?

I have found no way out of this. In fact, it is because I do believe that God can make a way that I am still alive; otherwise I would have killed myself long ago.

People living with AIDS are not seen well. They are criticized and stigmatized. Whenever people know or even suspect you are HIV-positive they stop talking to you and won’t come to your house anymore.

My daughter and I are under antiretroviral drug therapy (ART) since 2005, just after the AIDS screening test.

My daughter takes lamivudine, aloe-vera and zidovudine. She takes one tablet of each drug in the morning and in the evening.

As for me, I take aloe-vera and zidovudine. I also take one tablet of each drug in the morning and in the evening.

So far we feel good and have not yet experienced any side effects. The doctor said that my daughter may start to vomit, or her eyes and hands may turn white, and he told me to bring her to him in this case. But so far everything is all right.

I would like God to give long life to my child. I am praying for God to make her succeed in life and be self-sufficient, and the Lord knows where to put her.

She has not yet told me about her dream, but she uses to say that when she grows up and gains a lot of money she will build a big house. I always tell her, “The Lord will give you long life and ability to achieve what you plan to do!”

After Azalea shared about her circumstances with me, she and her daughter took part in a sensitization campaign for caregiveres at the child development center.

People in Azalea’s community believe that they will be infected if they dare get close to HIV-positive people. Through these sensitization campaigns that Azalea’s church conducts from time to time, many people in the community have started to learn about the disease, and the stigma is decreasing.

When Azalea and her daughter returned home, the daughter asked so many questions that Azalea seized the opportunity to talk about their HIV-positive statuses.

The daughter asked many questions to understand more about HIV and AIDS. They talked positively, and there was no negativity. Praise God!

You can help families like Azalea’s by supporting Compassion’s AIDS Initiative today.

*Azalea is not the mother’s real name. Her name was changed for this blog post to protect her privacy.

12 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Themba July 26, 2010

    Sister I can not know how you feel, but only you can tell.I can say to you there are still people like me, who will say you are special and I care about you. Forgive those who have treated bad because you HIV positive and know that in God you are special.He love s and care about you more that any one. Hold on to Jesus.never give up.Contact me to talk more

  2. Daniel YAMEOGO June 23, 2010

    Thank you Paul Henry for the story
    May God help this family

  3. Susan Rodenbaugh Martin June 17, 2010

    If I could only share all my hugs that I have with me. Thank you for all you are doing Mr. Kabore. My sponsored daughter in BF is 12 and hopefully she is safe from this terrible part of the lives people suffer there. I can’t wait to visit her and hopefully meet you.

  4. steviferg December 8, 2009

    This really resonates with me, hearing similar stories in Honduras all the time. After hearing a story like this, I always try to give the lady a hug. Wish my arms were long enough to reach Azalea and her daughter.

  5. Paul Henri KABORE December 3, 2009

    Treating HIV+ people right remains a big challenge in Burkina Faso. the worst thing is that most people do not know their serology.Through the Compassion HIV/AIDS program, so many children and caregivers have been sensitized and took screening for AIDS and got their mind changed towards HIV+ people. Praise God!

  6. Michelle December 2, 2009

    How sad. I can’t even imagine getting to the point where I’d contemplate killing both myself and my child to escape a disease and the life that comes with the disease…

    All I can say is that I am SO GLAD that the sensitivity training is going on. Perhaps one day there will be more acceptance world-wide!

  7. Ismael December 2, 2009

    Thanks Paul Henri for sharing this story on Azalea and her mother. May God send a special touch to this family and make a difference in their lives in Jesus’name.

  8. Juli Jarvis December 2, 2009

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It really helps to personalize these situations for us. Praying for you too.

  9. Bob December 2, 2009

    I wonder how many of us will hear the words from our Galilean emperor, “I had AIDS and you weren’t afraid to come near me.”

    Link… Jesus has AIDS

  10. Tiffany December 2, 2009

    Thank you for sharing your story Azalea. I will say a prayer for you and your daughter. For your willingness to share with others your story. To tell others that HIV can’t be transferred just by being around an individual. You are a strong woman!

  11. Amy Wallace December 2, 2009

    It’s so sad to read that she was considering killing herself and her daughter. But thankfully, Compassion is there to help.

  12. R4i卡 December 2, 2009

    It’s so dangerious that AIDS is crisis in Africa.The African government have to think about this and awake people about this dangerous dises.They have to to use celebrity for this work.

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