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Mrs J. M., Democratic Republic of Congo

Mrs J. M., Democratic Republic of Congo – I am 40 years old and I have been HIV-positive since 2 June 2005. I have lived positively with my status for six years. In the beginning it wasn't at all easy because it seemed as though I was living in a nightmare. Being HIV-positive was a shock. Eventually, I understood that I needed to start by coming to terms with and accepting the state of my health in order to live well. But how?

I remember my situation then as though it were yesterday. Only three months after having told my status to my husband, with whom I had had five children, he chased me away and I didn't know where to go. I used to cook once a week to feed my children. And during this time, I had many relapses.

God is great and compassionate. At Parlons SIDA [Let's talk AIDS] they understood that despite my HIV-positive status, I was still of worth for my family and for society. They took me under their wing and gave me spiritual, psychological, medical and moral support. The team was always ready to listen to me, to strengthen me, to support me, to counsel me. Since then, I have understood that my path for reducing the prevalence of HIV is to live in abstinence for the good of others, and also to bring up my children well.

Being poor is a tragedy. But in this tragedy, one always meets people who are ready to give you a hand. Parlons-SIDA has done this with a lot of compassion despite their limited finances. My prescriptions for opportunistic infections have been honoured and two of my children have remained in school until this day. One of my children, who was six months old at the time when I was weak, brought down and abandoned, has never gone without the Nido powdered milk which Parlons-SIDA gave me for her. Without this compassion and solicitude, I truly never would have seen this six-month-old infant become a beautiful three-year-old girl.

Moreover, thanks to Parlons-SIDA, I studied at the Institut Technique Médical (Technical Institute of Medicine) and today I am an 'A2' nurse and useful to society. Yesterday, I was was unstable, rejected, humiliated and abandoned, and now today, I have regained hope and a relish for life. I know that I need to work to give my children a future and also to demonstrate to others who are sick the same attitude of sacrifice, love and compassion rooted in Jesus Christ which Parlons-SIDA revealed.

In 2006, I was on antiretroviral therapy. I remember that there needed to be someone to be my witness and sign a little document as required by the GTZ so that the doctor could give me this antiretroviral treatment. Instead of my husband--the one who, along with me, said 'yes', for better or for worse--it was my eight-year-old child who was my witness. Since then, he has supervised the taking of my medication. He has also taught his younger brother to do likewise. These two 'angels' give me my medication, knowing the time at which I need to take it and the correct dose. O God, take care of these children as they want their mother to live positively. Do not forget them whenever they call upon You. Remove them from every danger, and may they live in happiness. This is my prayer for them.

There is much more I could relate, but I would not know how to say all there is to say.