HIV POSITIVE WOMEN GIVING BIRTH TO A GENERATION OF HIV FREE BABIES.

annaThirty three year old Anna Mokanyah is a mother of two – a ten year old son and an eleven month old baby girl.

She lives with her family in Mabopane, a township on the outskirts of Pretoria.

Unlike her two small children Anna is HIV positive and has been for the past ten years.

Although being HIV positive, Anna had casually gone to her local clinic to check on the status of her pregnancy,

“I found out about my HIV status in 2006 when I was pregnant with my first child…at the time I was six weeks pregnant.”

Though initially shocked by her results, Anna says the counsellor at the local clinic comforted her,

“he told me that this is not the end of the world. I can still deliver an HIV negative baby… if only I follow the protocol, after which I did”.

Anna’s counsellor told her to enlist on the Preventative Mother to Child Transmission programme available at the clinic that could provide her with lifesaving medication for her and her baby.

During the course of her pregnancy, Anna acquired diabetes; however she managed to deliver her healthy baby boy (name). “We were given Nevaraphine within 72 hours at the delivery ward; I delivered via caesarean because I had developed diabetes.”

After the delivery of her son, “at 6 weeks they tested the baby for HIV, the result came back negative, after that I went back home.” Anna tested her son again at one year and six months of age, the result negative again. He’s now ten years old, living HIV free.

“In 2015, I fell pregnant. If you are HIV positive you have to check firstly for CD4 count, and viral load. I did that and I checked my viral load, and it was undetectable, that’s when I (decided) to have a baby.”

Anna’s low viral load, maintaining her medication intake and healthy lifestyle, allowed her and her HIV negative partner to conceive another baby. This is mainly due to the advancements in the PMTCT services readily available at all local public clinics across the country.

Anna’s story is one of many in the country, where advancements in the provisions of the public health care system, are giving HIV positive women a chance at being mothers, giving birth to a generation of HIV negative baby’s.