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Stabroek News



Realities of HIV/AIDS - Diary of an HIV-positive, pregnant girl (Pt 8)
published: Monday | September 29, 2008

Keisha Shakespeare-Blackmore, Staff Reporter

Recap: Last week, Gabrielle* was faced with the challenge of finding food. Both she and her boyfriend, who is also HIV positive, are not working and most days, they have to eat mackerel and rice, which is not the best dish for someone who is pregnant.

As Gabrielle's* pregnancy progresses, she is plagued by the thought that her unborn baby could be born HIV positive.

She said the biggest challenge is that all the odds are stacked against the baby. But she is hoping for the best and she takes the necessary precautions. She told Flair that she envies mothers who have children who are HIV negative.

"They don't know how blessed they are that they don't have anything to worry about. They take for granted the simple pleasures of even breastfeeding, something I can never do," said Gabrielle sadly.

Recent experience

She recalled a recent experience when she was on a bus and a young man asked her for her telephone number. She said no, but he insisted. He told her he wanted to be her baby's stepfather. To get rid of him, she told him she was HIV positive.

"But he just said if that is what someone who is positive looks like, then, 'I want some please'," she recalled. She said she thought to herself, if he only knew what he was asking for.

"He does not know how frustrating it is to get up every day and take medication."

She said her boyfriend began taking medication five years ago and sometimes, he would cry when he had to take them.

"I didn't know what it was like until I began taking them myself. To get up every day and repeat the same process and go through upset stomach and nausea every day is very frustrating."

She explained that when she takes them, she feels ill and if she doesn't, both she and the baby could become ill, so there is just no escape.

She noted that despite everything she is going through, she still has to give God thanks.

"Even though my life is challenging, there are those who still have it a little harder, and I have to thank the Lord."

She said everyone has his or her burden to bear. Hers is being 19 years old, pregnant with her second child and without a job; but that is her cross. "Some crosses are a little heavier than some, but you still have to find one way or another to carry it."

Names changed to protect identity.

Send comments to: keisha.shakespeare@gleanerjm.com.

'They don't know how blessed they are that they don't have anything to worry about. They take for granted the simple pleasures of even breastfeeding, something I can never do.'

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