The following post was written by Thabsile Sithole, North Star Alliance Peer Educator at the Ngwenya Roadside Wellness Centre in Swaziland
My name is Thabsile and I am a 37 year old peer educator at North Star Alliance’s Ngwenya Wellness Centre in Swaziland.
I am not sure when I contracted HIV. When I became pregnant in 2003 I went to the antenatal clinic. I was given a blood test and discovered that I was HIV positive.
I was very shocked when I learned about my HIV status and I felt scared for my health and the health of my baby. But the counsellor at the clinic for prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) gave me hope. She told me that there were things I could do to prevent my baby from contracting HIV including using a special formula to replace breast feeding.
My son is now 9 years old. He is HIV-Negative and he is a happy, healthy child. I am so glad to be working at the Ngwenya Wellness Centre, where I have the opportunity to provide encouragement to women who are going through what I went through and where I can help them participate in PMTCT programmes.
My son and I have a bright future ahead of us. I would like to further my studies in HIV counseling and testing and I am planning the same thing for him when he gets older. I am grateful for my doctor and for everything he has done for me. This is why on Mother’s Day, I want to take the opportunity to encourage women everywhere to learn more about PMTCT and to visit their doctor to learn about their HIV status and about how to keep themselves and their children healthy.
Happy Mother’s Day from all of us in Ngwenya, and from North Star Alliance.