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Irene Yoyeta: 'I Dream of a Bright Future for My Children'

My name is Irene Yoyeta. I am 38 years old, a widow, and a mother of six children, three of whom are HIV-positive.

In 2002, when I was pregnant, I visited Mulago Hospital [in Kampala, Uganda]. The clinic offered me HIV testing. I agreed. I was stunned to learn that I had HIV.

After I gave birth to my son, I returned to the hospital to have my baby tested. Because two of my other children were sick, I also took them for an HIV test. To my shock, I learned that all three of my youngest children had HIV. My three older children were afraid to be tested.

For many months, I could not cope. At times, I could not remember what I was doing. My children even had to help me cook our meals. I was convinced that this was the end of the world for us. My relatives abandoned us. They felt that we were doomed and that there was no use in helping my family.

The MTCT-Plus Initiative gave me new hope. I was encouraged to move forward. The health visitors, counselors, and doctors visited me at home and treated me with love and tender care. The support group even gave me a loan of 50,000 shillings ($25) to help me run a small business. I have come a long way. I went through training and have become a Peer Educator for the MTCT-Plus Initiative. I feel good to be able to help others, so they don’t have to go through what I went through.

I am currently receiving treatment, along with my 12-year-old. My other infected children are also receiving care. It is remarkable that all my family members can get the services they need from the MTCT-Plus Initiative.

I dream of a bright future for my children. I dream of a world where they can be educated and where they can grow and prosper. I dream of a world where they can help contribute to the conquest of HIV.

I thank the team for the love, care, and treatment they have given to me and my children. They changed my life and made me who I am today.