Our UNC interns were blessed with opportunity to meet a woman who successfully prevented the spread of HIV to her child. Read more of this touching story.
Akumu Fildar is a young woman who sells roasted corn by the roadside. She is happily married and loves children.
Two years ago, Akumu’s first child—a baby boy—died in infancy. When she became pregnant again, she was very happy, but she lost the pregnancy at six months. Hurting in body and soul, she came to New Life Medical Center for help.
“The nurses were so kind to me. That is why I kept coming back,” Akumu remembers. “They greet me with joy here!”
At her first visit, Akumu discovered that she is HIV-positive. She was started on anti-retroviral drug therapy, which helps curb the virus from worsening.
“Some people are afraid of the drugs,” she said. “I would tell anyone, if they find out they are HIV-positive, that these drugs are good. Don’t worry about taking them because, they will help you.”
Akumu has a good reason to believe in anti-retroviral drugs. When she became pregnant again, she went straight to the health center. Throughout her pregnancy, the midwives at New Life followed up with her to make sure she, and her baby, stayed healthy. Finally, in January 2013, Akumu delivered an HIV-negative baby girl. She named her daughter Angel.
Even though Angel was born HIV-negative, Akumu still had to be very careful and give her daughter medicine to prevent the baby from getting HIV through breastfeeding. Now, 18 months later, Angel is a chubby, strong, playful little girl.
“The reason my child is alive today is because of those drugs,” Akumu said.
As she tells her story, Akumu cannot stop beaming. Angel’s third and final HIV test has come back. It’s negative, and she can’t wait to go home and tell her husband.
“I am so glad that now my baby won’t have to take drugs for the rest of her life.”
Akumu wants to have one more child so that Angel can be a sister. “The best thing about being a mother,” she says, “is that no matter what she does, I always love my daughter.”
Story by Tori Lebrun Video and Photos by Brianne Kallam