that wasn’t to be.” They eventually divorced and it took time before Ms Dukashe found love again. “At first, I didn’t want to reveal my HIV status because I knew that it could be an issue, so I focused on my nursing studies. Eventually I fell in love with a guy and I feared he would reject me, but I had to tell him—I cannot live a lie. It took me three months to disclose my status, but to my surprise his response was much better than I hoped. He remains HIV-negative and he is the best husband and father of my children that I could ever ask for. When you have got that kind of support you can live healthily and even forget about HIV.”
Despite the love and support of her husband and family, the weight of living with HIV came flooding back to Dukashe when she and her husband started planning to have children. “When the time came for us to talk about preventing HIV transmission to our children, we needed to think carefully, plan and consult medical experts. That brought it all back for me and I got depressed for a while.”
But help was available, she says. “I got counseling and worked through those feelings and it was all worth it. I now have two wonderful children who were born without HIV. It was my responsibility and also my husband’s responsibility. We got great support and advice.
“Being able to give birth to HIV-negative children was a blessing because I believe if I did not test, my kids could have been born with HIV.”
“I want to encourage everybody in our situation: there is life after HIV, there is love. People should not think twice about going for an HIV test. It was the best decision I ever made, since I learned what to do to keep myself healthy and prevent transmission to my spouse and children. Thinking twice is not going to change the result.”
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