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Svetlana’s Story

We continue our series of personal stories of mothers of HIV-positive children. Next up is the story of Svetlana, raising two marvelous girls, one of…
дети вич

We continue our series of personal stories of mothers of HIV-positive children. Next up is the story of Svetlana, raising two marvelous girls, one of whom is HIV-positive.
 
“There once was a small, shy girl. She grew up with parents who loved and cared for her. She played sports and danced. She graduated from school and went on to continue her studies.
 
Then she met a boy. He lied through his teeth so beautifully that finally she fell in love with those same teeth. She left her parents’ house to live with her love and dropped out of school to start working. They lived with his mother; her darling ‘had problems’ with work and they needed to live on something. The sweet words about their beautiful future, about children, etc. continued. And bam- I got pregnant. I gave birth to a perfect daughter. My husband got a job. And everything was fine…
 
But a year after having given birth I was to have a minor operation and I needed to have an HIV test done. I was called in to see the director of the clinic, and I was asked questions like: “How many men have you slept with, do you use drugs, etc?”. I was sent to the AIDS center to retake the test with my child. And what followed was a terrible nightmare…
 
My baby was also found to have HIV (during my pregnancy, nothing was detected – there was a “window” period). What didn’t I hear: what kind of mother I was, that I’d be imprisoned for infecting my child… To that my darling said, “Don’t worry, you won’t be given too harsh a sentence, you do have a small child”. I struggled to accept my diagnosis, I felt embarrassment, pain, anger, incomprehension — from where, why did this happen to me? I had a strong feeling of guilt about my child (in the AIDS center I was told that in two years, maximum three, my daughter would die from the virus). I fell into a deep depression and I started drinking and one day I almost jumped from the 8th floor. This thought stopped me: ‘If you don’t need your child, then who will?’. And at that point my world turned upside down.
 
As soon as I accepted my diagnosis, I realized all its seriousness and I felt much better. I told my mother everything and she was very worried, but she supported me. I transferred to another AIDS center. I give great thanks to the pediatric infectious disease doctor of the center. She assured me that my daughter and I would live long and that we should simply take special medication. My daughter’s been on treatment for three years already. I was assigned to therapy seven years after diagnosis. Two years after I was diagnosed with HIV, my husband admitted that he had been using drugs the entire time and that he knew that his acquaintances were infected with HIV. What happened to me next I won’t even begin to tell (there are no words to describe my feelings). All those years I had to prove that I wasn’t a drug user and that I wasn’t having affairs…
 
After that confession, life became worse. Everything disappeared from the house – from money to equipment to children’s toys. When my daughter was 4 years old, I could no longer put up with it and I kicked him out (at that time we were living with my parents). Of course, he never had helped out material-wise.
 
Without excessive modesty I will say that my daughter is growing up smart, humble, and beautiful. From the age of five I gradually started to prepare her to learn about her diagnosis. I drew pictures, explained in ‘kids language’ why she needed to take medicine (we always called them vitamins, it was easier for us) without naming the diagnosis itself. When she went to first grade, I told her what her condition was called. Now we talk freely about it, she asks questions, and I answer.
 
Now I live with another man. We gave birth to a healthy daughter. My older daughter is already eleven. She studies excellently, dances, draws, and performs. She is my pride, my ‘angel’. The younger one is a year and four months old. She is my small miracle.
 
Don’t ever despair; love and care for your children. After all, they are the only joy that life is really worth living for. Happiness and health to you and your loved ones!
 
P.S.: I was greatly helped by communicating with the women and children’s help group with the symbol “+”. It is a great support. Don’t be alone with your troubles!».
 

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