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Racing Around to the Polyclinics

The story of a mother living with HIV from Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug

I’m 36 years old. I live with my husband and two children. My older daughter is 3 years and 4 months old, and my younger one is one and a half. I don’t remember what year I got tested for HIV. It’s been more than 20 years. Since then I’ve been on the registry. Not many people know about my illness. Only those who are ready to accept this information appropriately. In social institutions I do not share my HIV status, and in medical institutions only if necessary. The district prenatal clinic and the doctors at the infections diseases department where I’m registered told me I could receive substitutes for breast milk. With my first baby, after I was discharged from the maternity hospital, a visiting nurse came over and explained in detail the list of documents I needed in order to get formula. Within a month we gathered everything and in the next month we received the formula. With our second child it was the same. For loved ones who don’t know about my HIV status, we came up with a story in advance: I’m not breastfeeding because I don’t want to lose the shape of my breasts. And we did not discuss my decision. When my second child turned out to have a lactose allergy, we continued to receive the regular lactose formula. I gave it to another mom and she bought us a non-lactose formula: I traded 9 packages of regular formula for two without lactose. It was very little.

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