Subscribe to the E.V.A. newsletter and stay up to dateSubscribe

An Important Connection

Personal story of a mother with HIV

I’m 30 years old. I live with my husband and two children. My oldest child is 12 years old and my youngest is 10 months.

I’ve had HIV since about 2013. I found out at the hospital when I landed in the infectious diseases department with a high temperature. After a week they told me that I had HIV. I’m open about my status with my family and loved ones. They all know that I have this disease. In social institutions I don’t reveal my status, and in medical institutions I do, but it causes a lot of stress. For example, at the dentist, I see some kind of fear in people, disapproval, some kind of caution towards me. It annoys me sometimes.

When I had my first child, I didn’t have HIV. But before I got pregnant for the second time, I already knew that I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed. This caused me a lot of worry, because it seemed to me that breastfeeding is such an important connection between a woman and her baby, and it was scary that we wouldn’t have that. But there weren’t any other options, so my second child was fed formula. My husband, my older daughter, my mom and my friends know that I’m HIV positive. Even at my workplace they know. Questions about how I was feeding my baby didn’t come up. At the hospital I told them about my status, and that because of this I wasn’t breastfeeding, but there was no need to tell anybody else.

I heard from some people I know that I could get free baby formula or a benefit, and then from the pediatrician in the children’s polyclinic. They give us formula but I also buy more because it’s not enough for my baby. I’d like for them to provide more formula.

Support E.V.A.

For 11 years we have been helping HIV-positive women all over Russia to unite and set aside their rights and their dignity as equals among equals.

Even a small donation will help peer consultants do their work and find a way out of difficult situations where the state, relatives and friends are turning away.