September 28, 2016

Why my birthday is supporting HIV-free children this year

Written by Laure Heriard Dubreuil

This article originally appeared on Mission Motherhood.

Birthdays are incredibly special around my house. During my childhood, it was always back-to-school time on my birthday, which meant everyone was busy settling into new routines (I’m the eldest of four, so my mother was always busy in general – but especially in early September). Looking back on those years and reflecting on the mother I am now, I feel incredibly blessed with my family, my health, and the opportunities I have had in both my personal life and career.

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Cape Town, South Africa, and visited my favorite charity, mothers2mothers (m2m). Watching and hearing an HIV-positive mother thinking that her life is over is heartbreaking. I saw firsthand the struggles that HIV-positive mothers face dealing with their status and caring for their children at the same time. My heart aches for the stigma around HIV, and the lack of access to good healthcare information.

But the support provided to these women is incredible; m2m employs HIV-positive mothers to be Mentor Mothers, helping women learn they can live a healthy life and give birth to children who are HIV negative. m2m’s core model is based on these mothers, not only saving lives but empowering women to save the next generation, playing a huge role towards effecting real, positive change in the healthcare system.

I saw the way m2m wrapped its arms around each HIV-positive mother who entered a clinic. For the first time in a long time, these women saw hope. With proper care and access to medication, these mothers will see their next birthday, and be able to celebrate with their children.

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