In our day-to-day lives, we generally don’t spend all that much time thinking about HIV if we don’t have it. We, therefore, pick up pieces of information here and there—some of which we’ve heard in passing, others of which may be years outdated. In the end, we often hold these “facts” as truths despite them being way off the mark.
It’s been 37 years since the first outbreak of HIV/AIDS was reported in US. When AIDS first showed up, it was a very mysterious disease. It killed a lot of people. Over the years, the number of people affected by HIV/AIDS has decreased, but there are still a lot of misconceptions about the disease, one being that, ‘HIV Positive partners cannot have a normal baby.’
However, the fact is that HIV infected women are fertile and can have children. If mothers and their babies use the correct medication, it’s possible for HIV-positive women to have HIV-negative babies.
Nagratna Ramgowda, an HIV+ mother of a healthy baby
Nagratna Sunil Ramgowda from Karnataka is a living example who is an HIV Positive survivor, leading a healthy life without any fears.
Speaking with our reporters, Nagratna shares her story where she reveals that she was detected with HIV Virus but without any fears, has a child today who is HIV negative, leading a healthy normal life.
Nagratna, a victim of child marriage, was married at the age of 17. Five months of her marriage, her husband was detected with HIV Positive virus which changed loves of both.
“One day, my husband went to KLE Hospital to donate blood when he discovered that he was HIV Positive. However, instead of informing me about the same, he took me to the hospital telling, “I have high BP and Sugar, and so we need to get you checked also.”
“You have AIDS, you have three months to live,” the doctor said to Nagratna.
When the doctor tells you that you are going to die soon, more than the condition, it is the words that torture you.
The worst part of HIV is that behaviour of the people around you including the doctors, change towards you. Apart from suffering from HIV, there were persistent questions, “you have been married for four years but you still don’t have children. Are you infertile?”
“Dr Shivram came as a rescuer. He was the first one to counsel me and tell me that I could live with HIV and also have the healthy normal children. With that confidence, I and my husband decided to try for a child. We were blessed with a baby boy but the fear of baby being infected by HIV persisted in our hearts. For a definitive test of HIV, a baby must be 18 months old. Once our baby turned 18 months, we took him to the Civil hospital for the test. “
Nagratna and her husband had decided to end their lives including that of the child if the test showed ‘HIV Positive’. But with the Gods grace, “the counsellor while handling over the reports, showed us a thumbs up with a smile.” The report said that the baby was not HIV positive.
“Since that point, we decided to work for the society and raise awareness about HIV and AIDS. It has been 12 years since I started this awareness programme. We wanted to make people not to be scared of living with HIV and tell them that they can have a healthy child born.
Nagratna started training the college students, village people and factory employees about HIV and AIDS, believing that, ‘if the youth of the country is aware, the future generations will be better off.’