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HIV/AIDS Resource Center for African Americans
Kai Chandler Lois Crenshaw Gary Paul Wright Fortunata Kasege Keith Green Lois Bates Greg Braxton Vanessa Austin Bernard Jackson

Fortunata Kasege

March 25, 2008

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Fortunata Kasege 

About Fortunata Kasege

Table of Contents

HIV Diagnosis

What was the first thing you did when you were diagnosed?

I was terrified. I don't remember being that scared in my life. It was a horrifying moment for me. I fell, cried hysterically. It took a long time for me to recover from that news.

Where were you when you found out?

I was at the nurse's office. They called me just a few weeks after they took my blood work and other tests for the prenatal visit. They called me before my appointment date and told me that I needed to go in to the office. Still, that was the last thing I was expecting to hear. They told me, and of course, one of the first questions I asked the nurse was, "Is my child going to be okay? What will happen to my baby?"

I was worried a lot about her well-being, and they told me that, here in this country, we have treatment available. You will start right away, you're not going to die -- I kept saying that I was going to die, I was going to die, because that's what I know happens when you get diagnosed in my country. They just die so quickly. I didn't even think I would stay alive to see my daughter growing, so I was crying for that reason, too. They said, "We're going to put you on the medicine to protect the baby from getting it. The baby's going to be born healthy, hopefully, and you will be okay, too, because we'll run more tests for you. You'll be fine!" I had to see that happening for me to believe that.

How did you cope? How did you get from being overwrought with anxiety to becoming an activist and being at peace?

It wasn't an easy road. If it wasn't for the great group of professionals who were providing counseling for me, I don't know what I'd do! ... I did promise my doctor that I will do everything that I'm supposed to to make sure I'm okay, and to make sure the baby's okay. I didn't miss a dosage of medicine that they gave me for the baby. I went to the counseling, I was receiving every service that I could to make sure that I'm surviving. I had days when I would just stay home and cry all day, but then after talking to different people, I remember going to my first support group.

There I found people who had lived with this disease for 10, 20 years. A group of women. I was amazed how healthy they looked, how beautiful they looked, how positive-spirited they were. I think it's the combination of those professionals and the people that I saw that lived with this disease for a long time that slowly had an effect on how positive I became.

I really felt like everyone was just trying to make me feel better. Later you meet the actual people, and you think, "Oh, yeah, they do live longer, and this is it. Maybe I can make it like this person made it." I met some women whose children graduated from high school, and they were [diagnosed] while they were pregnant with [those children], same situation like my daughter. So that encourages you more than any other material can do.

I ask questions. I'm a very curious patient. The doctors or people who have worked with me know this. I always ask questions, because then I reduce my level of anxiety. When I get answers, when I know, when I educate myself, I worry less. It didn't happen overnight. But I think that that's why, right now, I am working on helping other people. As far as the hope and being encouraged, it happened faster when I met somebody, an actual person who went through what I'm going through. When I met the person and looked at them, the level of encouragement happened faster than if somebody or my doctor's just telling me, "You'll be okay."

Do you remember who the first person was that you told, after you were diagnosed?

It was a friend of me and the father of my daughter, who had escorted us to the doctor's office. I remember panicking and after I got myself off the floor, I ran outside where the father of my child was sitting with his friend. I just screamed, "I have AIDS, I have AIDS, oh my god, I'm going to die, I'm scared!"

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I think I kind of went [laughs] a little over the top, compared to some people I've met where they're a bit more quiet. That explains how the devastation is in Africa, as far as death. I just saw death when I heard that. That's how I reacted.

After that, I was disclosing this news to my family one at a time. I had to recover first, before I had the nerve to tell somebody. Not easy. Some people, it took years for me to tell them, because you always worry how the person is going to react. Is your relationship to the person going to be the same, or are they going to be scared of you? Are they going to treat you differently? But my family had always stayed positive with me, and very encouraging.

What was the reaction of your friend and your partner when you told them?

They were shocked, of course. The friend of ours' eyes were big, and [he said], "Oh my gosh, this is a tragedy; oh my gosh, this is not happening!" And my ex (now) was crying all over the place. We hugged each other and cried.

We had so many questions about me and the baby. We just wanted to know what's going to happen next. We went home thinking, maybe it's our last days. Even though they told us we were going to be okay, we still thought we were so close to dying. I'm living proof now that there's life after diagnosis. There's life, you just have to do the right things, hang out with the right people who are positive to you, stay away from people who would make you feel down. I have done that over the years.

There are some people who are not very nice, who are very judgmental, especially with the stigma going on. So I took myself away from that group of people, and stuck around people who would support me emotionally and physically, so that I can be okay.

HIV, Health Care and Treatment

Do you remember what your first CD4 and viral load were?

For the first six years, they said, other than the bad news of HIV, your counts are pretty good! Your immune system is at the level of a normal, healthy person. My CD4 count was 1,500, and my viral load had been undetectable for six years. I was in pretty good shape.

The good news is my early diagnosis. That's what they told me. It's early enough that you'll stay in care, you keep being tested every four months, and we're going to monitor you and make sure that when you're in the level where you need to start treatment, we'll know. I did just that, I never stopped being in care.

What are your CD4 count and viral load now?

Now it's dropped to the upper 300s, which is still okay, but it's not the best CD4 count, either. My doctor and I are thinking of considering some treatment options, but I'm still getting monitored. My viral load hasn't duplicated too much. [Since this interview, Fortunata began HIV treatment and her viral load is now undetectable.]

That's another thing that I want to tell people: Don't let what happens in your life have an effect on your immune system. Even though there's so much evidence of different things that can suppress the immune system, including the disease itself, what happened to me for the past few years is evidence that what happens around you can have an effect on your immune system.

I can see exactly in which time frame my CD4 count started dropping because of stress and sadness and all these other issues. I lost my father, I lost my ex, and being away from my family back in Africa -- stress that even people who aren't positive have. As a life stress, it would take a toll on anybody. I'm still working on that to make sure it doesn't put me down.

Have you ever been sick?

No, not HIV-related. I eat right, I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't do drugs. I try my best. If I ever get sick, I don't want to look over my shoulder and say, "I did this, I did that." I want to do everything, I want to be there for my baby, I want to see her graduate from school. I want to be around, and hopefully live long enough that maybe I will go back home one day. I've got to stay alive for that.

What would you say was the most challenging thing about being pregnant and being positive?

For me, because I wasn't very aware of the disease, there was so much information I had to learn. It was a learning process. Also, I had to deal with not knowing if my child was going to be born positive or negative. Even though there was a good chance of her being born without the disease, still there was a small chance of her being born positive. With that chance not being eliminated, it bothered me a lot. I know exactly how it feels to be HIV positive and pregnant, and to worry to death about your unborn child. It tortured me a lot. I had thoughts of, "Am I really going to be okay? Am I going to be well enough to take care of her when she's born?"

To make sure you stick with your medicine regimen. I'd already promised myself not to get my child sick, so I stayed on the medicine 100 percent. I was waking up in the night to take the pills. I had to take the medicine. That was kind of challenging, too. The fact that this child probably saved my life, because I was so depressed to the point of thinking of suicide. That was the thought that I had at that time. I said, "Well, then I'm not going to do anything to myself, because I have this baby." That was a good reason for me to take care of myself, that I'm carrying somebody else. I really think that people who don't have babies, who aren't pregnant, and they just get this news, they should really try to talk to people -- the right people -- and get some help. It can get terrifying.

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This article was provided by TheBody.com.


Reader Comments:

Comment by: Faith (Africa) Thu., Mar. 20, 2014 at 4:14 am EDT
Fortunate, You are a stong woman with courage. Am a christian so am going to say May God himself bless you and add more years to yr life. I wish I can send an email directly to you.
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Comment by: albert (ohio) Tue., Jun. 25, 2013 at 1:14 pm EDT
my girlfriend just died last week full blown no treetments at all didnt tell any one now i have it im very mad that she did not tell me so we could of got help together now she gone
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Comment by: dodo (namibia) Mon., Apr. 15, 2013 at 6:25 am EDT
Thank you for the hope you have given me.Iam not sure if am positive or not,but i slept with a man who is rumoured to be HIV positive four years ago but i have not gone for test cause am not sure if iam strong enough for the outcome.now am experiancing a lot of wight loss and i dont know what to do
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Comment by: Chuma (Zimbabwe) Thu., Jul. 25, 2013 at 4:44 am EDT
i am a lady now 44 tears now. i was told that i was hiv positve 7 years when i had a miscarriage. howver, after that thru counselling i have two kids aged 5 years and 3 years who are not hiv positive. From that day untill now i have never feld sick because i stick to my medicines. Life is now normal. When l have sex i always make sure that i use condoms.


Comment by: weight loss pills (New York) Fri., Feb. 1, 2013 at 4:26 am EST
t6tCId Major thankies for the blog article.Much thanks again. Cool.
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Comment by: bella (LA) Sun., Dec. 9, 2012 at 1:50 am EST
its one year for me now,im lucky to be married to a loving husband who does not judge me.im trying to have a baby this year and i know god is gonna bless me with one,he is the gver of all things.i believe everything happens for a reason and the situation hsa changed me forever.
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Comment by: I am one of you (Tanzania) Wed., Oct. 31, 2012 at 5:03 am EDT
I am so much inspired by you and i AM SCARED TO COME OUT
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Comment by: Anonymous Thu., Jul. 25, 2013 at 4:35 am EDT
Howver you must tell those people who are close to you.


Comment by: EGID (CHALAMILA) Wed., Aug. 1, 2012 at 11:51 am EDT
FORTUNATA:UMEKUWA MSAADA NA UMEFUNDISHA WENGI SAAANA:MUNGU AKUBARIKI SANA: USIJE UKAKATA TAMAA HATA SIKU MOJA:NIMEPENDA SANA UR STORY NA IMENIPA HOPE YA KUWASAIDIA WENGINE WHATEVER STUATION THEY ARE::: OOO FORTU,FORTU GOD BLESS U SISTER

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Comment by: David (not my real name) (Maryland) Wed., Jul. 4, 2012 at 8:12 pm EDT
Right now, I am in tears as a Black male. It is hard for me to believe and accept what a large number of Black men have become in their sexual behavior. And how they a willing to past on their sexual interest in another man to the Black woman. Therefore hurting the entire black community. I love Black women and couldn't see myself having sex with another man and then having sex with my beautiful black woman/women. This is bad, really bad. How can a black woman trust a black man after what I have read on this site. This site should be read by every black young girl out there.
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Comment by: A.B. ( New Orleans, LA) Mon., Jun. 4, 2012 at 2:16 am EDT
I'm in tears. I was diagnosed August 6, 2012 and I still have not come to grips with it. I put on a front like I'm ok but I'm not. I have two beautiful children whom I love with all my heart. I tools my whole family and alk of my friends only because I didn't want them to find our anyother way. I notified everyone that I slept with because I didn't want them to be sick and not know. I'm not angry. I dint know who gave it to me. I really don't care. I just hippie they are ok. However,I am sad ane afraid. I know people ate living full lives and not getting sick but I'm still scared. I don't know what to do. I cry in secret because I don't want anyone to worry about me but how long will I be able to keep up this front without falling to pieces. Even reading your story I feel harnesses but yet I'm only happy for you and feeling that your story can never be my story. This is the most I have opened up in more than a year. No one knows what I am going through, at least that's how I feel. I have very supportive friends and family but even their support does not comfort me.
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Comment by: Laiah (Dayton,Ohio) Fri., Oct. 5, 2012 at 4:52 pm EDT
I Do understand. I was just diagnosed October 2,2012. I am very scared but I am very hopeful as well. I think of all the things I have yet to do and the things that I have done in my Life. I am 27 yrs.old and transsexual. If I could say anything to anyone who has been diagnosed I would say: In Life we are faced with a obstacle(s). How will you take it and how far are you willing to go to assure you are in front of it instead of behind it?..I have started educating myself on HIV and I haven't begun HIV Treatment. KNOWING is Key in living with the disease. I think the hard part is over because Now I know what is expected of me as far as living with this disease. I hope that you find peace with yourself and protect yourself and other people. Find reasons to smile it's the best medicine. Love.


Comment by: patrick (kenya) Sun., May. 13, 2012 at 9:01 am EDT
may God bless you for the couragement hoping one day there wiil be cure
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Comment by: kevin (Hawaii) Fri., Jan. 20, 2012 at 4:41 am EST
I swear when i heard your story i start crying
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Comment by: Sunshyne (Decatur, GA) Mon., Nov. 7, 2011 at 12:38 am EST
Your testimony has indeed touched my heart. I learned few things just by reading this. I can relate as far the feelings d emotions,luckily my tubes are tied and its a blessing that all of my children are fine. You have encuraged me. Strengthen me. Made me a believer that I too survive. My heart goes out to you. May our God continue to be with you. sTAY BLESSED!
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Comment by: Inile (Johburg,south Africa) Sun., Nov. 6, 2011 at 5:05 pm EST
I just found,I am so scared I had to immediately stOry with medication.it is so hard.but I KNOW WITH THE SUPPORT OF MY PARENTS AND GOD I WILL BE FINE
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Comment by: Genniffer (Kisumu, Kenya) Sun., Oct. 9, 2011 at 1:13 pm EDT
U ar so lucky gal!
Yes count yoself so becaus u ar far beta than me.
Its almst a year since i was pronounced Hiv positive, though am so healthy and never had any hiv related complications am dying to have a dota or a son of my own. After trying so hard to conceive with a man that loves and understands me, i decided to see a gyna and he suggested sme test wich came later with the results that both my tubes ar blocked so cant conceive.
My gyna do not want to biliv this neither do i so we'v decided to repeat the test tommorow jst to confirm.
All i can do now is to hope and cry to God to hav mercy on me and pardon my mistakes and grant me this chance.
Am so afraid if i dnt giv this man any beby, he wont marry me and he might jst walk out on me,.he is negative bt loves me and has been risking his life fo me since the day i was diagonised,
if i lose him, wea else wil i find such a rare specie?
Plz pray fo me gud pple,
thts y i say God loves u gal to make u a great mom despite ur status, thnk Him always fo that
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Comment by: eric b (New York, NY) Sun., Jan. 15, 2012 at 9:08 am EST
You can conceive via IVF. Research in vitro fertilisation.
Comment by: fikile (nigel/south africa) Wed., Jun. 26, 2013 at 3:03 am EDT
you are saying you are a child of god if you believe he will make it happen for you> you will conceive in due time. wanting to have a baby because you want to satisfy the man is not the answer. the baby does not guarantee you getting married. you are worthy to be loved HIv+ or not it does not matter. i suggest you start loving yourself first and really accepting your status that will increase your self esteem and once you relaxed you will fall.


Comment by: gift (newark new jersey) Thu., Sep. 29, 2011 at 8:50 pm EDT
God richly bless you.i have always wanted to get tested but am scared to even walk in the testing center.
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Comment by: Denyse (Florida) Tue., May. 8, 2012 at 12:45 am EDT
Like you, I too am petrified of going. had brief oral sex with a lady and there was some bruising with small amt of blood so now I am so worried and too terrified to take the test. too many people involved who will get hurt. total regrets


Comment by: Lauretta W.N. (Liberia) Mon., Sep. 26, 2011 at 7:46 am EDT
You are a hope to the hopeless,may God continue to give you the strength to go through this condition and may you never get tired creating awareness about this disease.
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Comment by: mervin (lilongwe) Wed., Sep. 21, 2011 at 9:14 am EDT
Fortunata, you are a hero. I appreciate the courage that you had.You are indeed one in a million.May the almighty lord guide and protect you. You are a living example
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Comment by: Belinda (MN) Thu., Aug. 11, 2011 at 1:48 pm EDT
you are such an inspiration may God bless you and all the people with HIV.you made me stronger.
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Comment by: Julius L. (Busia, Kenya) Tue., Jul. 12, 2011 at 4:53 am EDT
I am deeply touched with the personal testimony of Fortunata. I have a daughter in the US and I imagined how many other Africans pass through the same experiences as Fortunata miles away from their loved ones. God bless you and take control of your life and others like you. Pole sana.
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Comment by: Alicia (Tanzania) Fri., May. 27, 2011 at 6:48 am EDT
Fortunata,

You trully are a blessing to all of us. I salute you for your braveness in all you have gone through. I ask the Lord our God to bless you and continue to comfort you in all ways. Continue being a good mother to your girl.
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Comment by: chinga1 (Dar es salaam) Sun., May. 22, 2011 at 4:19 pm EDT
So emmotionali ila Mungu anajua nakuombea afya, furaha na amani katika maisha yako. Be blessed Fortunata
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Comment by: P. Mugabe -Lugendo (DSM TANZANIA) Fri., May. 20, 2011 at 4:13 pm EDT
Fortunata my sister and my childhood friend, God has a msg to people thru you. keep it up. the amazing work. you are soooooo blessed.
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Comment by: L. I. Kilonzo ((Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)) Fri., May. 20, 2011 at 6:14 am EDT
"Humble yourself, Fortunata, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, Fortunata, because he cares for you." (1 Peter 5:6-7)

"Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you, Fortunata; he will never let the righteous be shaken." (Psalm55:22)

Wewe ni mwanamke shujaa!!!

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Comment by: kassanga p (Tanzania) Tue., Apr. 12, 2011 at 3:03 am EDT
I am proud of you! my God grand you with lots of blessings and grace. I believe the one who give her life and love for others is the true man. and you are the one.
may God lead and protect you in your ministry.
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Comment by: poutougnigni.byahoo.fr (ghana) Fri., May. 6, 2011 at 7:26 am EDT
thank u my sister to share with you statu yr statu give me courage because iam a seropositif but iam not started treatment please give me advise stay with god bye


Comment by: Polly C (England) Fri., Mar. 11, 2011 at 7:22 am EST
Thank u my sis to share with us,it was a hard going my faith gave me comfort. We are in good hands all is to God. Psalm 119:50
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Comment by: zizo (south africa,cape town) Wed., Feb. 23, 2011 at 5:09 am EST
Well my sister it's definitely gud to hear stories like yours. I was diagnosed abt 8months ago, in that period me and my wife had marital problems. She is the first person i told,we never discussed as to how,when,what happened and still 2day we havent. We are now separated and smtimes think of getting back with bt that is not what i feel inside, i dnt feel love for her anymre and i dnt want to get back with because of thinking i will never meet someone who'll accept my status. My deepest problem is that ii'm nt good yet in disclosing, is there anyone out there especially here in s.a tht is as loneli as i am probably in the mid 20's and early 30's pleas give me a shout
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Comment by: Helen (Tanzania) Sat., Feb. 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm EST
Hello Fortunata, Mungu akupe nguvu na afya njema, Niliposikia hizi habari sikuamini kwani tumesoma wote na kukua pamoja Upanga-Dar es Salaam.
Ninafuraha kwani ni jasiri. Mungu akubariki kwa kuelimisha wengi watapona kupitia wewe.God bless you

[Note from TheBody.com: Here is the English translation of the above Swahili comment, as provided by Google's online translation tool: "God give you strength and good health, these Niliposikia information because I believe we have all read and grow with Sword-Dar es Salaam. Ninafuraha as it is brave. God bless you for educating the majority will recover through you."]
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Comment by: neversaydie (Charlottesville, Virginia, USA) Fri., Dec. 3, 2010 at 1:33 am EST
I have jusy come on board and i am proud to be associated with people like you who have overcome odds and survived what would have been a death sentence. i am in the sam situation and living in the States and being poistive is not easy. Does anyone know any sites where we can likn up with others who are positive and wants someone equally positive. i am sick and tired of having to disclose my status to those who later abuse the confidences and I have given up dating. How do I meet other who are looking for a relationship because the paying sites appear to be out to make money
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Comment by: ItsAllGood (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Sat., Dec. 18, 2010 at 4:53 pm EST
I, too, am looking for a site where wonderful women and men can converse and get to know each other.


Comment by: Salim Z (Jefferson City,MO) Wed., Dec. 1, 2010 at 7:50 pm EST
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,nothing is going to get better.Its not"
We respect you. Never,never,never give up!
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Comment by: Lisa T. (Washington, DC) Wed., Dec. 1, 2010 at 12:32 pm EST
Fortunata is a very strong and courageous woman. Her daughter is lucky to have such a beautiful, wonderful mother. I wish them both the best.
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Comment by: TONISA (TANZANIA ) Wed., Dec. 1, 2010 at 5:03 am EST
BRAVO FORTU,HONGERA SANA NAMI PIA NAKUPA POLE KWA YALE YALIYOKUKUTA , LAKINI MUNGU ANA MPANGO NA WEWE NA USIKATE TAMAA, HAUTAKUFA FORTU NINAAMINI DAWA YA UKIMWI ITAKUWA IMEPATIKANA TU, PIGA MAGOTI UMWOMBE MUNGU ILA NAKUPA MOYO SANA MDOGO WANGU FORTU, NAOMBA JAPO SIKU MOJA UJE TANZANIA NASI UTUELIMISHE MAANA WATU WETU WANAKUFA KWA KUKOSA MAARIFA, UBARIKIWE SANA.
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Comment by: jermaine (Janaica ) Mon., Nov. 1, 2010 at 12:01 pm EDT
You have inspired me. I just got tested one test came positive and am waiting on the lab one today. I enjoy your story but I will kill myself if am truly positive. I have lost 12 pounds since I've found out. I am so stressed I can't even think straight and no one to talk to
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Comment by: Regina (Virginia Beach, VA) Wed., Feb. 9, 2011 at 11:30 pm EST
Jermaine,are you still there?


Comment by: flowery (SA) Fri., Oct. 29, 2010 at 9:20 am EDT
thanx for sharing your story, IM HIV negative but Im HIV affected, Im inlove with a HIV positive man
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Comment by: Leshia (Atlanta,Ga) Sat., Dec. 15, 2012 at 10:11 am EST
YES,ITHANK HER FOR SHARING HER STORY.I TO JUST RECENTLY FOUND OUT MY STATUS. I AM MARRIED BUT HE IS NEG.AND I AM PRAYING FOR THE BEST FOR US.BUT I WANTED TO SAY TO YOU(FLOWERY) THAT YOU ARE A SPECIAL KIND OF PERSON TO UNDERSTAND THAT JUST BECAUSE OF HIS POSITIVE STATUS HE IS STILL A PERSON AND STILL DESERVE THE RESPECT AND LOVE.


Comment by: demetrius cadet (Hoston, Tx) Wed., Oct. 20, 2010 at 8:23 pm EDT
I receive my 17 yo son is HIV posid a call yesterdaytive. I don't know what to do. I am scared!!! He is away at school right now so I am really worried about his mental health. Thaey want to start him in meds right away but I don't know to approve that or not because I don't know much about HIV yet. Lost and confused. Or family is devastated. MY son, my son, my son. Why?
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Comment by: Leshia (Atlanta,Ga) Sat., Dec. 15, 2012 at 10:18 am EST
SAD TO HEAR OF THE NEWS ABOUT YOUR SON AND SUCH A YOUNG AGE. I HAVE ONLY KNOWN NOW FOR A MONTH AND I STARTED TREATMENT ABOUT THREE WEEKS LATER. FIND OUT ANY AND ALL INFORMATION YOU CAN TO EDUCATE YOURSELF ON THIS SICKNESS. I ENCOURAGE THE USE OF THE MEDS BECAUSE IT GIVES YOU HOPE TO BE ABLE TO HAVE A PRODUCTIVE LIFE.THIS IS NOT THE END OF HIS LIFE BUT I SO FEEL IT IS THE BEGINNING OF A SECOND CHANCE TO LIVE TO THE FULLEST THAT HIS LIFE AND YOURS HAS TO OFFER. I HAVE ONLY TOLD TWO PEOPLE AND IT IS STILL HARD FOR ME TO DEAL WITH THIS BUT LIFE IS WHAT IT IS, LIFE. NOW LIVE AND HELP YOUR SON TO LIVE.


Comment by: Caro (TX) Wed., Oct. 13, 2010 at 5:58 pm EDT
You rock dada. Ubarikiwe milele.
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Comment by: ike (lagos) Sun., Oct. 3, 2010 at 3:49 pm EDT
how i wish had met someone like you before now. i am in similar situation.
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Comment by: Patricia (Maryland) Thu., Sep. 30, 2010 at 6:41 pm EDT
I want to get tested but I am afraid. I took the test before and I was fine. However, I tested positive for herpies during my pregnacy 12 years ago. I wish I had your hand to hold. I wish you could be there with me. I am ready to go to the doctor now but dont have anyone I trust to go with me. Pray for me. I wish I could call you. I am very scared and alone.
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Comment by: Mary R. (Richmond Texas) Wed., Sep. 22, 2010 at 1:28 am EDT
Fortunata your blessed, i read your story is very sad but God always with you. Don't loose hope my dear. Your always on my prayer with your beutiful girl. All shall be well.
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Comment by: VIOLET (Tanzania) Tue., Sep. 21, 2010 at 12:34 pm EDT
Hongera sana dada yangu Fortunata maisha ni safari na hakuna ajuaye ni ipi safari yake kwa hiyo endelea kupambana na Mungu akutie nguvu na afya njema.

[Moderator's note: This comment was written in Swahili; Google Translate's automatic translation reads "Congratulations to my sister Fortunata life is a journey and no one knows what is on his way in the continued fight against God akutie strong and healthy."]
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Comment by: Cece (Tanzania) Mon., Sep. 20, 2010 at 8:56 pm EDT
Fortunata ubarikiwe na MUNGU,nilivyoisoma story yako hapo juu nimeguswa sana.Mimi si muathirika lakini kungekuwa na watu kumi kama wewe hapa nchini kwetu maisha ya maelfu yangesalimika.MUNGU akupe afya njema na maisha marefu,kama jina lako i can say you are FORTUNATE!Indeed, and keep it up.
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Comment by: Linet (Africa) Tue., Aug. 24, 2010 at 10:12 am EDT
Thank you for that story Fortunata I appreciate u so much. What u should know is that God has a plan for everyone so never shall u think about what people say about u lead your life in a positive way
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Comment by: Mpume (Durban, South Africa) Wed., Aug. 18, 2010 at 8:22 am EDT
Thank you for sharing you story with us, i am not HIV Infected but i am HIV affected the desease has stolen so many friends and family from me, i feel like i have it. reading you story makes me want to learn more about this desease and makes me give even more support to those who need it, not to judge but to give love and encouragement. i am a born again christian and the word of God teaches us to love one another. thank you so much sister you have done the world a great thing!
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Comment by: joe (West Africa) Fri., Aug. 13, 2010 at 11:19 am EDT
you are a wonderful woman...
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Comment by: Chuma (Zambia) Tue., Jul. 27, 2010 at 1:36 pm EDT
You are one brave woman. You have really inspired me. I wish you long life and good health.
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Comment by: bkcheboi (Kenya Nairobi) Fri., Jul. 23, 2010 at 7:31 am EDT
This is encouraging and motivating.Like the many bros and sis of this globe,i applause you for the step your took.It was bold,energized from within and expressed outwardly.Iam sure it gonna be a rescue message to many who could have fallen prey to the deadly virus.Keep strong my sister
Regards
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Comment by: Thu., Jun. 24, 2010 at 3:16 am EDT
I am a health trainer and share a lot of health messages to youths,women and community at large on reproductive health and STIs/HIV/AIDS.Your story is inspiring and I shared it with some of the groups I have trained. I have seen many of the encouraged and coming for more advice and referral to treatment centres.

I have been encouraged to continue encouraging others and hope to form a small movement in my village to address this growing need.
Be blessed mightily. Henrietta; Kenya
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Comment by: Terry (Florida) Mon., Jun. 21, 2010 at 4:51 pm EDT
Fortunata, you are in my prayers. I will pray that the meds continue to help you and that you have a long, healthy life. You are beautiful and you deserve it. God Bless you!
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Comment by: Carol (Kenya) Fri., Jun. 18, 2010 at 6:32 am EDT
Hi Gal. This is very encouraging.I tested Positive and I have a three year old son. Though I feel like giving up on life,your story has just uplifted my spirit. God is there and He will see us through. Just trust in Him and have faith in Him. Thank you and be strong for your girl.
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Comment by: Degaga Hadesha (Ethiopia (SNNPR)) Thu., Jun. 10, 2010 at 10:21 am EDT
Fortunata u are realy a fortunate woman to get such large number of people being inspired by your encouraging decision to share your situation. I am the one to go to the clinic next to take a test but before I have bean in a great fear and frastration for the results that cold come. Thank you very very much and God almighty bless you in your life and work. Keep takng care of your litle child.
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Comment by: Kebby Tue., Jun. 8, 2010 at 9:14 pm EDT
You are one in a million Fortunata.I was just searching stuff then I ran into this.It is very encouraging.All this reminds me of what my family went through but am so glad of this support groups.Just trust, and believe me you will receive the healing.Its coming on your way hun pray for it en we will pray for u.Your story is so touching and I wish my friend will read this and stop infecting others.
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Comment by: kabegi (kenya) Sun., May. 30, 2010 at 10:36 pm EDT
Thank you for being so open.may God bless you mightly and may he always be near you all the time. i'll pray for you and your lovely daughter, truly touched, honey be strong and keep God first in everything. Be well,and stop worring. love kenya woman.
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Comment by: Sherrelle (Alabama) Thu., May. 27, 2010 at 3:45 pm EDT
Thank you so much for sharing your story and for staying strong. May GOD continue to keep you and your child safe!
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Comment by: thinecef-online (Spain) Tue., May. 25, 2010 at 4:16 pm EDT
kusoma blog nzima pretty mema
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Comment by: MPIIMA CHARLES (KAMPALA - UGANDA) Mon., May. 24, 2010 at 7:43 am EDT
FORTUNATA, YOU ARE GREAT,IF WE GET MANY PEOPLE OF YOUR KIND,THE WORLD WILL BE SAVED.THIS IS THE FIRST MEASURE OF AIDS PREVENTION.I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER YOU IN MY PRAYERS.STAY FOCUSED.THANKS.
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Comment by: Mapula (south africa) Sun., May. 23, 2010 at 8:53 am EDT
hie girlfriend thank you for sharing you have inspired me in soo many ways. my story is similar to yours but my daughter is now 8yrs and i am always taking her for testing because i am soo afraid that they might have missed. i thank God for my sister who is the only one i have told. i wish i could talk to you so i can find the peace that i sense you have. i do pray and i have asked God to forgive me though i never went looking for this disease but was unlucky to get it. i have been leaving positive for the past 8yrs and my husband is negative but i have not told him my status and i thank God because from the time i found out i was positive i asked him if we can use condoms and he agreed without questions. i thank God for him everyday but i can not bring myself to tell him. you are soo brave and may God bless you with many more healthy years with your daughter.
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Comment by: Amallia (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) Mon., May. 17, 2010 at 9:53 am EDT
Fortunata, wewe ni jasiri sana, nakupa 5. mimi pia ni muathirika, nimejua tangu 2001, lakini you wont believe hakuna mtu anajua, ni doctor wangu mmoja tu ndie anajua. hata sijui nianzie wapi kuambia ndugu au marafiki au hata watoto wangu, naogopa kutengwa na jamii na kunyooshewa vidole. hongera sana.
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Comment by: Shaquan (newark new jersey) Sun., May. 9, 2010 at 10:48 pm EDT
she is beautiful Fortunata Kasege i wish i had you as a mate im the same as her where do i find good looking healthy people like me ??? im in newark where people are afraid to come out
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Comment by: CE (London UK) Fri., May. 7, 2010 at 12:08 pm EDT
God bless you and keep you, I hope you continue to stay healthy. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us and the world. You are honestly an inspiration to us all. All my love!!!!
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Comment by: coco (lagos nigeria) Fri., May. 7, 2010 at 7:34 am EDT
u are wonderful may God keep u in all ur ways u have just giving me a reason to live thank u.
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Comment by: Portia (Gauteng) Fri., Apr. 30, 2010 at 9:34 am EDT
thank you for being so open to me, i m also hiv positive i just find out now on march 2010 but i have a problem i m afraid of telling my partner and my family but i have accepted it,Fortunata can you please help me how can i keep my CD4 count in a high level. please help me
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Comment by: Carol Sun., Apr. 25, 2010 at 4:06 pm EDT
This is a helpful forum. My twin sister suspects that she could have contracted HIV. She is so young and so innocent and i cant stand the thought of it and i love her so much. Sometimes i feel responsible for her welfare.Your story is truly inspiring.You are in my thoughts and prayers.Your story has given me a whole new perspective. God Bless you
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Comment by: Karubi (BC, Canada) Thu., Apr. 22, 2010 at 2:03 am EDT
Thank you, so much my Sister for sharing your experience of dealing with HIV that some people call a death sentence but which together with some people who are educated and informed take as a manageable disease. I was tested two years back but it took me almost one year and eight months to accept my condition, which I eventually accepted through support groups and my Family Doctor who has given me hope of living. Though I have accepted my condition I still have some problem sharing it with my family for fear of rejection and stigma. But after reading your testimony, I thing now that itís time for me to tell them and accept whatever will came my way. Thank you once again and be blessed.
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Comment by: tamara (little rock) Sat., Apr. 10, 2010 at 1:50 pm EDT
i love u. goodluck
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Comment by: Didi (Livingstone, Zambia) Fri., Apr. 9, 2010 at 4:50 pm EDT
Way to go Fortunata! I was diagnosed on 15 Spetember 2010 and have only told my doc and two friends who are also pos, but very scared to tell my friends and family b'coz of stigma - it is a killer. I have however, somehow accepted my situation and living positively. Luckily, I discovered early and am not on meds yet... My greatest regret is that, at my age (41) I pray for companionship with a good man, who woll love and cherish me... I feel lonely, lacking that special man to comfort and admire me... How do I do that?
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Comment by: Flozi (Ireland) Mon., Apr. 5, 2010 at 5:56 pm EDT
Hi Fortunata

God Bless you for sharing your story with the world, it has touched so many people including me. I KNOW how it feels becouse i was diagnosed with it about ten years ago. But last year i visited Pastor Chris Healing centre for two weeks in South Africa and iam Hiv negative now. Free at last. I just want everyone out there to know that God never changes he is the same today, tommorow and forever more. May God Bless you and give your family. Remember that if you have faith as little as a mustard seed there is nothing that he cannot do. He is performed miracles then and if he never changes, then he is still performing them. Just Believe in him becouse he knew your purpose in this world before you were born. God Bless all of you.
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Comment by: Connie (UK) Thu., Apr. 1, 2010 at 7:20 pm EDT
Happy Easter my sister, I'm very touched by your pain and achievements you are going through.God knows you and he still did before you were born, he created you for a purpose and only him you can trust, keep on believing in him and mighty things will come your way.He will lift you up in all, have faith.
I come from Zambia and married in the UK. I have been in the flight against HIV/Aids from primary school and secondary through Drama, Art and Hospital visitation.I Wish i read your story last year as i lost my beloved uncle who did not inform any family member because of fear of rejection, i have lost workmates, cousins, Aunties etc and I'm not happy with our African society of how we are handling the situation, whats goes round come round, yes it can happen to anybody and thank you for sharing as it gives me courage to encourage those close to me that are going through what you are going through.
I don't have to sit and cry and remember the Dead but i can do something to educate people back home to live positively. What people don't understand is that the more they criticize, the more we lose our loved ones hence more orphans remain in the streets and these children grow to hate the world as they lucked love in the first place. May the Almighty God grant you peace, laughter, wisdom, forgiveness to those that hate you, more health and above all love.
love Connie Mullen
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Comment by: shibi (South Africa) Wed., Mar. 24, 2010 at 11:03 am EDT
God bless you.You have touched me and helped me to understand better.Remain blessed my dear.
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Comment by: SRP (Louisville, KY) Thu., Mar. 18, 2010 at 12:19 am EDT
I read your story about 6 years ago I slept with a man when I was pregnant who was said to b hiv+ I didnt know I was young at the time. I got tested my whole pregnancy and I came out negative. I've had two more children since then a total of three and I still test negative and the doctor told me if I test negative after 6 years then I should be fine. because there is window period of 3 to 6 months possibly a year , but that it was rare that it happens. I was also told it can remain dormant in your system for years before you even get sick, but it will show up on a test, so I don't worry anymore you're story moved me.. had me a little nervous but it moved me. I lost a friend about 3 years ago on valentines day, he was a transgender and my other friend had it to and went back home and lost it, started doing drugs and everything. I have another friend who has it but I dont talk to him because he uses his disease as a way to get what he wants. but praise GOD and don't give up he has a plan for you and all of us. We are not perfect but HE still loves us anyways. Anytime you feel down just read the poem FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND.
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Comment by: nikolay (moscow) Tue., Mar. 16, 2010 at 11:23 am EDT
Good look =)
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Comment by: nicole (houston) Sat., Mar. 13, 2010 at 2:31 pm EST
your story is great mine i had deal with on my own and family some time could be the worst people when you deal with traged in life none of never took time out to listen to me i should had treatment long time go when doctors tell you nothing wrong and family they take as joke but i hell my key to all my tragdy i been my own support group and i can walk my self to clinc
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Comment by: peter (johannesburg) Sun., Mar. 7, 2010 at 8:07 am EST
Thank you Fortunata, I dont know where to start or what to say coz all other comments have put in words what i feel.But i can say your story is source of courage and great strength to most people particulary in africa where there is big stigma associated with hiv-aids.I read this while awaiting the results of my blood tests.i think what i take away from this story is live possitively despite outcome of test results.from this story hiv/aids should be treated as instant death sentence but as a manageable condition.like i said its case of living positively in all circumstances and apprecaite meaning of life.But most importantly look for info and knkowledge on how to manage the process.I wana share above thots and leave it there and look forward to learn more fro others with positive story like yourself.Thank you most kindly and God bless you and your little gal.
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Comment by: Mariah (East Africa- Kenya (Nairobi)) Fri., Mar. 5, 2010 at 1:56 pm EST
Thank you so so much Fortunata for sharing your story with us... I have just logged in this website today and I already feel much better and blessed to have read your story.

I was diagnosed 2 days ago and i think am still in denial. Am 28yrs old and lost my job 3 months when our company was going under. Now that am looking for a job,i checked in at clinic,in case an employer would request for a medical test. It turned positive and since i was in denial,i visited 2nd clinic the following day just to be sure,the results are positive again..Am not sure what i will do and who i will first tell. But am considering asking my partner to accompany me to the same clinic,so that the health worker can counsel him well. I don't plan to tell my family now,maybe later.. But your story has inspired me though i have really cried.

I know this is a life changing experience and am not sure how i will live but at least i have made a decision to live again.. I have been feeling suicidal but you have inspired me. God Bless you abundantly.. I know your daughter will grow healthy and live long,cherish her always.
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Comment by: Rose (London) Thu., Mar. 4, 2010 at 7:48 pm EST
My dearest Fortunata, I find your story very inspiring and confess that you are a blessed woman. I am 35 year old lady and I was diagnosed beginning of last year (2009) and have only managed to speak to God and not been able to share it with anyone else. I have a very small family and fear rejection from them. Although I have not been able to share it with anyone I go for regular check-ups at my local GUM clinic and have an excellent relationship with my doctor who I speak to as often as I can. I am not in any relationship at the moment and am constantly asking God for mercy. Sometime i try to think back to try and figure out who or when i would have contracted this illness. I have been tempted to send text messages to my ex so he can go and get tested but am afraid to. Everday I pray for God to give me courage to at least tell my sister but this is hard. May God bless you my dear sister and may he reward you for your honesty and courage.
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Replies to this comment:
Comment by: tunji (nigeria) Mon., Oct. 31, 2011 at 11:59 am EDT
rose i feel the same way u feel.
i love to know you as a friend and sister.
someone i will care for and will care for me.


Comment by: Paul Audu (Abuja, Nigeria.) Wed., Feb. 24, 2010 at 10:26 am EST
Your story is moving and I think with this kind of powerful inspiration from your testimony the world can live above HIV.
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Comment by: Evariste Kalisa (Madison ,wi) Sat., Feb. 20, 2010 at 12:10 pm EST
Habali Zako Fortunata zangu ni njema tu na kwa mbiya duniya iyi will end before you ll see the best time and the cure for you HIV.HIV is not a choice it come to you when you do like anybody in this world .but many use it as an uncontrolled behavior it is simply not truth!! one day this will take end i am deeply have that hope . love you. may god bless you .be strong you are not alone.
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Comment by: Silent girl (london) Mon., Feb. 15, 2010 at 8:28 pm EST
Hi i have read this interview and i am truly inspired by what you have achieved. I am 20 years old and i have HIV it is belived that i contacted it from my mother who passed away when i was eight. I have not slept around and and have unprotected sex once which is why i went to have a test. I got diagnosed in september 2009 and have been on medication since october 2009. its been hard for me and still is very hard for me. ive not told anyone apart from a close firend about my status. i had a boyfriend and ive not told him either but is questiong me ive just not got to the point were i can talk about it or even tell people i have it i definately have not yet accepted the fact that i have it. this is the first time ive written in down in black and white. its hard for me im depressed and seeking all the help that i can get from professionals, i have a counsollor who calls me everyday to see if im ok. she has helped me so much i dont know were i would be with out her. im trying to be well i dont wanna die, its just hard for me dealing with it on my own, but even harder allowing people to know, i fid it hard to trust people but reading your story has helped me in some ways and just showed me that i can do this, even if im gonna do it on my own, i can be well and be ok. god bless you
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Comment by: Melissa (New Zealand) Tue., Mar. 6, 2012 at 5:51 am EST
I totally understand what you are saying as im the same age as you, a young lady who is living with HIV. Yes it is it hard to know who you can trust when it comes to 'Who to tell about your status'? but you have to keep in mind that you have to tell anyone about your status if you are not ready to tell. Stay strong sister you can do this!!! and YOU AIN'T GONNA DIE YO!


Comment by: Sylvia (Namibia) Mon., Feb. 15, 2010 at 4:38 am EST
Keep up the positive spirit. Living with HIV/AIDS is not a death sentence. Anybody can be infected and affected.
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Comment by: kamau (kenya) Thu., Feb. 11, 2010 at 11:50 pm EST
you are such a strong person at heart. you give courage to others to be strong. God will take care of all your needs and he know us by name.
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Comment by: Sarah (Grenada) Wed., Feb. 10, 2010 at 3:42 pm EST
very inspiring, with God all things are possible and one day there will be a cure for this deadly disease
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Comment by: Ayana (Ghana) Wed., Jan. 27, 2010 at 9:24 am EST
I found out less than a month ago that I am HIV+ during a prenatal visit. I have had my share of sleepless nights and anxiety. It so wonderful to read your story. It gives me hope, strength and faith to know there are better days ahead....and that the sun will surely rise again. I am thankful for you. God Bless.
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Comment by: su (uk middlesbrough) Wed., Jan. 20, 2010 at 6:07 am EST
thank you for sharing your story you make me strong may god bless you
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Comment by: Mariam Sama (Germany) Tue., Jan. 19, 2010 at 1:26 am EST
I wish you all the best my dear sister, you are so brave dear,move on na maisha wanaume sio kila kitu katika maisha,the only thing i would advise you right now is just to think of your daughter and your life and everything will be fine. It's not easy to take such a stance in life, it needs courage and yes you are the best.
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Comment by: deanmainus (US) Mon., Dec. 21, 2009 at 11:06 am EST
Hello Everyone!
I'm Dean and I'm new here. I'm glad to be part of this community. I already been in other forum but for me, this is the nicest community.
Thanks.
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Comment by: Grace Kabogo Lengama (Tanzania) Mon., Nov. 30, 2009 at 5:28 pm EST
Fortunata darling, remember i love u alwayz mammie. Stay blessed always and keep on having the strength u already have. I will alwayz be ya friend, no matter what. God be with u alwayz. Miss u so much friend. U remember the flowers that i gave u on ya birthday in 1996? Wish could be giving them to u at the time u were going through this.

I will alwayz be there for u. lov u. Kiss baby Florida for me.
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Comment by: EVELYN (MONTERREY MEXICO) Tue., Nov. 10, 2009 at 10:17 am EST
GOD BLESS YOU ALWAYS GOD ARE WITH YOU AND ALL ONE DAY HAVE 1 CURE... TRUST IN GOD FOREVER..
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Comment by: updavaabrar (Czech Republic) Thu., Nov. 5, 2009 at 2:32 am EST
Hi all wanted to introduce myself!! I look forward to being part of this community.
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Comment by: Frederick Rutahindurwa (DSM, Tanzania) Wed., Nov. 4, 2009 at 5:19 am EST
Fortunata, kweli maelezo yako yanawagusa wengi...I was like this is never true about you, but i had to come into terms with it. Nakupa pongezi nyingi kwa ujasiri ulionao, Mungu Mweneyezi akuwezeshe na akufanikishe katika yote utamanio na upendayo. Nasi twazidi kuiombea familia yako upendo na amani sikuzote. Salaam nyingi kutoka katika familia ya Emmanuel & Alice Rutahindurwa; Peter, Rose & Paul. My email, fredyrutta@yahoo.co.uk.
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Comment by: evamillerus (US) Fri., Oct. 30, 2009 at 9:58 am EDT
hi there, my name is Eva.

found this website and read some great discussion and feedback so decided to join

i am happy to help others and offer advice where possible :)
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Comment by: nickey (tx) Sun., Oct. 25, 2009 at 11:17 pm EDT
fortunata everyone looks at this diease differ for me i have to much emotion im the kind of will make people wonder at the end of the day im the one with my foot in sand
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Comment by: seeing the light (usa) Mon., Oct. 19, 2009 at 6:27 pm EDT
I read your testimony and my situation is much like yours. I too found out during prenatal visits and my boyfriend was with me, well outside waiting on me. I gave him the news and he was totally in shock as was I He never gave up on me he does not shun me cause of my situation he accompanied me to all or most of my visits he is very supporting. He tested neg so far but he does not hold it over my head that I possibly exposed him. Our baby is fine she is neg. THANK GOD I just want to say continue to encourage people and let them know that there is life after a positive diagnosis our lives has changed most definitely,but all is not lost none of us asked for this but we are forced to live and deal with this daily. So ppl make the best of it make the right choices and think about the next person, teach our youth to use protection and to not grow up befor their time and that is it ok to befriend a person who suffers from this cause we did not ask for this to happen to us. GOD BLESS!
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Comment by: charlenneharrison (USA) Mon., Oct. 19, 2009 at 5:38 pm EDT
Hi to all of you!
I'm new here and i hope i can learn many things here.
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Comment by: Eddy (Austin, tx) Wed., Oct. 7, 2009 at 12:48 pm EDT
For Reanna Smith. What do you know about viral load on HIV negative people as you mentioned? to my undersatnding, HIV - people don't have any viral load when tested for the HIV specific antibodies. They may have a viral load for the flu for example, but all that is tested with chemicals they use to identify HIV. Now, HiV - people can have a test done on their CD4 t-cell count. The problem with this is that most HIV-people(healthy) aren't interested in finding out their current cd4 t-cell count because they simply feel it is not necessary. So I disagree with you. Just look back at history of HIV/AIDS and history will tell you otherwise. Being on treatment/medication may not be a healthy option like you stated, but it is necessary to keep patients out of the emergency rooms for now.

Best,
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Comment by: Kofi (Texas) Wed., Oct. 7, 2009 at 5:00 am EDT
You are an inspiration. I am HIV positive hetero-male and feel that all is lost. You make me believe that life and love lie beyond this disease. Thank you.
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Comment by: Alphod (Bridgeport, CT) Tue., Sep. 29, 2009 at 8:13 pm EDT
Hi Forunata:
I am a Ph.D student at New York University. My dissertation is about HIV, and I was moved by your story and the courage and resilience therein. Thanks for sharing your story. I have worked with this population since the early 1990's and have witnessed some incredible miracles,you represent another one of them. You are a phenomenal woman! Keep on taking care of yourself and daughter, one day she would make you proud!
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Comment by: Reanna Smith (Los Angeles) Mon., Sep. 28, 2009 at 7:34 pm EDT
Dear Fortunata,

Have you ever considered alternatives to the medications? Did you know that viral load measurements are looking for viral debris and DNA fragments and that HIV as a virus has never been purified? Did you know that they have also never measured people's viral load who didn't have HIV so we don't know if viral load measurements are really looking for HIV or if people who are HIV negative would have a viral load as well?

Please look into this: www.rethinkingaids.com

I am concerned about your health. Being on the medications is neither necessary nor a healthy option,

Reanna
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Comment by: graciegreyson (USA) Fri., Sep. 25, 2009 at 1:33 am EDT
Hello all,
I've just joined this site
There are some great posts here to learn
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Comment by: lucy (newark,delaware) Sun., Sep. 20, 2009 at 1:18 pm EDT
You are a very couragious woman and i do admire you. Most pple do not care for themselves and that's why they die so fast because all they do is to try and spread it mean while they contract more diseases. I don't have the virus, but i am a supporter. i want to thank you for your story, it has made a change in someone's life. God bless you and you daughter.
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Comment by: Gilbert Chewe (Durban South Africa) Tue., Sep. 8, 2009 at 9:08 am EDT
Fortunate, All things works for good for those who love God. God has a better plan for you and your daugther. You are very much blessed in all you do. Forgive you former partner and look forward and remember you are a winner. email me if possible: gilbert_chewe@yahoo.com
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Comment by: Thu., Sep. 3, 2009 at 5:59 pm EDT
JUST WISH TO PASS MY GREETINGS AND LOVE TO YOU. YOUR STORY IS A TESTAMENT OF THE HANDY WORKS OF GOD MANIFESTING ITSELF IN OUR LIVES. I REALLY ADMIRE YOUR COURAGE AND WILLINGNESS TO TELL US YOUR STORY.'A PROBLEM SHARED IS A PROBLEM SOLVED' AS ONE GREAT THINKER ONCE SAID. REST ASSURED OF MY PRAYERS AND GOD'S INTERVENTION IN YOUR LIVE. LOTS OF LOVE FROM ME AND GODBLESS.
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Comment by: Baraka (Kinshasa) Wed., Sep. 2, 2009 at 11:20 am EDT
Just to say Pole to you Fortunata. You are not alone and many people around the world suffering from the same disease have been strengthened by your testimony. Tunakuomba ukue na nguvu. Maisha bado ni ndefu mbele yako. Sahau kama uko na virusi na maisha itaendelea kama mbele. Waza ungalikua ku miaka 1980, akungekua esperance lakini leo, uko ai na Mungu atakuonesha watoto wa mtoto wako. Salama na heri kwako.
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Comment by: Lugoye (Tanzania) Mon., Aug. 24, 2009 at 6:30 am EDT
Pole sana dada yangu Fortunata, haya yote ni mapito, wengi tunaweza kusema mengi lakini uzoefu wako ni wa kuigwa hadi sasa unapambana. nakupia moyo kwa kukuhakikishia kuwa Mungu ni Mkuu kuliko tatizo lako, muamini yeye peke yake nawe utathibitika. Kuishi kwetu hapa duniani hakuna maana kama tutajitumainia wenyewe hata kama tusingekuwa na UKIMWI.Nikupe hongera sana kwa ujasiri uliouonesha na kuujulisha ulimwengu hali yako. Sasa jitahidi kufanya sehemu yako ili wengi wajue wasibaki wakijifariji kuwa wao ni wazima na kumbe ni wagonjwa wasiojitambua kwa kutokupima afya zao na kujua hali zao.
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Comment by: Tiny Kabelo (Botswana) Wed., Aug. 19, 2009 at 9:08 am EDT
my email(kabelotiny@yahoo.com
Thanx for the courage support and the lesson you taught me after going through ur story.HIV positive lady dumped by boyfriend after disclosing my status.
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Comment by: Anonymous (Malawi) Tue., Aug. 18, 2009 at 4:01 am EDT
Hi, Thank you for sharing your story, i have been HIV positive since 2000. I also found out when i was pregnant with my 1st son. I was horrified, lonely, i have learnt to live with it. I thank God that my son was born negative. i took him to i don't know how many tests just to be right. i was more worried because i breast fed him for a while 19 months.
I have not yet started taking my meds, so far my health has been excellent.
I am married now, we both have HIV, so we understand each other, we have another son who is 20 months old, HIV negative. I feel so blessed and know that God is on our side.

I don't have friends to share my status with, nobody seem to be open about it. i wish i did, it would make things easier to talk about it.
I hope that they find a cure for us one day. i wish you all the best with your daughter, may God bless you and may you live long to see the cure.
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Comment by: Ernie (St. Louis, MO) Tue., Aug. 18, 2009 at 12:27 am EDT
Fortunata,
I am married and have three children. I was diagnosed a few years ago after being admitted into the hospital for Double Pneumonia; I have never been seriously ill and apparently I had the disease for 10+ years before I was diagnosed. When I was told that I am HIV+ I was shocked and in denial, and my greatest fear was the thought if my wife was also; she was negative. We are still together and with God's grace I am doing well!!
Your name in Spanish partly means FORTUNE (fortuna)and I have faith that HE has Blessed you with fortune as your given name.
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Comment by: michael (uganda) Wed., Aug. 12, 2009 at 9:53 am EDT
thank you for being strong enough, that way you will live longer than you thought.my the lord give you more days as sceintieseties do their best to find a cure for the mostter.
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Comment by: Tikika (New York) Thu., Aug. 6, 2009 at 5:31 pm EDT
Hi, Miss Fortunata this is Keke again. I just want to take time out to say you are so encouraging by reading your testimony, i become so encouraged inspite of what i've been through.
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Comment by: Latifah.ahmed (East Africa Tanzania) Tue., Aug. 4, 2009 at 9:58 am EDT
Fortunata, you're courageous, supportive and a good friend ..you assured me there's life after being Hiv positive and I tell you what you were right...I am so grateful because to me each day is a blessing. Wishing you many more healthier years to come my dear and trust me you will see your daughter graduate, get married and also you'll be a grandmother..Love you best friend.
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Comment by: S F (Atlanta) Tue., Aug. 4, 2009 at 9:12 am EDT
Habari yako Fortunata. Mimi ni Mtanzania pia. Nimefurahi kuona kazi unazozifanya kusaidia kimawazo watu waishio na virusi vya ukimwi au wale wenye ukimwi. Wewe n shujaa kwa watanzania, waafrika na walimwengu wote waishio na virusi au wenye ukimwi. Mimi sina virusi, lakini ni miongoni mwa watu walio-saidiwa na mungu tu kutopata virusi. Niliiishi na msichana wa kimalawi kwa miaka minne, tulitumia kondom wakati wote lakini labda mara 3 au 4 kondom ilipasuka. Mwaka huu alinipia simu kuniambia kuwa amepimwa na amengundulika kuwa na virusi vya ukimwi. Nimepima baada ya miezi mitatu na sina virusi, nasubiri kupima tena baada ya miezi sita. Naomba ushauri wako kuhusu nini nifanye kumsaidia huyu msichana. Siwezi kuishi nae kwa vile nimeisha aowa na nina mtoto na mke wangu. Siwezi kumtupa tuu kama bf wako alivyofanya. Nataka kuwakaribu naye lakini siokaribu sana kwa sababu ninmke sasa. Naomba ushauri wako kwa vile wewe ni mwanamke pia. Asante
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Comment by: Julius L. (Busia, Kenya) Tue., Jul. 12, 2011 at 5:13 am EDT
SF, thanks for your frankness..but where do this ex of yours live by now? If in the US, try link her up to Fortunata. Hivyo atamsaidia kwa uzuri kuliko mke wako aje agunduwe kwamba ungali unawasiliana na ex wako..mimi ni mume, na ninajua mambo ya wanawake. Kamwe mkeo hatakuamini. Mungu yu mwema.


Comment by: Jason Makombero(Malawi-Lilongwe) (Lilongwe -Malawi) Fri., Jul. 31, 2009 at 10:14 am EDT
Fortunata- All I can tell you is that God is greater more than HIV. We are conquerers more than HIV and Aids. I have been with the disease for twenty five years (25 years) and still going strong. God knows when I will be called to join him in his kingdom and not HIV/AIDS. Stay blessed sister.
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Comment by: deneawcollier (south carolina) Thu., Jul. 30, 2009 at 12:18 am EDT
You are absolutely incredible and inspirational. I need your help though. I have a friend who has been HIV positive for at least 5 years -- she has 4 kids which none are in her custody. Pregnant with her 4th daughter she did not take her medication and she is HIV positive. She has giving up on life and her children and I don't know what else to do. I now have custody of her 3rd child and I do believe she is on the brink of death, however, that is only a guess based on her not taking her meds for so long. What can I say or do to help her I am at a lost. Please help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Comment by: VIOLET NJAU (EAST AFRICA -TANZANIA) Wed., Jul. 29, 2009 at 6:06 am EDT
I REAL LIKE YOUR STORY IS PAIN ME BECAUSE AM ON THAT SITUATION PLEASE I NEED ASSISTANCE MY EMAIL vainjau@hhotmail.com thankx
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Comment by: neversaydie (charlottesville virginia) Fri., Dec. 3, 2010 at 1:29 am EST
I just read your comment and my heart is with you. I went through what you are going throu now and i survived. it was tough coming to the US with two small kids and being a single father and fearing that you will drop dead any minute but i am still around and i have long term plans. If there is anything I can do to help let me know
Comment by: Julius L. (Busia, Kenya) Tue., Jul. 12, 2011 at 5:06 am EDT
Pole sana Violet. Do not despair. There is life after being found HIV+. Do join any psychological assistance groups in Tanzania or Kenya for assistance. Mungu atakusaidia.


Comment by: Jane Banura (Tanzania) Fri., Jul. 24, 2009 at 3:58 pm EDT
Fortunata, you're a strong woman, and your beautiful. God is with you all the time and is protecting you from those stress. nothing bad will happen to you, I love you and your daughter is my daughter too.
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Comment by: Jane Akinyi (Kenya) Wed., Jul. 22, 2009 at 8:19 am EDT
Bravo, I admire you thank you
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Comment by: miloue (port au prince haiti ) Tue., Jul. 21, 2009 at 10:55 pm EDT
Thank you for your story you share. If your boyfriend left you don't worry but I know that god loves you sister. I'm hiv negatif I like to read history of people hiv positive because I have my cousin who died with that virus after 12 years. May god continue to bless you
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Comment by: magally (Cameroon) Mon., Jul. 20, 2009 at 8:57 am EDT
God will bless you and will prolong your days in the land of the living. Such courage to share such truths must be praised. I have never had the courage to go for the HIV test all my life, just the thought of going for it scares me, i pray for courage. God bless you and your daughter
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Comment by: smiley face (atlanta,ga) Sun., Jun. 21, 2009 at 3:25 pm EDT
You are a very strong person and regardless of how other look at you or may think of you just remember that you have as much of a right to live also. Thank God that you were diagnosed early. I had a mom that just recently passed from full blown aids and we had just find out about the disease a month before she passed. I felt so bad that she didn't tell us because we loved our mom very much. On her sick bed I took her hand and I told her, you're still my mother and I am not ashamed of that or you because you know it could have been one of us and I know that if we didn't have anyone else's support we would always have our mother. And I told her that I was not ashamed of her or mad at her because that's my mamma and I would never turn my back on her. I am 20 yrs old and I miss my ma so much! But I can't be selfish because God needed her for another purpose and I know that she is doing better than we are on this earth today. But you are a very strong woman and prayer and faith will make you stronger and better. Believe trust trust trust and never doubt God because he will make everything alright. The disease may take control over your body but not your soul and that's a blessing itself. May God bless you and your daughter.
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Comment by: edward (macon,ga) Sat., Jun. 20, 2009 at 1:41 am EDT
stay strong my sister,and god bless you.and live your life to the fullest,so god bless you and your daughter.
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Comment by: Mweshi (Namibia, Africa) Thu., May. 28, 2009 at 11:43 am EDT
Honestly, 27th of April 2009 will remain a day with a bad memory in my life. I went for my HIV results (as I get tested every year) and BOOM! it stood there in black and white that I am positive. I immediately thought that it would be the end of the world for me but now that i am reading a lot about other people like me who are beating this virus, I am encouraged to fight it too. Thank you for the inspiration Fortunata
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Comment by: edgar (Georgia) Mon., May. 4, 2009 at 9:35 am EDT
Fortunata,


You're very inspiring! I just took a blood test and am freaking out, I have no symptoms or anything like that of anything but I'm still very anxious. My girlfriend and I; we haven't had relations, but I don't want to risk getting her sick. This is why I took the test, anyway even if I do have something I will stay hopeful thanks for your story! You made a difference! Thank You!!!
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Comment by: sasha (africa) Mon., Apr. 27, 2009 at 2:49 pm EDT
Thank you Fortunata, I'm also from Afica, I was diagnosed 5 yrs ago, the man l lived with was negative, and left me eventually after heavy abuse, l had clung to him desperately, but he left eventually,l have never ever been able to even tell my family of my hiv status, but may be one day l will. Thank you for your courage.
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Comment by: Julius L. (Busia, Kenya) Tue., Jul. 12, 2011 at 5:02 am EDT
Sasha, forgive and you will openup to tell others. God bless.


Comment by: sherryann (trinidad&tobago) Wed., Apr. 22, 2009 at 3:54 pm EDT
I READ YOUR COMMENT BECAUSE I CARE AND LOVE PEOPLE. REMEMBER WITH THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST HE WILL DELIVER YOU AND HEAL YOU STAY STRONG I HAVE A FRIEND AND LOVING HIM I WILL LOVE YOU
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Comment by: Tumi (Johannesburg, South Africa) Sun., Apr. 19, 2009 at 4:05 pm EDT
Hi Fortunata, Very inspirational and motivating story you have shared with us and the entire world. I also live with HIV, and I was fortunate to meet someone who accepted me the way I am and we got married. You are such a blessing to all of us. May God continue blessing you and your daughter.
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Comment by: Ken Awuondo (Kilifi Kenya) Thu., Apr. 9, 2009 at 12:49 pm EDT
The experience you shared with all of us is so much more powerful than the work done by HIV immunologists looking for a vaccine. Your story instantly touches and makes us think twice before we jump onto sex. Immunologists has been there for 25 years looking for the vaccine. Please keep the crusade alive......
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Comment by: Beauty Malinga (South Africa (JHB)) Wed., Apr. 8, 2009 at 10:45 am EDT
Hi Fortunata
I'm also HIV positive. My life is in a standstill now. I don't know what to do. I'm so stressed maybe you can help. I found out a month ago.
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Comment by: Julius L. (Busia, Kenya) Tue., Jul. 12, 2011 at 5:00 am EDT
Malinga, kindly pray to God to grant you the person of Fortunata. You will also live.Get courage and live hopefully.Do not worry. God bless you.


Comment by: Nono (London,UK) Tue., Apr. 7, 2009 at 8:18 pm EDT
Wow!
This is very much inspiring my sister, may God richly bless you and your daughter. Definitely, you are going to live even much longer than you'd thought because you are a blessing to everyone whom you touch with your inspiring story. You have gone through a lot enough and i beleive that God has got something better for you and your daughter. Africa needs people like you who can come out and be strong so as to reduce the stigma that is still there. Words can't explain how i feel and how thankful i am for somebody like you,your story has touched me deeply. May God continue blessing you day by day and give you more strength every day!
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Comment by: Emily (Sweden) Tue., Apr. 7, 2009 at 2:43 pm EDT
Fortuna thanks for sharing with us. I can identify with you. My ex who is hiv negative did the same thing and posted my hiv positive status to all my friends whom he had never even met. He is still doing it even now whenever he gets the opportunity. I know that in all these things were are more than conquerers through Jesus Christ. God bless you.
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Comment by: Adwoa (NY) Tue., Apr. 7, 2009 at 1:05 pm EDT
AWWWW.......ur such a strong woman....im sure u r a great mother...God bless
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Comment by: Vikky (South Africa) Sat., Apr. 4, 2009 at 8:48 pm EDT
You go girl u r an inspiration to us all both Negative and Positive. I've recently lost someone very special to me. She could not take it and the pain she was going through was unbearable,in fact she kept on asking WHY HER and that's what killed her "the stigma" because here in Africa if u r infected people will say that u got what u were looking for. Tell me who can go around and look for an infection no that is impossible. Don't be angry with the father of your child,he was just afraid and he did not know what to do, he decided to be a COWARD, INSTEAD OF FIGHTING IT WITH YOU HE RAN AWAYbut i think it's too late for him to come back because i think that's what he wants to do. But there is one boyfriend who will never run away from "OUR GOD ALMIGHTY". He will be with u throughout your life. You might not be with your family but the world i.e ALL HUMAN BEINGS AFFECTED & INFECTED ARE THEREALWALYS THERE. Pls live for our loved ones who could not take it, show us that there is life with HIV/AIDS no matter what.
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Comment by: Eve (canada) Sat., Feb. 14, 2009 at 6:43 pm EST
African sister, thanks for being brave. Your man may have had the virus in his cells but still in the window period (hidden) as they called it back then. But either way you willl live and your child too. Someone will marry you and be your companion in bad times and good times
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Comment by: Godfrei Simba (Gweru, Zimbabwe) Thu., Feb. 5, 2009 at 6:41 pm EST
Dear Fortunata.
Thank you for your profile which is inspiring and goes a long way in the fight against stigma and discrimination. Africa needs lots of people like you for effective behaviour change. You are a blessing to many and the Lord my God has blessed you and your daughter. I am doing volunteer work in HIV programming and it has really humbled me and reading your story I know it will cause a lot of people to change their behaviours. I have also taken the liberty of copying your story and comments so as to post on our notice board for others who do not have access to the net. Thanks again for the advocacy for use of condoms because consistent and correct use of condoms is the way forward. Thank you and you are blessed coming in and going out. I pray for good health in your life and that you will live to see your grandchildren. Just remember God loves you and when you are called to his purpose and love Him all things work out for your good. Divine health is yours to take and to have. Love you
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Comment by: Dick (Botswana) Thu., Feb. 5, 2009 at 2:19 am EST
Fortuna, life was made by God, not a person. Your hopes should be pinned on The Almighty first before you could think of anyone. He is the one who created you, and he knew from the begining what you will receive in your life. Fortuna, my sister, I like the way you took yourself out of that misery and shown your courage to show people that being sick doesn't mean that you are dying. I wish you could come to my country one day and join other activists, who will help spread you good words to our nation. God bless you and the young girl.
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Comment by: keke (New York) Wed., Feb. 4, 2009 at 9:05 pm EST
I feel your pain. But... remember every sickness isn't death. Just think about all the people that's gone and didn't die from AIDS complication. It's always someone in worst situations than we are. Count your blessings my sister. I'll keep you in my prayers -- we gotta remain strong. If he brought you to it.. he'll pull you through it. GOD BLESS!! He don't put no more on us than we can bear!!! feel free to email me when you're feeling down, even if you just wonna chat email: tikika_78@yahoo.com
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Comment by: Michael (Dallas) Thu., Jan. 8, 2009 at 4:37 pm EST
Wow! That's all I can say. Wow!
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Comment by: teresa y smith (stockton, california ) Wed., Jan. 7, 2009 at 11:49 am EST
God bless you! Keep the faith. God is there, my father died with AIDS. God is so good. My name is teresa smith.
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Comment by: fortunata kasege (Houston, Texas) Wed., Dec. 31, 2008 at 2:55 pm EST
To all who took time to write me some really nice, encouraging comments to me, thank you.As we wrap 2008 up, may we all try to live our lives to the fullest, enjoy every second of it, and fight this bad disease.'love you all!!
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Comment by: jonell pearson (norfolk virginia) Tue., Dec. 30, 2008 at 12:57 pm EST
my name is jonell am 25 a single mom a i just found out 4 months ago i go though days when i feel alone;sad and like noono want 2 b my friend or they treat me like a germ but when i told them they treat me the same.I want 2 have more kids and i want a family
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Comment by: neversaydie (Charlottesville) Fri., Dec. 3, 2010 at 1:25 am EST
I just joined and I am in the same situaion. I am in Charlottesville and I am looking for a strong woman to make friends with and to help each other. If you are still in NC it will be nice to hear from you


Comment by: Mon., Dec. 29, 2008 at 2:59 pm EST
thats whats up stay strong and dont let it get u down
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Comment by: Lakeesha (iowa city,ia) Mon., Dec. 1, 2008 at 3:21 pm EST
You are blessed and highly favored by the most high. Look and live my sistah. Fearfully and wonderfully made.
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Comment by: Archbishop Joyce Turner Keller (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) Wed., Nov. 26, 2008 at 4:03 pm EST
I am so proud of you!!!! Love ya much.
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Comment by: donald (new jersey) Sun., Nov. 16, 2008 at 9:07 am EST
Fortunata, You are a very strong and powerful woman,thank you you for giving me hope and the will to know that life is still beautiful!
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Comment by: Jamal (Tanzania) Thu., Nov. 13, 2008 at 1:22 pm EST
Very courageous woman! Society needs people like you to help educate us. Infected people are intentionally infecting others here. I think it is because of lack of knowledge and confusion. I am crying out loud for President Kikwete to do something. Our nation is finished!!
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Comment by: Johan JohannesNhlapo (DURBAN SOUTH AFRICA) Tue., Nov. 11, 2008 at 6:41 am EST
Thank you for being so open to other people about your status. I am also HIV positive and for 15 yrs living with this virus. I feel the world can have more of you. Sister God is in control, not HIV and He is the creator of heaven and earth. Nothing will stop the love of God for you. Even HIV can't stop His love for you. Remember you didn't choose to love Him but He chose to love you, in spite of who you are or what you have. Take the flag sister run with it and finish well. God bless you with blessings upon blessings. Please contact me at rogernhlapo@yahoo.com
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Comment by: Liza (Spain) Thu., Nov. 6, 2008 at 3:52 pm EST
Fortunata, I am humbled I can't say how much it means to the world that we have people like you.
I wish America could change the face of being HIV positive..can u imagine, they don't treat HIV-positive people like human beings. They are not given green cards or nationality because they are positive! What a country! God bless you and u wil live longer. Read Psalms 23 and 45
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Comment by: kenneth (texas) Tue., Oct. 21, 2008 at 12:06 pm EDT
You are a beautiful woman. Keep it up!
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Comment by: Monique (South Carolina) Thu., Oct. 2, 2008 at 4:40 pm EDT
Blessings and Hugs from one + sister to another.
I wish I had your courage. Living in as small town it is very difficult. None the less, I give God all the praise for you, your child and to good health.
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Comment by: love (oslo) Sat., Sep. 27, 2008 at 1:07 pm EDT
u are a woman of courage and inspiration. May God bless u and ur daughter
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Comment by: Janette (Baltimore, MD) Sat., Sep. 6, 2008 at 10:58 pm EDT
Thank you for sharing your story! Your strength is a true inspiration to others!!! May God bless you and keep you and your daughter safe, warm, and strong and may you have many wonderful years together!!!!
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Comment by: trevor (Botswana) Fri., Aug. 29, 2008 at 7:13 am EDT
DO NOT LOOSE HOPE BECAUSE GOD IS DEFINITELY WITH YOU. NEVER THINK ABOUT THE PAST,BUT FOCUS ON TODAY AND TOMORROW WITH YOUR CHILD. THE TRUTH ABOUT IT IS THAT THE FIRST TIME YOU ARE TOLD ABOUT IT OR HEAR ABOUT IT, YOU GET TO FEEL SO CRAZY.BUT I AM HAPPY TO HEAR YOU SAYING YOUR FAMILY IS SUPPORTIVE. PLEASE INCLUDE ME AS PART OF YOUR FAMILY BECAUSE I SUPPORT YOU WHOLE HEARTEDLY FROM THIS COUNTRY OF BOTSWANA. BUT MY HOME COUNTRY IS ZIMBABWE. LIKE YOU SAID BEFORE THAT YOU NEVER ENJOY SEX WITHOUT A CONDOM AFTER YOU TESTED POSITIVE,I ALSO ADVISE YOU TO CONTINUE OPERATING THAT WAY AND GOD WILL ADD MORE BLESSINGS UNTO YOU, RATHER THAN THOSE PEOPLE WHO SAY,"HOW DID I GET IT?" AND IT MEANS THE PERSON WHO GAVE THIS TO ME KNEW THAT HE WAS POSITIVE AND WANTED TO SPREAD AND DOES LIKE WISE.GOD WILL NEVER BLESS YOU FOR THAT.KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK AND GOD WILL HELP YOU TO SEE YOUR CHILD GROW. AS FOR ME I AM NOT POSITIVE,I GO FOR TESTING EVERY YEAR,TWICE, AND I AM MARRIED TO BRENDA AND WE HAVE GOT ONE CHILD AND ANOTHER ONE IN THE MOTHER'S WOMB.I REALLY LIKE TO SUPPORT PEOPLE WHO ARE POSITIVE AND I WISH MY CHURCH COULD HAVE AN ORGANISATION WHICH TAKES CARE OF THE ILL OPHANS OR HIV PEOPLE, I TELL YOU I WILL VOLUNTEER TO BE AN AID.
MAY GOD CONTINUE BLESSING YOU AND YOUR CHILD LIKE HE HAS ALWAYS BEEN DOING.
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Comment by: Elsie Fri., Aug. 15, 2008 at 7:15 pm EDT
Thank you Fortunata for your story. I am reading this at 1 am because l cant sleep. But this has given me new hope
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