Kimberly Vrudny

Participant 05

In 30/30 Participants, J. L. Zwane Centre, South Africa on August 12, 2010 at 7:15 am

“Participant 05” is a seven-year-old boy who struggles with meningitis, among other opportunistic infections. His mother writes about their challenges in her journal entry.

In 1992, after being involved in a car accident, I was diagnosed HIV-positive. I knew very little about HIV and I had no sign of being ill or of the struggle that la[id] ahead for me and my family. I was healthy and fit until 2001, after I had fallen pregnant with my youngest son. I had two children already, so I thought it was no big deal. After a difficult pregnancy, I gave birth to a baby boy, [who] was immediately diagnosed as HIV-positive. His CD4 count was zero, like myself, and the doctors predicted a very short life span for him, for he had TB at birth. Today I thank God, for he has celebrated his seventh birthday in July this year. In spite of being a very sick boy, he also goes to school when he can, and when you look at him some days, he looks and plays with other children like any seven year old. I try to make his life as normal as I can for in a house with lots of grandchildren and friends, he is the only one who is very sickly and sometimes does not go to school for long periods at a time, and misses a lot of school work, but he at least gets some kind of education. He has been put on the second line of ARVs, because of his very high viral load and very low CD4 count. At the moment, he is suffering from slow meningitis, and I am suffering from cancer and four other opportunistic diseases. Through all our past & future struggles, I thank God for the strong support system I have at my church & support group that I joined about four years ago. They are with me every step of the way & it makes my life a whole lot better than it could have been. I am also an HIV & AIDS activist, for I know that HIV [and AIDS] are maintainable, if you take your [medicine], and abstain from sex or protect yourself, and surround yourself with family and friends as a strong support system. Aluta continua!, the struggle continues. . . .

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