Archive for the 'pregnancy' Category

21
Oct
07

How HIV man became a proud dad

LIKE a lot of men, Perry Evans had always taken for granted that one day he would become a dad.

But at the young age of 24 his world came crashing down around him when doctors told him that he was HIV positive.

Perry, originally from Aberavon, Port Talbot, was a haemophiliac and had accidentally been infected with the virus by an NHS blood transfusion.

Not only did he think it would end his dreams of starting a family – but he thought he would have just a few years to live.

The 46-year old said: “When I found out I was HIV positive at the age of 24, I felt as if I’d been handed a death sentence.

“My future just disappeared – it was assumed I’d never have unprotected sex, never father children. Worst of all, I was told I’d only have another two to five years to live before dying a painful death.

“And in my head, those few years were going to be sexless and loveless.”

But rather than resigning himself to being ill, Perry put on a brave face and resolutely decided to make the best of his life.

He said: “It was actually my mum who took it hardest though.

“Because haemophilia is passed on maternally, she already felt guilty for my health problems.

“But I’ve always faced things head-on, and I quickly came to terms with it. What choice did I have? I realised HIV didn’t have to stop me living.”

Perry was keen to start a relationship, but was fully aware that a lot of girls might have been deterred by his illness.

But he soon fell for a woman called Heather, who was 22 at the time.

He said: “I dated a couple of girls, but because I’m a Christian sex was always something I was saving for marriage.

“It didn’t become an issue until I met Heather in 1987. I knew straight away she was special – that she could be the one. I told her about my HIV status on our second date.

“I would have been gutted if she’d turned round and said, ‘Sorry, I want a man who can give me kids,’ or didn’t want to know me because of the disease. But it was a risk I knew I had to take.”

Although Heather admits that she was hesitant to begin with, she also believed that the relationship was too special to pass by.

Perry said: “Thankfully for me, Heather was brilliant about it. She didn’t freak out, and she told me soon after I dropped the bombshell that she’d decided she wanted to give things a go.

“A year later, we were married. Thinking I only had five years, tops, to live, there was no point in us hanging round.

“Of course, I worried about leaving Heather a widow and taking away her chance of becoming a mum. But I figured she’d still be young enough to meet someone else after I’d gone.”

From the very beginning Perry and Heather were constantly told by doctors that they would never be able to have children.

But despite Perry’s deteriorating health, the couple were determined to give it a go. They had heard about a pioneering technique called ‘sperm washing’ that looked like it could give them the chance to be parents.

Perry said: “Before I got HIV, I’d always thought I’d be a dad. But it was something I’d learnt not to think about. And so when I heard about sperm washing, I was really excited.”

The process allows doctors to separate the male’s sperm from the HIV virus. The sperm is then injected into the female egg using artificial insemination.

But the couple were told that there was still a three to six per cent risk of either Heather or the baby contracting the disease.

Neither did – and the couple were blessed with not one but two children.

Perry said: “Luckily it worked, and in 2001 Isaac was born. It was overwhelming. Then, in 2005 we were blessed with our beautiful daughter, Cerian.”

The couple, who now live in Worcestershire, will soon celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary. And although they don’t know what’s around the corner, they are living each and every day to the full.

Perry said: “My kids are a ray of sunshine. I try not to waste a moment and spend as much time as I can with them.

“I’ve got liver disease now, and I know I won’t be around forever. But just being here, with a wonderful wife and two kids, is a miracle.”

andrew.dagnell@mediawales.co.uk

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24
Aug
07

Requiring HIV tests for pregnant women

NewsObserver.com reports that North Carolina is considering a moved that will require all pregnant women in their third trimester of pregnancy to be tested for HIV if they have not already been tested.  Newborns who are brought into medical facilities for whom HIV status is not known will also be tested under the proposed plan.

In South Africa researchers have called for a debate on mandatory HIV testing for pregnant women and newborn children.  An article in the American Journal of Public Health by two former University of the Witwatersrand bioethicists says that between 11 000 and 15 000 babies could be protected against HIV each year if there were a 25% increase in the number of pregnant women tested for the virus.  Click here for more info.

25
May
07

Lifeboat: A Woman’s Guide to HIV-Positive Motherhood

Andrea Lynch, RH Reality Check, Nicaragua & England on February 26, 2007 – 8:50am

Published under: |

There are 19 million women worldwide currently living with HIV/AIDS, but living with HIV is just one aspect of these women’s lives. Reproductive rights organizations like Ipas and HIV/AIDS advocacy organizations like the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS have been working for years to raise awareness of the complexity of HIV-positive women’s sexual and reproductive realities, and a new project called Lifeboat offers a unique space to challenge stereotypes about HIV-positive women’s lives. Specifically, Lifeboat seeks to shed light on the reality of HIV-positive motherhood, using film to present compelling, complex images of mothers living with HIV/AIDS.

According to UNAIDS, of the 200 million women who become pregnant every year, roughly 2.5 million are HIV-positive. In some countries in southern Africa, where the pandemic is most widespread, over a third of pregnant women are living with HIV/AIDS. Across the developing world, HIV-positive women—like all women—struggle to find dignity amidst pervasive violations of their sexual and reproductive rights. And despite strong anti-discrimination laws and decades of awareness-raising, here in the United States, HIV-positive pregnant women continue to face discrimination within the health system, as Scott Swenson reported earlier this month.

The obstacles to achieving health, dignity, and well-being faced by HIV-positive women worldwide are formidable to say the least, but that is only part of these women’s stories. All over the world, HIV-positive women continue to grow, live, and contribute to their communities and their families. By sharing these women’s stories through short films, Lifeboat seeks to shatter the stigma and the stereotypes surrounding HIV/AIDS, sex, pregnancy, and motherhood, focusing instead on “the human experiences of wanting, having, loving, and raising children in a positive home.” For example, “Lullaby” features two teenagers talking about the loving, happy childhood that their HIV-positive mother has given them. “True Love” focuses on a Nigerian couple coming to grips with the knowledge that they are both HIV-positive, and that they are expecting a child. Both films have been screened at numerous conferences on HIV/AIDS, as well as in communities and healthcare settings. They will soon be available online. For more information, visit Lifeboat.