I have heard this story too many times.
Rotich is 3 years old. His father died just months after he was
born. His mother spent most of his first two years of life in and
out of the hospital. No one knew exactly what was wrong with her,
but when she died a year ago, they told her mother that it was HIV.
Rotich went to live with his grandmother after his mother had
died. She barely scrapes together enough for the two of them to eat
one meal a day, but loves the boy and she asks her neighbors for
help and she tries to provide for him. When he got sick with a bad,
bad cough a few months ago, they learned that Rotich has this HIV
virus in his blood too. Those were the bad times. She thought she
would lose the little boy as well.
"He was all that remained of my daughter," she said. "And I did not
want to lose him. But I knew he would die."
In this case, thankfully, Rotich's grandmother was wrong. She
managed to get him enrolled in an AMPATH clinic. In our pediatric
HIV clinic in the small town of Kitale, Kenya, Rotich was able to
receive a combination of medicines that could keep his virus
sleeping. My study team started evaluating Rotich and his
grandmother every month, going to their house and seeing them in
clinic, and making sure that the little boy was getting all four of
his medicines, twice a day, every day. They helped arrange for him
and his grandmother to get a small monthly supplement of food to
help them get a second meal each day. We all got to watch as this
last remaining member of his family began to thrive and grow.
I have heard this story many times, for many many children. But
it's not really too many times. I don't grow
tired of the miracle.