Linda has a sweet face and an easy smile, but her smile
disappears quickly when she starts to talk about giving medicines
to her 12-year-old son. Moses has HIV, and he has been taking
medicines to keep his HIV virus quiet for many years. Like many
growing children with HIV, Moses is beginning to ask questions.
"Mum, why do you keep on giving me medicine even though I am not
sick?" he says. "For how long will I take the drugs?"
Sometimes, Linda answers simply: "Just take the medicines. One
day, I will tell you or I will take you to the doctor to tell
Linda is taking these same medicines, and it makes her nervous
when Moses calls attention to the medicines. When he keeps asking
questions, she reminds him how he had a terrible rash when he first
started taking these medicines. He had boils all over his body, and
it was that rash that got Moses and his mother diagnosed with HIV.
Today, Linda only tells him that these medicines will prevent him
from getting a rash like that again.
Moses' questions worry his mother. "I am so stressed," she says.
She worries that he will figure out that he has HIV, that he will
tell other people, and that their neighbors will refuse to talk to
them or to share food with them. She is worried that she will be
forced to move away from the small, two-room house where she lives
with her two sons. Linda has made these tight quarters a lovely
little home, with chairs and a coffee table and lace covering each
piece of furniture as well as the mud walls.
She becomes even more worried when she thinks of how old Moses
is getting and how intelligent he is.
"He understands things. I can't keep quiet for too long," she
admits. "But what do I say to a child like this? How does one
begin? That is why I want help from the doctors."
And she has another big fear: "After he knows he has this HIV,
he will keep asking. He will want to know how he has gotten
it. How can I tell him it comes from me, his mother?"
We're filming Linda's story to share with mothers just like her
- mothers with secret fears and worry and stress. We hope Linda's
story will help open other mothers and fathers to talking about how
we can work through these fears and talk with their children about