Testimony of a Palestinian living with HIV and AIDS

Mrs. H is a widow with seven children, infected through her husband with HIV. “It was very difficult to cope with the situation when I found out about my HIV status six years ago,” she says. “However, my husband supported me a lot; he always comforted me and said that we will fight it together till we die".

Mrs. H had minimal knowledge about HIV and AIDS. Thus, she educated herself. “I started considering this virus as a friend that I need to take care of to protect my immune system.”

Her children, especially after her husband’s death, were a source for strength. Now, she is under antiretroviral treatment, healthy, working and living a decent life with very high spirit but no one knows about her status. She receives treatment, regular clinical checkups and psychosocial support at the HIV and AIDS clinic in Ramallah, funded through the UN/Global Fund.

 At the beginning, she was psychologically affected by the stigma and accusations from health staff. However, she made every effort to fight for her rights, privacy and confidentiality.

“AIDS is like any other disease and with strong will I can fight it. I have a high spirit and I have to be strong for my children”.  She emphasized.

UNDP is the Principal Recipient for Global Fund programmes in a number of countries. In the occupied Palestinian territory, working closely with the Ministry of Health and UN agencies, the Global Fund-supported HIV-programme has significantly contributed to preventing the spread of HIV, as well as to providing treatment and care services to persons living with HIV and AIDS.

The Global Fund has committed USD 11 million to the project over a five-year period (2009-2013). Today, thanks to the initiative’s efforts, 22 non-governmental organizations are providing HIV and AIDS prevention, awareness and support services in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

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