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WomenHands

Many mothers who are HIV-positive face barriers to good health because of poverty and the demands of being a parent. Donor support allows Casey House to assist them with transportation and child care expenses, so they can attend the appointments they require to stay well.

It’s not easy to be a single mother with HIV. Without help, I don’t think I could survive. I know I couldn’t. But today, I have hope. I’m raising my son to be strong and independent, and to give back to society.

Joy, Casey House Community Nursing Client

Poverty, isolation, chronic pain and the non-stop demands of child care place additional burdens on mothers who are HIV-positive. In addition to providing superb clinical care, Casey House partners with other agencies to address the logistical challenges faced by so many of our clients in managing a disease as complex and debilitating as HIV/AIDS.

Like many single mothers who are poor, Joy struggles with isolation. HIV isolates her even more. “There is terrible stigma in my community,” explains Joy, who is originally from East Africa. “People who I thought were friends, when they found out I had HIV, they wouldn’t even touch me, they wouldn’t come near me or eat my food. It hurts. Why can’t they see that I’m raising a son who is healthy? What do they have to be afraid of?”

At Casey House, Joy receives massage therapy weekly to help with the terrible pain of neuropathy, a common neurological complication of HIV that causes muscle weakness and pain in the extremities. With nobody in her life to take her home after the painful medical procedures she regularly undergoes to monitor her progressive organ disease, Joy would ordinarily be required to remain in hospital after each procedure. But with a son to care for, she depends on the taxi chits supplied by Katie, her Casey House nurse, to get her home safely. “I need to get home, my son needs me. The taxi gets me home safe. It means so much.”

Four years ago, Joy was told that she had only months to live, and that she should get her affairs in order. Today, though she continues to be very fragile and lives with constant pain, the care she receives from Casey House and other community partners gives her hope for her future, and for that of her son. “HIV wasn’t my plan, but life doesn’t always turn out the way you want it to be,” says Joy. “It’s not easy to be a single mother with HIV. Without help, I don’t think I could survive. I know I couldn’t. But today, I have hope. I’m raising my son to be strong and independent, and to give back to society.”