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Page last updated at 14:10 GMT, Tuesday, 5 May 2009 15:10 UK

Lesotho Aids diary: Counsellor

The BBC, in conjunction with Medecins Sans Frontieres, has been following the lives of seven people from the community of St Rodrigue, in Lesotho, as they struggle to live with and work through the country's HIV/Aids crisis. This is the final instalment.


Mamatsoele Leseo | Counsellor | Setleketseng village

Mamatsoele Leseo

In the villages there are a lot of myths surrounding HIV.

One of them is that if you are pregnant and have HIV, your child will have HIV no matter what.

So when this doesn't happen, it makes me very happy and proud.

Counselling is the part of my work that makes me happiest, so definitely a baby born negative to an HIV-positive mother really stands out for me in my job.

The mothers are very proud when their baby is negative because they don't have the guilt of passing HIV to their child.

Instead, their children can grow up without HIV forever, unless they contract the virus from somewhere else.

New arrivals

We have had a lot of new patients over the last two months, especially pregnant ladies.

I think the HIV-positive mothers with negative babies will educate their children better

Fortunately, we haven't had ladies refusing an HIV test because we explain in counselling the possibility of the children being born negative even if they are HIV-positive.

In the last two months, two babies have been born negative to HIV-positive mothers after receiving PMTCT (Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission).

They were a boy and a girl and they were both beautiful babies.

Mamatsoele Leseo
Mamatsoele is happy that pregnant mothers come forward for HIV tests

We know they are negative because of a test called PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) which detects HIV in infants.

But if the mother is breastfeeding, the baby continues to be exposed to HIV, so we have to re-test the baby three times to make sure - after six weeks, six months and a year and a half.

When these babies are born to HIV-positive mothers and have negative status, it makes me very happy.

I think the HIV-positive mothers with HIV negative babies will educate their children about HIV better.

Leaving soon

One day MSF (Medecins Sans Frontieres) will have to leave here, which does not feel good.

Since MSF came to Lesotho, there have been a lot of differences for a lot of us - because in these rural places they called meetings and we get a lot of healthcare and education where before we had nothing in our villages.

So, I ask myself a lot of questions. Like: 'Will we be able to receive and give blood samples on time for our patients?'

'Will there be as much support as there is now from the people in charge in the clinics and hospitals?'

Collecting the specimens of blood is a big challenge for us because St Rodrique is so far away from everything.

We are in the remote mountains and now MSF comes and picks up these samples.

Joining the BBC project has made me really happy and proud because hopefully people will learn from me and how I live. It makes me really proud.




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