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Keeping on Meds After Birth

Straight from the Heart is a PLUS column that features anonymous interviews of women living with HIV. Antoinette Erby-Jones, a PLUS advocate, started this column to share women’s experiences and stories of how they learned about their status and how they coped with their diagnosis.

Q: How did you feel when you discovered you were HIV positive?
Well, I was in denial. I found out when I was five months pregnant, I couldn’t believe it. I went to the doctor’s office, got a swab test, and that’s when I knew. I’ve often got a HIV test. I was in shock, I got angry, I was mad that my boyfriend infected me. It has been five months since I found out.

Q: How did your family respond when you told them about your HIV status?
A: I told my mom, my sister and brother, they are all scared to death. I just told my dad a month ago and he is so mad. He hates my friend.

Q: Now that you have been made aware you are HIV positive what are you going to do about care and treatment?
A: When I was first diagnosed I was adamant about taking my medication because I didn’t want my unborn child to have HIV. Now after childbirth I am not taking medication as I should.

Q: Do you feel you can still function as a normal woman since being diagnosed with HIV?
A: Umm, yeah I do everything I used to do. I write, sing, and I do yoga.

Q: What goals do you have set for yourself?
A: There’s so much I want to do. I want to be an advocate since the AIDS 2012 Conference. I got so excited and that made me want to speak up about HIV and make others aware.

Q: Have you signed an Advance Directive?
A: Yes and because of that everything seems so real. I want my wishes to be respected in the end if anything happens.

Q: Are you bitter at your partner for infecting you with HIV?
A: Surprisingly, no.