Last Tuesday I had a couple in my clinic who walked in with their 7 year old daughter. The one to be seen was the mother who is HIV+.
As I could not locate her case notes, I decided to just see her without the notes because after going through all the results on the computer prior to calling her number, I deemed her to be stable and would not pose a problem needing her case notes. (It takes forever for the notes to appear, sometimes)
Sure enough, she was well and had no complaints. She was adherent to her medications, having been on HAART for the last 2 years and taking them religiously. By God’s grace, she delivered her daughter 7 years ago without passing the virus to her. Her CD4 was > 500 cells/dL. Her husband, who is HIV -, sat nearby.
As I was about to write her prescription before letting them out, the mother asked me a question (they always have a few more questions to ask especially when they encounter a doctor who speaks their language!):
“Doctor, can I ask you something? Can I share food with my daughter? “
“Why not? It’s perfectly safe”, I replied.
“What about hugging and kissing?”, she went on to ask.
“Yes, even that. You can hug your kid and kiss her too”, I responded.
“See, I told you I can do that!”, she spoke to her husband who was sitting opposite her.
“No la, better be safe than sorry. I think you better not!”, said her HIV- hubby.
It turns out that the patient has never been counseled regarding what she could or could not do after she was diagnosed with HIV and consequently she has been forbidden by her hubby to share food with the family as well as showering her maternal love on her child.
She complained to me that her daughter is lazy and does not listen to her. I suspect that it’s because the kid has never tasted her mother’s love nor shared loving moments with her and therefore do not respect her mum.
That’s a real pity really.
I took some time to explain to both of them the dos and don’ts in HIV and gave her an information booklet to read when she gets home.She has a grateful look on her face when she left. Her hubby didn’t look too happy.
I am hoping her hubby would relent and let his wife to finally release all the pent-up love she has for her daughter.
Fri, 281108 @ 0700