When Teresa Njeri got pregnant in 2001 in Kiambu, a suburb of Nairobi, it was the end of the world. She was joyous about the pregnancy — but an AIDS test showed she was H.I.V.-positive. A clinician told her: “Make sure your husband comes in for testing — and don’t sleep with him.”
“I knew if you have AIDS you are going to die,” Njeri told me in an interview last week. But the clinic staff told her she had a chance to save her child. They gave her and the baby medicine that lowered the risk of H.I.V. transmission, and her son was born H.I.V.-free.
That was her only joy. Her husband left her and she moved in with an aunt. When her son was 7 months old, Njeri developed full-blown AIDS and tuberculosis. She had not told her family she had H.I.V.; they learned when hospital staff told them to come care for her.