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HIV/AIDS Awareness

A Mother’s Journey to an HIV-Free Family

Photo: Courtesy of Eric Bond for Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

As a mother living with HIV, Martha Cameron knows how powerful access to comprehensive treatment services is for HIV-positive women.

An HIV-positive diagnosis in 2003 was Martha Cameron’s worst fear realized. She had already lost family and friends to AIDS-related causes when she fell ill while working in her home country, Zambia.

Martha accessed treatment through programs supported by the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief — a U.S. program that funds the global HIV/AIDS response. Slowly, her health improved, and she returned to her work with children orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. There, she met her husband, Andy. Soon after they married, they talked about starting a family.

Martha worried about the risks of passing HIV to her baby, but her doctor confirmed that with consistent medication, her child could be born HIV-free. She gave birth to her first healthy baby in 2009.

American healthcare

Before having another child, Martha and Andy moved to the United States. During her second pregnancy, she received support from the Ryan White program, which helps half a million people access HIV services each year and has supported efforts to virtually eliminate mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) in the country.

Grateful for the care she’s received in her life, Martha is dedicated to reaching out to others as executive director of The International Community of Women Living with HIV North America and an ambassador for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF).

Inspired by Elizabeth Glaser’s powerful advocacy for children with HIV, EGPAF’s mission to fight for an AIDS-free generation is close to Martha’s heart. She and the Foundation are driven to see a world where no other mother, child, or family is devastated by the disease.

“We have the ability to prevent MTCT, so for any child to be born with HIV is unacceptable,” Martha says. “To end AIDS, we must keep fighting to bring these lifesaving and comprehensive services to women and families around the world.”

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