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In 12 of 29 CEECIS countries are at risk of not developing to their potential due to poverty, stunting or both.
I will have a normal life, like everyone else
When I was 10 years old, my parents died. I stayed with my grandmother. Later on, the Commission for the Cases of Minors sent me to an orphanage, because my grandmother could no longer take care of me.
Then I fell ill, I was sick, I had cramps, I fainted. I was taken to the Center for AIDS Control, where I had an blood test for HIV. Two days later I found out about my illness. By then I was 13 years old. I stayed in hospital at the Research Institute of Virology for three months. I was prescribed a treatment, antiretroviral therapy.
At first I thought that I would die early. When they explained to me all about about my illness, I stopped being afraid. In the Mekhribonlik Home everyone knows about my illness and I have friends.
When I was invited to the training for teenagers with HIV, I thought: "What will I do there?" However, when I took part in the discussions, I got interested. For example, it was interesting to learn about the causes of my illness.
At the training I learned a lot of new things, made friends with other children. Here, there is a completely different attitude to a people like me. We were all equal. Besides me, 4 more people came to the training from the Mekhribonlik Home.
I can cook, I love making salads. I dream of becoming a cook. I asked if, having HIV, I can work as a cook, and they said "yes". In the future, I will have a normal life, like everyone else!
Nigora Islamova, pediatrician at the Orphanage No. 23
Our Mekhribonlik Home cares for children aged between 3-18 years of age. We provide special care to children with HIV. If an HIV-positive child is having any trouble, we immediately refer the child to the Tashkent City Centre for AIDS Control or the Research Institute of Virology. If hospitalization is necessary, we send the child for treatment. Every month, we receive anti-retroviral therapy pills and other medications from the Centre for AIDS Control.
Children with HIV should eat better, it is important to preserve and strengthen their immune systems. That means, if an ordinary child eats 4 times a day, then children with HIV need to eat 6-8 times. The other children living in the orphanage are aware of their peers' HIV status . No one is hiding it. In my opinion, other children perceive their problem as a common disease.
There are 11 HIV-positive children in our Mekhribonlik Home. Shaudia is the most capricious of them. She refuses to eat and to take the necessary pills. On a five-point scale, as a paediatrician, I would assess the state of her health at 3.5-4 points. So, I refer her for medical examination every 2-3 months, and not once every six months as it would normally be.
Of course, it is not easy for Shaudia. Not only does she have no parents, but she also has this health problem. She works a lot with the psychologist at our children's home. We help Shaudia to get wherever she wants to be: to a camp, to play football, to the pool, so that she won’t feel sad or upset.
I like to work with HIV infected children. I'm not only their doctor, but a mother. You could say that all the women working in an orphanage are like children's moms, and the men are like their dads. We behave with the children accordingly: we hug them, we caress them, we joke with them.
As far as I remember, this is the second time that our children have taken part in a training for teenagers with HIV organized by UNICEF. The kids themselves very much wanted this and participated in the training gladly. Everything that they learned in the training, they shared with other children. Shaudia also liked it. I hope the training will benefit her.