HIV

Wow, bit of an epic trip to the hospital with a bunch of orphans today. It appeared quite a nice catholic setup with clean-ish buildings and a fairly well run out patient department at least. The doctor was much as could be expected though, fairly grumpy, bossy and unfriendly, but at least apparently very busy.

The real issue was eight year old Stephan's reaction to having some blood taken for a CD4 test (counting white cells). I expected the little guy to be a pro at it, even if nervous. He took my hand on the way to the lab and I chatted away about this and that. Once inside though things turned bad with wailing and crying and squirming.

But that's not so bad. I got Immaculate who was also up for some blood to go first and chatted about it some more with Stephen, and started to think I had cracked it. Then it was back into the hot seat and melt down again. However this time the lab technician said and did things I can't repeat here, I'm still in shock I think. In the heat of the moment I could only really look on at how to take a forced blood sample from a scared little kid.

Stephen (and I now think more importantly me) had some serious down time after that playing with the digital camera and getting something to eat and drink.

Up next though was the positive HIV test result for another orphan in the program. Although I know and have working with many HIV positive people, it was yet another learning curve being presented with the prospect of a young teenage girl being told her life is about to change. There are so many questions that arise, her ability to cope, the caregivers reaction tomorrow, whether she contracted it as a baby or teenager... they are all still running through my head.

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