Release date: 01 December 2005
HIV positive fathers are key agents of change in the HIV/AIDS epidemic is a key message of a new booklet, Fulfilling Fatherhood: Experiences from HIV Positive Fathers, which reveals with candid detail the lives of thirteen HIV positive fathers from around the world – launched on World Aids Day (1 December 2005).
Kevin Osborne, IPPF Senior Technical Adviser (HIV/AIDS), “The world has made a commitment to tackle the spread of HIV/AIDS; if we are to be successful, we must listen to, and act upon, the voices of people living with HIV/AIDS who are part of every community.
“HIV positive fathers are pivotal in shaping the lives of their children and families, and in providing a role model to address stigma and discrimination. These honest and highly personal stories from fathers who have chosen to speak out and live openly with HIV, not only serve to demonstrate the complexity of parenting in the context of HIV/AIDS, but also act as a catalyst to better understand how the world needs to respond to the epidemic.”
The experiences of the fathers in Fulfilling Fatherhood offer an insight into the complexities of family life when living with HIV, with experiences ranging from Christo Greying in South Africa who says:
“Some people are amazed that my wife and I are parents, while others think we were irresponsible. They don’t know all of the research and testing we did, and precautions we took to limit the risk to my wife, who is still negative. When I told my parents we were pregnant my mother was in tears and my father had to take a walk to absorb it all. It was more than we dreamed could happen. The impossible had come true.”
While in Sri Lanka, Aruna continues to face much discrimination:
“Being a positive father is not easy. I see my son for fifteen minutes once a week. I have only picked him up and hugged him maybe two or three times in seven years because his mother is afraid that he will become infected. She is afraid that if he pinched me or scratched me accidentally he could touch my blood. Her family tells my son not to touch me because of HIV. For me, knowing my status changed how I am with my son. I can’t touch him or hug him like any ordinary father can anymore. I have to love him from a distance.”
Fulfilling Fatherhood highlights the need for more understanding of the needs of HIV positive people and for more emphasis on ‘positive prevention’, an essential ingredient in linking efforts aimed at HIV prevention and care.
Positive prevention helps people living with HIV/AIDS to better protect their health, avoid other sexually transmitted infections and avoid passing HIV on to others.
Useful Links: More on IPPF's HIV/AIDS work.