A generation born HIV-free: One mother's story

March 18, 2014
A pregnant woman leaves a health clinic in Bayelsa State, Nigeria.

At any one time in the impoverished, flood-prone Niger Delta region of Nigeria, about 100,000 women are pregnant. Most of them have no idea if they have HIV or will pass it on to their newborns.

In 2012, Pact and Chevron, through a partnership called PROMOT, began working to usher in an HIV-free generation in the Niger Delta, one expectant mother at a time. In the first year of the project, nearly 7,500 mothers were tested for HIV; those found living with the virus were counseled how to keep their babies from contracting it.

In the video "A Generation Born HIV-Free: One Mother's Story," 26-year-old Unoma, who recently gave birth to her third child, relates her ignorance of HIV, fears of having contracted it and hardships in getting tested for it. Thanks to Pact-trained community health workers, Unoma is finally tested … and is grateful for what she learns, not a moment too soon. She's also suddenly aware how closely tied her community's future is to the tests and their impact on generations to come.

Unoma's story marks a Chevron-Pact announcement today to scale up PROMOT by $1.7 million over the next five years, with the goal of testing more than half of all pregnant women for HIV, preventing its transmission to their newborns and moving a milestone closer to an HIV-free generation in the Niger Delta.