One Big Toothbrush

My name is Camila, I took my four years old daughter to the hospital on account of fever, weakness and vomiting. She was admitted and her blood sample was
collected for some laboratory investigations. After a while, I was called in by one of the care providers to discuss the outcome of the results. 

The discussion went well until I was told that my baby girl tested positive to HIV. I shrank and grew cold like an eel. How would I believe that my baby has contracted HIV? Who would convince me that my child, who had neither had any blood transfusion, nor sex, would be screened HIV positive? “No, no, it cannot be true; there must be a mix-up somewhere”. “This is not my daughter’s result”. “Yes, this is someone else’s result”. In fact, your machines are faulty!” I barked as I sprang from my seat and made for the door as I refused to be calmed. Well, I did what many women in my shoes would have done in that circumstance. Two nurses came and held me to a seat. Sitting there, I unleashed the vilest and most derogatory of words I knew to the lady who screened my daughter and gave her the HIV positive result.

When the coal turned to ashes, I was able to listen to the counselor and consented to do my HIV screening, and the result came out Negative. Before too long, my husband arrived at the hospital from his office and he was screened Negative too. It was in the course of counselling that we realized the need to invite our housemaid for HIV counselling and testing. The next day our housemaid made it to the hospital for HIV screening and the result was ‘positive’. It was understandable that the housemaid may have had it before coming to stay with us; but the big question was “How did our little daughter get the HIV virus?”

After thorough counselling with the housemaid, she admitted sharing the same toothbrush with our daughter. According to her she never knew that there was any harm in sharing tooth brush as she used to share a tooth brush with her late father. So, she did not see anything wrong with sharing the tooth brush we provided her with our daughter.
Of course, the possibility of the child contracting HIV was very high, and she did, because of the blood contact from the bruises both shared. At this, I became very angry with myself for not giving basic orientation to our housemaid presuming that she knew common universal precautions. Secondly, I became ashamed of my carelessness, occasioned by my priority on catching up with early morning customers; there by leaving my daughter with the housemaid to take care of.  
I apologized to the health workers for my harsh behavior towards them. Arrangements were made on how to start treatment for both our housemaid and our little daughter. Today both of them are in good health because of absolute adherence HIV care; and we all live together as a family. We have had two other children and they are okay because we observe universal precautions.

I chose to share this on Buchi’s Care Blog so that people can learn from my experience and do the needful at all times. Do not presume that everyone is aware of the universal precautions. Tell everyone, especially children; that toothbrush is neither a baton that (one) passes from one athlete to another in a relay race, nor should its use exceed three months before a change of a new one.
Blood Contact Bruises Carelessness HIV Counselling and Testing Housemaid METANOIA Toothbrush Universal Precautions