I am Siti Rumkakir, originally from Biak, Raja Ampat. I am 27 years old.  I am HIV positive.

 

 
 

When I was two-weeks pregnant I felt fatigue and I thought maybe it was because of cravings.   But a month later I took a blood test and I learned that I was HIV positive.  At first I was angry and in denial and overwhelmed with so many concerns.  I felt so hopeless and I thought I was going to die the next day. But my husband and family supported me unconditionally and they accepted me rather than distancing themselves.
 
I gave birth to my first son, Haikal, and he was growing up as a healthy boy. But suddenly he got sick with diarrhea.  Haikal fell into a coma and passed away. If I had known earlier that I had contracted HIV perhaps I could have done PMTCT (Prevention Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV) to save him.

 

 
A photo of Ibu Siti while she was pregnant with Haikal.

A photo of Ibu Siti while she was pregnant with Haikal.

A photo of Haikal before he passed away.

A photo of Haikal before he passed away.

 

 

 

“Although I am HIV positive, I am still able to care for my children.”


 
 

 

My curiosity urged me to ask questions and seek information from the health staff to learn the facts about HIV. Knowing the truth about HIV has helped me overcome my fear and now I see HIV as a common illness. Looking back sometimes I laugh at myself at how I used to be scared because I did not have the right information.

For the last 3 years I have been taking ARV (Antiretroviral medicine) regularly, twice a day at 8 o’clock in the morning and at night.  It keeps me healthy and strengthens my immune system. So although I am HIV positive, I am still able to care of my children.  

 

 
 

Most of my activities take place at home.  I wake up in the morning; I cook, do chores around the house, then help my daughter, Vio, prepare for school, and play with my little one, Young.

 

 
 

 

I have been taking ARV for long before I was pregnant with Young. The doctor recently tested him for HIV and he didn’t contract the virus from me. Young is healthy and weighs almost 11kg.  I am thankful that he will be celebrating his first birthday this year.  I love my children. Although they have never met, Haikal will always be Young’s older brother and Vio still talks to him when we visit his grave.

 

 
Young celebrates his first birthday.

Young celebrates his first birthday.

Young birthday cake to celebrate his first birthday.

Young birthday cake to celebrate his first birthday.

Ibu Siti takes Young and Vio to visit Haikal's grave.

Ibu Siti takes Young and Vio to visit Haikal's grave.

 

I started a small home business baking Pia cakes.  It’s my way of being resourceful to earn some money and help my husband and buy household needs like rice and milk. Vio is my little helper because she always helps me every time I make Pia cakes.

 

 

Ibu Siti makes Pia cakes at home with Vio as her helper.  

 

"I want to continue to be a devoted wife and a great example to my children."

 
 

 

It’s important to get tested for HIV so we know our status.  I also want people to know that although I am HIV positive, I still have a normal life.  I have the same enthusiasm and self-confidence just like those who are healthy.  I want to continue to be a devoted wife and a great example to my children.