One by one, each of Connie’s three children died before her eyes in the 1980s from a relentless disease she had suspected was HIV, but didn’t have the “courage” at the time to find out.
Today, the grieving mother is working to make sure that no parent makes the same tragic decision.
In Zambia, where Connie lives, and other parts of the sub-Saharan Africa — HIV and AIDS still carry a pervasive stigma, a stigma so strong that it keeps people from even getting tested.
Once Connie’s husband fell ill, the two felt that they had no choice but to find out if they were infected. They both tested positive.
The pair enrolled in the Kanyama Health Center, a clinic that offers free life-saving drugs –- a decision that has kept Connie alive and has also helped her find a new purpose.
Connie now serves as an AIDS ambassador and peer counselor. She tests people in the comforts of their own homes and helps them navigate their treatment options.