Even so, her first years as a counsellor were difficult.
?? ?“Every day I was surrounded by babies who were sick and mothers who were hopeless yet no one was talking for them. It was during this time that I decided to fight for these mothers. I decided to be their voice and to wake up my community and the world to the harsh realities of so many mothers facing HIV and Aids.
“Today, because of the work of organisations like the Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric Aids Foundation and other like-minded organisations, access to services to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV have improved. The risk that a mother passes HIV on to her baby can now be reduced,” she explains.
Apart from being a counsellor and an ambassador for Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation, Florence works as a consultant?and trainer on sexually reproductive rights. She continues to work with other organisations that deal with accessibility and availability of healthcare to women and young girls.
Florence also has a health blog and is in the process of registering an NGO — to be called Nomthunzi after her late daughter.?
Florence met her husband when she was working in Soweto as a counsellor and he had gone to South Africa as a volunteer.
“When he began pursuing me, the first thing I asked him was if he knew that I was HIV positive. He told me he knew and had been?following my story,” she says with a smile on her face.
“Despite my condition,” she says, “he still wanted to date me. After dating for a while we got married in 2005. After consulting our doctor I got pregnant and we had our son in 2006.”
She says that while she was excited about her pregnancy, the nine months turned out to be crippling.
“Everyone hopes that their baby will be born healthy. I was praying and hoping my baby would be HIV free. After my son Alex was born on July 25, in 2006, it took me a while to bond with him because I was so scared that something would go wrong,” says Florence adding, “Even though?he was tested and found negative, I was still scared. But after he turned six months I was finally able to accept the miracle.”
Florence also has another son, Kulani, who is 18 months old.