The name of the child in this story has been changed to protect confidentiality.
When he was three years old, Hamid was one of nine children who became infected with HIV at a health facility in Kyrgyzstan. Eight years have passed since Hamid was diagnosed with HIV, but each year has been a constant fight against disease.
The same year Hamid was diagnosed with HIV, he was also diagnosed with hepatitis A, for which he was successfully treated, but a year later, in 2003, he became sick with TB meningitis. Hamid’s compromised immune system made him especially susceptible to TB. With much support from his mother and health care providers, Hamid completed treatment.
Unfortunately, in 2010, Hamid was diagnosed with TB again, but this time disseminated TB with septic shock. He was treated for TB at a local health facility for 10 months before being transferred to a national center with a children’s MDR-TB department. At the national center, they performed DST and discovered that Hamid’s strain of TB was resistant to all four of the first-line drugs (isoniazid, ethambutol, rifampicin, and streptomycin). Hamid was switched to second-line drugs for eight months and given antiretroviral therapy for his HIV. Over the course of the eight months, Hamid experienced fever, vomiting, rashes, and shortness of breath. Hamid’s doctors provided auxiliary treatment to mediate these side effects and offer some relief to Hamid. Hamid was a brave patient and unafraid of “injections and people in white gowns.”
A year and a half after Hamid was diagnosed with TB for the second time, he completed treatment and returned home. Hamid returned to his favorite activities: drawing and watching cartoons. His favorite cartoon is “My Neighbor Totoro,” in which Totoro, “a big, kind cat,” is a superhero. Hamid believes that “one day [he] will meet Totoro, who will protect [him] from diseases under a big umbrella.”