about the author
UN Fellow - Public Information Assistant
Luca has been WFP's Public Information Assistant in Burkina Faso since January 2011.
Patricia is 42 years old and has been living with HIV for 10 years. She is now receiving food assistance through WFP, essential for effective antiretroviral treatment.
Her story begins with a trip. In 1995, she became a young widow with three children and left her village to find a job in town. Her children remained in the village with her family, and she returned to see them as often as she could.
During the first months in town, Patricia stayed with her uncle, who welcomed her as a daughter and gave her the means to produce and sell dolo, a kind of local beer. One day, at her uncle’s house, she met Emile, who became her second husband in 1999.
Soon, Emile began to grow sick and after only two years together, he died of an illness without a name. Patricia’s older sister, who lived in a neighborhood close by, advised Patricia to go test for HIV.
In June 2001, after the test, the doctor explained to Patricia that she was HIV positive. Once she began taking her antiretroviral treatment, she felt tired all the time and could no longer work.
Few know that Patricia is HIV positive.
"One of my biggest regrets is that I have never been able to speak truthfully of my illness with my uncle," she explained. "Today, the only people who know about it are my older sister and my aunt.”
In 2004, Patricia got in touch with an association Zems Taaba, which means “Let’s understand each other.” Through this organisation, which partners with WFP, Patricia receives WFP food assistance, which gives her the strength to work and undertake her daily tasks.
“Thanks to WFP support, I don’t feel weak anymore,” she said. “I feel I have enough energy to work and to live.”