Stories: Health

  • How teen moms in Nigeria could wind up hurt by Trump’s U.N. cuts

    LAGOS, Nigeria — Supo Nofisat didn’t mean to get pregnant. As a single, unemployed 18-year-old living in Nigeria, she knew that having a child could mean an even harder life. So when her pregnancy test came back positive in January and a traditional midwife told her she was already three months along, the aspiring hairdresser thought she had...

  • There’s a Message for City Planners in Cape Town Plumbing Poll

    A mother and father stand in the doorway of their Khayelitsha home, looking on as their two young children goof around on the small patch of dirt outside. It’s something like a front yard, only that — flanked on one side by the family’s corrugated tin shack and on the other by a public portable toilet...

  • Condom Couture and Other Ways to Fight AIDS With Art

    After 20 years of doing “condom couture,” Adriana Bertini knows she can make a dress out of old condoms in about 50 hours. But after years of carting bags packed with condom collectibles – including a wedding dress made from 80,000 sheaths – around the world, the Brazilian designer never knows how long it will take to get through the airport. ...

  • For One woman, Working on an Ebola Burial Team Cracked Her Life Open

    At the height of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, the rumors came fast and furious: The government was injecting patients with Ebola to shake more aid money out of the West; the best way to prevent Ebola was to drink salt water – gallons of it – or maybe bleach; the disease could be cured by onions, exorcisms, condensed...

  • In Uganda, Fostering a World Without Adoption

    In 2011, a young Ugandan woman I’ll call Evelyn learned she was HIV-positive when she was six months pregnant. Her husband’s family blamed her for the diagnosis, and declared they would find him a new wife. Newly alone and vulnerable, Evelyn was at a loss when she learned her newborn son “Joshua” was positive...

  • Pregnant and Diagnosed with HIV: The Group Providing Support for Mothers

    Thirteen years ago, when Babalwa Mbono was eight months pregnant with her second child, she went to her clinic in Cape Town, South Africa, to have a routine HIV test. “I went with confidence because my first child was negative and I was negative then,” she says. When the test came back positive, Mbono couldn’t...

  • Fighting the Scourge of Xenophobia in South Africa

    It is death by a thousand cuts – the small injustices that add up, one after another. It’s the cruel nurse, the rude admitting staff, the names called out of a passing car. For the thousands of African refugees living in South Africa, it’s a fact of life. It’s hard to describe South...

  • In South Africa, HIV Prevention Starts With Sex Workers

    A condom or a coffin. That is the real choice a woman faces when she decides between a man paying 40 to 400 South African rand (around $3 to $30) for sex while wearing a condom, and one paying 1,000 to 1,500 rand (around $75 to $110) for unprotected sex, explains sex worker Emily. In the city of Durban, where 53 percent of sex workers have HIV, peer...

  • ‘I Forgot I Hated God’

    “I had a dream.” We are sitting in a restaurant in Kampala, Uganda, with Dennis, a Protestant lay chaplain, when he recounts a dream inspired by a painting in his house. The painting depicts Matthew 19:14, in which Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as...

  • Stigma ‘Killing’ South Africans Living with HIV

    Tania has to shout to be heard over music blasting out of a brothel in downtown Durban, South Africa, where dozens of sex workers slouch in chairs under the red glow of the bar or lean against walls as they wait for clients. Dressed in a tight top and trousers, the 42-year-old looks younger than her age. Sex work is...