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Phela (Life)
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Phela (Life)
Living with HIV presents daunting challenges to prospective parents. This intimate portrait of an expectant mother in Lesotho follows her brave journey as she carefully follows prevention protocols before, during, and after giving birth -- and goes on to teach others.
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Directed by Teboho Edkins and produced by Don Edkins.

Learn more about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Short Film Initiative, a collaboration with the Sundance Institute.

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Segment 1

TITLE
Phela (Life)
TITLE
In Lesotho, southern Africa, almost 25 percent of the population is infected with HIV. Because of medical advances, community outreach, and education, people are not only living with HIV, they are having healthy children.
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Thato is a treatment literacy trainer with an NGO in Lesotho. She uses film to discuss HIV and maternal Health issues.
THATO MATSOSO
The film is about to start. Please come in. My name is Thato Matsoso. Some of you know me already. I came to talk with you. I don't normally talk about my own life, right? Since you've known me, I never have. But today I come with a film to share my personal journey.
TITLE
Thato's Story. In 2006, Thato and her husband had their first child, a baby boy.
THATO MATSOSO
He was very handsome. Very, very handsome. He just got sick, until one day I decided to take an HIV test. For him. And the results were positive. So that is when we realized that the baby was HIV positive. And that's when we also learned that we were HIV positive as well. So the baby was now very sick. And he passed away. I am not scared of having a baby. Yes, I'm not. I planned the baby. I didn't just ... we didn't just do the baby, like the first one. But this one we planned and the doctor was involved. And I knew what to do during my pregnancy, what to eat, what supplements to use. And I know what the baby will get, that the baby will get after being born, and I also know what kind of ARVs I have to get as well, so that the baby will be okay.
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Thato will deliver her baby at a hospital in South Africa, where health care professionals are experienced in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
DOCTOR
See, it's a boy. You have to give him this particular medication. It is an ARV for babies, to help prevent HIV. You have to give it to him every six hours. Say it's 12 at night, the next dose is due at six in the morning. And so on. So using your cell phone, you can set your alarm, every six hours.
TITLE
Six weeks later
THATO MATSOSO
Today we are going to get the baby's results. My baby's results. But all I know is that I took every precaution that I was supposed to take, so I don't know what the results will come out saying, I don't know. The baby's health seems to be okay at the moment.
DOCTOR
Well, the tests say that he is totally healthy. The test for the antibodies can't tell us for sure if the baby is infected or not. The baby could still have the mother's antibodies. With the PCR test they check for the virus itself. The results arrived yesterday. Dr. Tsili Mosia, the pediatrician, confirmed the results. The PCR is negative.
THATO MATSOSO
Are you sure?
DOCTOR
Yes. This is good news.
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With careful planning and precautions, Relebohile was born HIV negative; both his parents are HIV positive.
THATO MATSOSO
The film is over. By showing this film and being here together with you, I really want to encourage young women to keep up your spirits, that there is still life after finding out you are HIV positive. And with whomever you meet, at home, and amongst your friends, you should talk about it.
WOMAN
We are really delighted with today's session. It uplifts not only young women but also us, the elderly. Honestly, sincerely, this is a big day for me. I am happy. Thank you very much.
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Community education and improved health care are important steps towards reducing HIV infection rates in Lesotho. As Thato continues her community work, Relebohile is a perfectly healthy young boy.
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[end credits]