An emotional reunion at the Chiva conference 

At the Chiva Family conference on Saturday 21 May, the day began with an unplanned and very emotional reunion. A mother who attended the conference explains: 

“17 years ago a bubbly, very handsome young French man walked into our cubicle. We were on Robin ward at Great Ormond Street hospital for children. He introduced himself as our nurse. From that day that incredible nurse came in armed with tea and toast for me. He then proceeded to weigh, bath and persuade his patient – my baby daughter – to bottle feed. He knew that my heart broke when the phlebotomist came in and could not find a viable vein. To that he would send me away, and he looked after my daughter through that horrible moment. He never let her go through anything he thought would scar her. He became her champion. 

“He was and remains the only man that has ever rifled through my luggage, for he believed that although my child was unwell, she still needed to wear the pretty clothes that I had not bothered to unpack. I wondered what happened to that wonderful nurse that saw me, looked after his patient and made me understand what patient centred approach really meant. I saw it, I lived it.  

“Then in a random conversation at the Chiva family conference in 2022, our paths came together again. The Djamel that looked after my daughter nearly two decades ago was right there in front of me. We reconnected. We reunited. We cried. Tears of joy. It turns out he was still involved in helping children and young people living with HIV through being a member of the Chiva Steering Group. 

“I was proud to share how full circle we had come because to me it was and will remain a miracle. Djamel, the saint that looked after us then, is now my friend. He got to see his patient as a young lady who will be off to university this year. When Djamel and I met 17 years ago it was a time when many lives were lost due to lack of effective treatment, especially for paediatrics. Today it continues to take many through stigma and discrimination. I am just glad that the nurse that went over and beyond his remit is still dedicated to supporting the HIV movement. For that I will be forever grateful and encouraged that we can indeed win the fight against the HIV with an army of more Djamel’s. I salute you.”