I was working in Burma when I met the love of my life, Zwai.
My name is Mark, and I am an Australian citizen. We spent a loving and wonderful 15 months together, until I could wait no longer, and asked Zwai to marry me. A week after she said yes, we discovered to our joy that Zwai was pregnant. We made plans to apply for a partner visa so we could start our new life and our new family back in Australia.
But our joy was shortlived. Whilst still in Burma, Zwai was diagnosed with HIV. HIV is a highly stigmatised condition in Burma and Zwai was initially distraught about the fate of our unborn child. I found out that with specialist medical treatment, the risk of transmission of HIV from mother to baby can be significantly reduced. Unfortunately, this treatment was not available in Burma.
HALC assisted us to apply for an urgent Medical Treatment Visa so that Zwai could come to Australia to give birth to our baby without contracting HIV. I used most of my savings to pay for the medical treatment as that is one of the conditions of the visa – but of course it was worth it.
Our baby boy Kai was born by caesarean section in Australia, he is fit and healthy, and all his tests for HIV have come back negative. We have now applied for a partner visa so that we can continue to live together as a family in Australia. HALC is assisting us once again to apply for the health waiver for this visa. They have been there for us through the best and the worst days of our lives.
[all names and information that might identify any individual have been changed for confidentiality purposes]
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