Girl, 16 jaar
Caretaker: ‘I am 50 years, I am a farmer and she is my 4th child. She was tested in 2006 and found HIV positive. I have challenges with her, she defaulted from medication.’
Adolescent: ‘I am a student and16 years old, I don’t drink or smoke. I stopped my medication for one month because my peers – especially my classmates – stigmatized me. I even decided to stop going to school, despite the fact that I am in class 8 and have registered for the National exams.
I fell sick immediately after my first session with MTAA during the April holiday and got admitted for one month at St. Mary’s mission hospital. When I recovered and went back to school my classmates laughed at me, saying I had been married for one month. The few who knew I had been hospitalized told others I have Aids and that’s why I have a rough face and take drugs everyday. This incident made me lose my self-esteem and develop a very high self-stigma.
This second session with MTAA has made me realize I can live again and I’m beginning a new journey to regain my self-esteem. I didn’t know I could share with my teachers in MTAA my personal issues, but I have now decided I will be close with them and share every challenge I experience as they have encouraged us. I’m also studying at home for my National exams and I believe I will pass and join secondary school. The counselor has been very friendly to me unlike other people out there and I have decided to start taking my drugs again. I have found a home in MTAA and I know I will make it. I urge the youth to know their status and plan their life. They should remember today it’s me, tomorrow could be them. It’s better I know my status and they don’t know theirs. I urge leaders and other organizations like MTAA to mobilize youth and guide them on how HIV is not a sickness but just a condition. Let the youth know that HIV does not kill if well managed. Other diseases like cancer and malaria kill.’
Counselor: ‘She already had been counseled, but no change and no solution according to the guardian. After this seminar and more counseling sessions, we at MTAA are monitoring her. In December we will evaluate her to find out how she is faring on.’
Girl, 15 jaar
Caretaker: ‘I am 30 years old and a farmer. The child was tested in 2016 and confirmed for having the virus. The grandfather raped her and infected her with the virus. I have challenges with the child she does not take medication.’
Adolescent: ‘I am 15 years old and in class 7. I have tested alcohol once but I haven’t smoked. My grandfather slept with me forcefully and I didn’t know he had the virus. He also warned me not to tell anyone about what he did to me. I was so much disturbed and bitter when I got diagnosed with HIV and it has taken me so much time to accept my condition. In fact I was at the verge of stopping medication when MTAA found me and I realized my mother was so much disturbed about me. With this counseling, I have resolved to observe drug adherence and positive behavior change. My friends know of my status and they encourage me to take my medications. Now with extra support from MTAA I have no reason to feel stigmatized. I want to concentrate on my studies and wish to become a role model to other youths through MTAA. My fellow youth should know that it was not my wish to have the virus. Youth should be weary and know that in future they can also contract the virus.’
Counselor: ‘My work is to ensure she continues with her medication and remains in school. For the issues of rape I had to make the girl realize that what happened has to be forgotten and that she needs to deal with the current situation.’
Girl, 16 jaar
Caretaker: ‘I am 42 years old and the girls stepmum. I studied until class 8 and I am a farmer. I have lots of challenges with her, she delivered a baby and she does not like the baby. Beatrice also does not take her medication and though she goes to the clinic to fetch the drugs, she just keeps them or sometimes throws them away. Her child is malnourished due to her own status. She has also stopped going to school, we have taken her for counseling but in vain please help me help her. Many counselors have tried to talk to her but she does not listen to them.’
Adolescent: ‘I am 16 years old, I tested alcohol once but I have never smoked. I don’t take my medication because I hate the drugs. They are too big and make me feel dizzy which I don’t like at all. I stay at home helping my mum with work around the house, my boyfriend (the father of my baby) lives in Nairobi and works in a supermarket, but we never communicate. I have no idea how I got the virus but I have never told my friends, not even my boyfriend. I don’t remember when I was sick but I know my legs were swollen. I was told I have blood pressure but am not sure about it.
Taking care of my baby is very difficult for me, but MTAA has helped me seek nutrition intervention. I appreciate MTAA because they have been following me up to adhere to drugs. In April I attended the training very sick! I remember MTAA staff taking me to Lusheya health center for medication, where I was referred to Kakamega teaching and referral hospital. I was feeling so much pain, but I didn’t know my condition was that serious and that it was due to poor drug adherence. I also remember MTAA staff contributing cloths for my baby whom I had carried half naked. I have been shown my photo during the April session and I don’t think that was me, because my condition has really improved. I will try to adhere to my medication if it will make me better. MTAA has taken me well and I appreciate their effort. I will take my medication and go to school.’
Counselor: ‘After long discussions she promised me she will take medication and even allowed me to liaise with her stepmum, to ensure she takes medication and she goes back to school. I discussed with MTAA to also ensure the baby is referred to a nutrition centre for further intervention. I also recommended for the girl to contact the father of the child and request for financial support for the baby. Monitoring by MTAA staff is ongoing and evaluations are to be carried on in December.’
Boy, 11 jaar
Caretaker: ‘I am 37 years old, I studied until class 8 and I am a farmer. I am his mother; he has challenges taking drugs in the morning.’
Adolescent: ‘I am 11 years old and in class 2, I tested alcohol and cigarette once when we were in a funeral with friends. I defaulted once but now I take my medication, but I don’t like them in the morning. They make me feel dizzy at school. Last week I felt sick, I had stomach upset but I was treated at the hospital. I never want my friends to know about my situation. I also don’t want my teachers or other leaders to know about my situation.
I am enjoying being at MTAA for this seminar, I learn a lot of things I didn’t know. This information will help me take care of myself, now and in the future. I also believe staying in MTAA will enable me do away with stigma and be able to disclose my status to my friends as a way of helping them know their status as well. Also we can be taught on the ARV’s combinations.’
Counselor: ‘He is still having self stigma by saying he does not want anyone to know his status. He is still in denial stage, but looking at his age we have to give him time and more exposure. We also have to ensure he takes breakfast before his medication, to help do away with the effects of the medication.’
Boy, 16 jaar
Caretaker: ‘I am 36 years old and I am his cousin. I studied until class 8, I am a CHV and a farmer. My cousin has defaulted and has since refused to take medication completely. He also stopped going to school. He has so much self-stigma and no one in the family can ever talk to him about his status apart from me. He is a total orphan and now lives with his grandmother (my mother). He is 16 years and was in class 8.’
Counselor: ‘The boy came for the seminar on day one and two then disappeared. We tried to trace him but all in vain. MTAA sent a social worker with the cousin to the home and when the boy saw them he disappeared. MTAA is doing all they can to reach him. Once we find him we will talk to him to at least take medication and go back to school.’