Living positive has so many challenges. It took me three years before l disclosed my status to anyone. I am a 39-year-old HIV positive mother with three children. I learned my status back in 1999. My husband never wanted anyone to know about my status. I chose to break the news to a friend of mine. Not knowing that everyone around me would soon know. My friend talked and the news of my HIV status reached my children. My children were harassed by neighbors. They were devastated. Their lives changed to misery. It caused great panic and hostility within our family. We were forced to confine ourselves to our house for some time. I was bitter and frustrated.
Although life was not easy for my family, I decided to keep my children busy learning about HIV whenever they were not at school. I decided to take them to a HIV organization to learn more about it. Preparing them psychologically was important, particularly in case anything happened to me. I enrolled in care at FACES.
FACES clinic brought back my life. As l joined this program, I came to learn more about HIV, stigmatization and discrimination. FACES opened up my eyes on many issues. My CD4 count went down to 10cells/ul in the year 2003. After I was initiated on antiretroviral treatment, my health improved tremendously. Currently my CD4 count is 940cells/ul! It’s a joy to me and my family. The education and counseling l received from FACES changed my perspective about life. I am living positively. I am happy that people know about my HIV status. I now empower my friends; they now accept me and others living with HIV. People are there for my family. We’ve come a long way from the days of isolation and fear.