In her big expressive brown eyes and charming smile Cynthia* said, “I positively look forward to this September when I will be turning 14 years”
“I love writing about stuff,” said Cynthia. The last born in a family of 5, she radiates joy despite being raised by the father after the mother passed on due to illness 7 years ago. Cynthia is a form one student at one of the secondary schools in Nairobi. Cynthia was born HIV positive, but her parents kept this from her.
“I found myself one day at LVCT Health clinic and Robert, a counsellor at the clinic, said that he had some information that he wanted to share with me. He told me that I have a virus. I was 13 years in class 7. At first I did not believe it. Robert however explained to me that it’s possible to have the virus and live a normal life.”
Cynthia was brought for the HIV test by her father after Robert encouraged him to do so after a disclosure session.
“Adhering to medication has not been easy as I find the drugs big and bitter. They also leave an after taste. To reduce this feeling, I was advised to take plenty of water,” says Cynthia.
Like many youths her age Cynthia did not understand the need for adhering to medication. However, the youth support groups at LVCT health have helped her a lot.
The support groups comprise of adolescents living with HIV who support each other by sharing their experiences and discussing issues that they face on their daily life with HIV. The groups meet frequently and have virtual discussion where they receive health information from peer educators and counsellors.
“The support group has encouraged me not to give up and to always take my medicine. I have also learned from my peers experiences especially those who are living positively.”
Her advice “I would like to inform other adolescents who are HIV positive to take their medicine consistently to maintain healthy bodies,”
Cynthia‘s favourite subjects are Biology and English. She wishes to become a Chef in future and run her own restaurant.
LVCT health implements projects that target adolescents, one of the populations that has a high rate of HIV infection while those in care have poor drug adherence.
*Not her real name