At 18 years old and in her final year of secondary education, *Christine Apondo had to sit for her final exam while in the last semester of her pregnancy, an experience she regrets. She then moved in with her husband, who became promiscuous and even went ahead to marry a second wife.
Despite having to endure the hardships of her husband’s now divided attention as a result of his taking on another spouse, Christine confided her challenges to a long-time friend who introduced her to some service providers at LVCT Health and thereafter got enrolled in their DREAMS program. It was there that Christine received a number of biomedical interventions. Her husband had severally infected her with sexually transmitted infections and therefore she was also initiated on PrEP to reduce her chances of acquiring HIV. Efforts to convince him to accompany her for HIV testing proved futile.
“When I started taking PrEP I was not sure if it was the right thing, at first I struggled to keep to my daily dose, but my counsellor encouraged me that this was the right thing to do based on my risk.” Christine tells us.
Christine, therefore, adhered to her medication and received other DREAMS evidence-based interventions. She was further supported with a bursary from DREAMS and joined Waondo vocational training college where she was admitted for an electrical course. She has had to take a break after all learning institutions were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As fate would have it, Christine’s husband fell ill and after being tested he turned HIV positive, while she tested negative. It also came to our attention that her co-wife was HIV positive and had been secretly taking medication.
Christine was elated to learn that she was HIV negative and will forever be grateful to the DREAMS team for Initiating her on PrEP, a drug she continues to take faithfully and which has so far protected her from contracting the virus.
“After graduating from DREAMS this year. I wanted to confirm that I could still access PrEp and I am happy that I can go to the nearest health centre and get the drug at no cost. I believe PrEP saved me from getting HIV. I am now determined to raise my 3 children to realize their full potential.” She joyfully adds.
Christine is already benefiting from the electrical course she took, as she has been able to have electricity connected to her mother-in-law’s house. This, among other things, has earned her respect both at home and in the village. She is always called upon to do electrical wiring at construction sites and recently got a job at her local church. She plans to further her course in electrical engineering.