I first became sick in May 2007 and my family suggested that I should go and get tested. At the time I was married, but in 2001 my husband married another wife and left our home, but he used to come back home with food to support the family.
My relatives wanted to go with me to the doctor, but I refused: telling them that I want to get tested first on my own. I was taken to Mkoba 1 clinic and tested – the test showed that I was positive and that my CD4 count was 68.
I was not afraid to disclose my status to everyone and I immediately told my husband’s sister and my brother’s daughter. They were shocked since they never expected that I could be HIV positive. I told everyone, including my children: who confessed that they were afraid to tell me that I should go and get tested. Later that year I attended a family gathering and took that as an opportunity to disclose my status to my parents and other relatives.
Since I discovered that I am living with HIV – I have encouraged everyone to take the test so that they know their status. The reason is simple: knowing your status will save their lives. When my brother became ill, he did not go for an HIV test and so he was not treated correctly, and he died. If he had known his status – he could have lived
Recently I have started taking ARVs and the medications are helping my CD4 count to boost higher every day. I have never seen myself as a victim – I am a self-sufficient woman who works for my living, I stand here boldly, and proudly and I believe that I can show others how to live a positive life.