I grew up with my grandma because my mother and father separated when I was about two months old. I grew up without a close relationship with my mom up till today. I was just with my grandma and my dad. Things changed when I was in class 6, and my dad became abusive and would beat me when he came home drunk. Life wasn’t easy after that. The year I found out I was HIV positive in Form One was the same year my dad sexually violated me. I don’t know why he did that; he was in a lot of pain while I was growing up.
How I found out I was living with HIV.
I knew that I was HIV positive when I was 16 and in school. I fell sick, and it was an emergency. I was taken to the nearby hospital by the school Matron, and the results showed that I had HIV. It was a tough journey for me at school when I started taking the medication. My friends at school could laugh at me, and people didn’t want to share the same plate or spoon with me. People even refused to use my bath things for taking showers because they said they could infect them with HIV. I forgot my pen in the dormitory during one exam and tried to borrow one from another girl. And she was like, ‘I can’t give you my pen. You are HIV positive; do you want me to be sick like you? I cried and missed the exam.
I was like, why is the world so cruel to me? It was not my fault to be HIV positive.
It was tough for me being at school and being HIV Positive. Even at home, when I came back, I went through a lot of rejection. My aunt found out I had HIV and would call me names and tell her daughter not to come close to me.
those people who discriminate against those living with HIV, you should know it was not their fault. No one wishes to be HIV positive. Take care of your sister, and take care of your brother. Never let them feel unwanted or think about committing suicide.Tweet
How I learned to live in spite of HIV
It is a tough journey for people living with HIV. I would like to tell everyone to stop stigmatization. Actually, it’s the worst thing you can do to someone living with HIV. This is how they always end up killing themselves and committing suicide due to depression from the stigma and rejection.
When I went through this stigma, I felt alone and couldn’t talk to anyone about it. But with time, I started searching on Facebook. I saw people sharing their stories; I could see how they looked and how they were surviving with HIV. I decided to take life positively and take my medication every day. I could even go to the school matron and tell her, ‘Can you set the alarm for me?’ I have to take my medication at 9! And she would come to class and call me when it was time like ‘Come, it’s time to take your medicine’.
I could tell a girl in the same situation as me to take life positive, don’t ever allow anyone to bring her down because of their HIV status. Take whatever happens positively. Have life, live life.
And those people who discriminate against those living with HIV, you should know it was not their fault. No one wishes to be HIV positive. Take care of your sister, and take care of your brother. Never let them feel unwanted or think about committing suicide.
How I got into Modelling
I got into Modelling last year. I started after I took a few pictures of myself. I wanted to show that even if you are positive, you can do anything and still have a life to live. I won my first crown at Miss Teen International. Do just sit there because you are HIV positive,
J.K is an 18-year-old girl from Kenya, and a member of BodyTalk. She joined the group during our Second session of the #10DaysofBodyTalk online program where she opened up about living with HIV and found a supportive community. She was active, engaging and supports other young girls in her community. For this article, she preferred to protect her identity for her family’s sake.
ABOUT THE YOUNGVOICES: ALOUD N’ ALLOWED CAMPAIGN
BodyTalk_Let’s TalkBody is one of four creators across Africa that joined The Access Challenge through the One By One 2030 to fight HIV stigma and promote SRHR knowledge in digital spaces in a fun and creative way starting 20th June 2022.
We aim to reduce the stigma around HIV and reproductive health by amplifying the voices of young Africans through digital spaces. J’Ks story is the third in a series of five stories from young people we shall publish to show how stigma manifests.
Want to join the campaign? Download the digital toolkit to get started and find us on social media.
Read other articles in the series:
11 thoughts on “YOUNGVOICES Aloud n’ AlLOWED: J.K’s Story of living with HIV”
I am soooo proud of you JK. That you came out and loud with your story is a great encouragement to someone else living with the virus. Thank you
thanks for your comment.
She is indeed brave.
How touching and encouraging
Thank you JK
I wish many would see your POV and act accordingly
I Love You ❤️
I wish so too
This story pain me bad
It touches my bone marrow
I feel for this child
The father should be jailed for life ashuel
(Un)fortunately, he passed away this year.
I just love how despite the stigma, she could still chase her dream and feel better.
She’s a go-getter!
Oh my God, no one buys illness. Stop discrimination and stigma. Let’s fight together
Together, we can #endstigma