Three Generations of a Family Living Positively with HIV
Consolata believes that she may have got infected with the virus in 2008, when she first fell seriously ill and her health deteriorated in a way she had never experienced before. She remembers seeking for help from all quarters, including going a local medicine man, a herbalist, as well as seeking healing prayers from a religious leader. It was not until 2009 that she went to St. Monica Mission Hospital for a medical checkup. Here she was diagnosed HIV positive and enrolled at the hospital’s comprehensive care centre (CCC), and immediately started on anti-retroviral treatment (ART). Only then did Consolata’s health begin to improve.
During one of her regular visits to St Monica’s Hospital, Consolata urged her daughter and granddaughter to accompany her to St. Monica Hospital. Consolata had noticed that both her daughter and granddaughter had been unwell for some time. She convinced them to go through a check up to determine their status. At the hospital, they were both tested for HIV and found to be HIV positive. Both of them were enrolled on to the hospital’s ART program.
Despite living with HIV, Consolata says that she can accomplish all her domestic chores without difficulty because the medicines she is taking have helped her regain her health and strength. She is happy that she has an assured supply of medicines from St Monica’s hospital which always has the medicines available whenever she goes for a refill every 3 months. As for Consolata’s daughter, regaining health has enabled her to go back to school; she had dropped out of high school when she got pregnant. Consolata looks after her granddaughter while her daughter is at school, and every 3 months Consolata travels to St Monica’s Hospital to pick up refills of the ARVs that all three of them need.
Although the hospital is 21 km away from her home and Consolata has to use 140 shillings (about $2 dollars) to pay for a bodaboda (motorcycle taxi) to get there. Consolata does not regret paying for this expense, she believes that it is worthwhile investment and is a small price to pay to assure her family’s health. Furthermore, she has never made a wasted trip; every time she has gone to the hospital she has got the medicines she needs due to the reliable supply of ARVs that the hospital receives from Kenya Pharma. Three generations of Consolata’s family now live positively with HIV thanks to the availability of lifesaving ART medicines at St Monica’s Hospital.