A 24-year-old lady identified as Doreen Moraa who was born with HIV, narrates how she found out she had the disease when she was only a child in primary school.
According to Kenyan-born Doreen Moraa, she discovered she was actually born with HIV when she was only a primary school student. Her parents are said to be a 'discordant couple' (one is HIV positive while the other is HIV negative)
Doreen who has five siblings who are HIV free, said she decided to share her story to let people know that living with the disease is not a death sentence.
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Doreen explains how she found out her HIV status below:
“When I was aged 12 and a pupil in Standard Seven. During one of my many hospital visits, I overheard my mum talking with my doctor. All along, I was visiting the hospital, but I did not know what exactly was wrong with me. I heard the doctor ask my mum: ‘When did you discover that she is HIV (Positive)'?
I did not even wait to hear my mum’s response. I was already confused. I found out when we had already been introduced to HIV in class. So, our teacher made it sound like it was a death sentence. I was shocked to hear the doctor’s question directed at my mum. But after some time I thought to myself: maybe I heard the wrong thing. I thus brushed it off.
The following year, my mum went into coma. She was really sick. Actually, we had given up. We thought she was going to pass on. But then, she recovered. And after fully regaining her health, she took me to hospital, I got tested and the doctor disclosed to me my HIV status. He told me: ‘Doreen, you will have to take antiretroviral medicines for the rest of your life.”
Even though she is full of life, Doreen says she has not had an easy time in her dating life, as some guys just run away when they know about her HIV status.
She said she once went out with a guy who thought she was joking about her being HIV positive, and eventually when they both went to get tested and the guy turned out to be negative while she was 'really positive' the guy was left shocked.
At first, he thought she was joking and so they went to get tested together. She came out positive and the guy was negative. He was shocked and couldn’t speak on their way home. With that, she feels challenged to disclose her status to someone because of their reaction.
Doreen has since set up a group called Hope Alive, which is aimed at spreading awareness that living with HIV is not the end of the world. She has a word of encouragement :
“HIV is not a death sentence and the cure to HIV doesn’t lie in some laboratory in America, China, Korea or Britain.”