“Now I am very confident, and not fearful about any stigmatization from the community.”
Grace tested positive. That seems like a long time ago now. Testing alone carried stigma and testing positive seemed to prove everyone else’s assumption about her health status. She had put off testing until she was ill. Even before she knew her status, Grace was experiencing stigma from the community through assumptions and rumour which made it very difficult for her and her children, and increasingly difficult to earn an income. There was little she could do and as she got sick, she could do even less. She and her children suffered silently.
Through community advocacy around HIV/AIDS and sharing information about resources, Grace connected with Boroboro Diocese Health Centre, who is a partner of the Home of Hope, a community centre for HIV/AIDS affected community members. Through the centre she was able to access life saving medicine. Once her health equalized she joined in on a training in animal husbandry which came with start up supports. Ever since Grace has a growing flock of sheep.
Through connecting with community, through access to health supports through income generation Grace is thriving and the stigma she had been exposed to evaporated. She’s also became an active peer educator and speaks to other women on preventing mother to child transmission of HIV, as well as how to live positively.