A will to live – Irene Nyamua shares her story
My husband and I found out that we were HIV+ in 2005. Sadly, my husband died shortly after getting started on the treatment. This made it worse for me because I became severely malnourished and frail, and became subject to constant insults and degradation due to stigma.
People, including my neighbors and sometimes even family, would say hurtful things like, “she looks like a skeleton or that she is going to die soon,” right to my face.
I honestly thought that anyone with HIV is automatically condemned to death. That changed when my son’s friend who is a doctor referred me to AMS. While at AMS, I found out that it in fact it is not a death sentence. I had the will to live so I took my medication and treatment seriously. I begun looking very healthy and people that used to laugh at me had nothing to say anymore.
In 2013, a sponsor called Mary Fisher of 100GoodDeeds, which is an income generating project came to AMS to support us and I joined right away. I am now part of another group called Tweyambe where a few of the clients in my home area have come together with support of AMS to collect some funds that we have invested in making purses, mats, baskets, paper beads, bags, and other products from recycled waste that we sell. Tweyambe is for HIV+ clients that want to support each other in terms of economic growth and for psychosocial support.
With the help of AMS, we have also acquired land which we have productively used to grow vegetables and other crops on small-scale using the skills acquired from Development in Gardening project. I am very happy that I now have alternative sources of income to take care of myself and to support my family. I was on food support initially but now with the gardening project, I have enough to have a balanced diet.
Without AMS, maybe I would have been that skeleton that people made fun of or already dead by now. I am very thankful to Alive Medical Services for giving me my life back.