Stories of HIV, stigma and an innovative testing campaign in Kenya

NEW YORK, NY — In Kakamega, Kenya, to be HIV positive before September 2008 meant to be shunned, to get sicker with little access to treatment and unable to fully take advantage of economic and educational opportunities. But after September 2008, after an entire community of nearly 50,000 people were tested for HIV as part of an innovative public health campaign, to be HIV positive was no longer a deep mark of shame.

After the campaign, James, a community peer HIV/AIDS counselor said, “To be HIV positive is not the end of life, but it’s like a new beginning again. Because now you are able to know yourself and where you went wrong; come up to the right track, take the medication, and see life.”

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