‘My mother died without telling me I had HIV’
Some parents in Kenya take the secret of their HIV status to their graves, leaving their children ignorant and unwell.
Brian Omondi, who was born with HIV, started taking anti-retroviral (ARV) pills when he was 10.
However, it was not until he was 14 when his mother had died that he realised what the pills were for.
Now 22 and an HIV activist working with a church group, he says his condition was not picked up at birth.
During his early years growing up in the coastal city of Mombasa he remembers being unwell: “I was sick most of the time but the condition worsened, so my mum decided that I should get tested.
“That is when I tested positive and started taking the ARVs, but my mum never told me why I was taking those drugs.”
It was when he went to live with his aunt, after his mother died, that neighbours in the close-knit community got wind of his HIV status and his peers began mocking him.
Parents will often warn their children about playing with those who have HIV.
“I remember this girl in high school, we met in person and she addressed me as: ‘You HIV person.’ This hurt me.”……..read more