Hope Awakening: Virally Suppressed HIV Clients Tie the Nuptial Knot
A GF NAHI SUCCESS STORY
The Global Fund supported and Family Health International (FHI360) implemented Nationally Aligned HIV & AIDS Initiative (NAHI) Grant is driving HIV prevention, treatment and care programs by targeting the General & Key Populations in 17 Nigerian States. One of the interventions to deliver priority services to key populations is through the One Stop Shop (OSS) program.
Forty-year-old Kelechi had thoughts of marrying a beautiful woman and building a family. Couple of years ago, his dreams would seem to come to an end after he received a positive HIV test result at one of the OSS sites managed by the partner.
“On that fateful day, I went out in search of some business contracts when I met a sexually intimate friend who introduced me to the OSS for an HIV test. I hesitated at first, but the health facility workers assured me that no matter the outcome of the test result, it would never be the end to my life; so, I took the bold step” Kelechi narrated.
“Before the test, I had noticed warts infection around my anal region which I feared divulging to anyone. However, after the test result, I disclosed the infection to the facility workers who counselled me on how I could manage it in order to lead a healthier and fulfilled life. I was consequently placed on Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART). That was a big relief for me”, he recounted.
During one of the drug refills at the OSS, Kelechi mentioned to the Adherence Counsellor at the facility that he was in search of a life partner. The Counsellor assured him that he would help him and encouraged him to be active in attending support group meetings where he could meet and interact more with other clients and through them learn to overcome self- stigmatization and develop other life coping skills.
A Few months later, Kelechi met a lady in one of the support group meetings and both got to know each other well. They became optimistic about life and shared similar social orientations. The facility staff continued counselling and monitoring their viral loads as both worked towards achieving viral load suppression with support from each other. Over time, their viral load investigations consistently showed a suppressed result. “It was a dream come true for me. And I quickly proposed to my wife on the 10th of November 2021, and she gladly accepted”, Kelechi beamed with a glowing smile. Both started up their marriage plans immediately. In December 2021, they got married to the glory of God.
“We shared our joy with the OSS team. Today, my wife is expecting a baby and she’s currently enrolled for her antenatal services. We are hopeful that the baby will be free from HIV. I believe that an HIV-free generation is possible! We are grateful to the funders of this HIV program at the OSS and for making the HIV services free and friendly. Together, we will fight HIV!”, he concluded with broader smiles on his fac