As of 1992, HIV/AIDS was one of the most feared diseases, deemed as a death sentence even by medical practitioners.
Doreen Moraa, a lady living with HIV, says that she was infected with the virus at birth, and it was not until the age of eight that she was diagnosed.
In an interview with The Audit show hosted by blogger Robert Alai, Moraa said that she lived with the virus secretly until she finished her college education, due to the stigma associated with it.
“I was diagnosed at the age of eight… my parents were told (by the doctors) ‘take her home, love her very much, and give her the attention she needs, because we can’t say that she’ll reach her 12th birthday’. They took me home, and loved me extremely,” said Moraa.
Moraa was even baptized at that time, to prepare her for her death which had been predicted by the doctors, since there were not anti-retroviral therapy (ARV) medicine at that time.
Read: Alarm as People Living with HIV Decry Shortage of ARV Drugs in Kenya
Between the age of eight and 12, Moraa was told that she had skin cancer, since she had issues with her skin which were caused by HIV.
She started taking ARVs at the age of 13, after ‘miraculously’ failing to die as predicted by the doctors.
“I was asking why am I always at the hospital, why am I always sick and my other siblings are okay. They told me ‘you have skin cancer but once you reach 12 you are going to be okay, you’ll stop taking medication and going to the hospital’. I had that hope,” she said.
Read: Doreen Moraa : My 28-year Journey With HIV/AIDS
On April 19, 2005, the doctors disclosed something to her while at the hospital. This was after her mum (who is HIV positive) became ill and went into a coma. At this time, she was told that she would take the medicine (ARVs) for the rest of her life.
However, after high school, Moraa felt that she could not be dependent on the medication for the rest of her life, and started looking for alternative cures. She even stopped taking ARVs in favour of the cures offered, especially from the internet.
At one time, she found herself travelling to Loliondo for the infamous medicine by ‘Babu wa Loliondo’. After taking the ‘Loliondo cup’, she believed she was healed and did not take ARVs for over two years.
When she finally went back to hospital and tests taken, the viral load was 70,000 copies, similar to that of a person who has never taken ARVs. Under normal circumstances when a person living with HIV is taking medication, the viral load could be even zero, or less than 1,000.
Read: Court Awards Woman Sh500,000 for HIV Test Done Against Her Will
With such a high viral load, the doctors thought of taking her to second lane medication, which is more powerful.
Moraa later decided to make public her HIV status, which she did through the media. At first, the story caused a public uproar, with those who knew her flooding her social media accounts. At one point, she decided to deactivate the accounts due to public pressure.
As a result of the story, she received thousands of emails from people living with HIV who were inspired by her story.
Since then, she has decided to champion for people living with HIV, by leading a positive life.
You can watch her story here:-
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