First Kenyan to Make Public HIV Status Dies After 30 Years

joe muriuki, hiv
Dr Joe Muriuki. [Courtesy]

Dr Joe Muriuki, the first Kenyan to go public about HIV status has passed away.

Nephak, an organization that helps people living with HIV and AIDS, confirmed his death.

The deceased had been infected with HIV for over 30 years.

He refused ARVs for nearly 27 years, noting that a balanced diet, regular exercise, and a cheerful mindset helped him maintain a CD4 level of over 400.

Read: How Doreen Moraa, Activists are Using TikTok to Stop HIV Stigma

In 1987, he became the first Kenyan to publicly reveal that he was living with the virus.

Muriuki was one of the first to use Kemron, a medicine developed by Kenyan scientists.

Kemron was first introduced in Kenya in 1991 with the promise of being useful in the treatment of AIDS, but it was later established that it was no better than a placebo.

A placebo is a medicine or procedure prescribed for the psychological benefit to the patient rather than for any physiological effect.

Read Also: Court Orders Mediheal Hospital to Pay Ex-staffer Sh2 Million over HIV Test Taken without Consent

Muriuki was a member of the regional task team that drafted the East African HIV and Aids Management Act and served as a representative of persons living with HIV in the HIV tribunal.

In 2017, he applied for a seat in the East African Legislative Assembly to represent HIV positive persons.

In January, drug company Moderna started human clinical trials for an experimental HIV vaccine that uses the same kind of mRNA technology found in its Covid-19 vaccine.

The vaccine is designed to prompt white blood cells to turn into antibodies that can neutralize HIV, ABC News reported. A booster shot to work with the HIV vaccine is also being studied.

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Written by Eva Nyambura

Content creator at | Passionate about telling the untold story. Lover of life, music and technology. Simplicity is KEY


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