|Linet with Mosquito net and ARV`S given to her|
By Njeri Mwangi in Busia County
Linet Nabwire vividly remembers meeting John (name withheld). She was heading home from school where she had just enrolled in form 1 at a school in Budalangi,Busia County,Kenya.
For the following days, John would patiently wait for Linet to finish her classes by the school gate before taking a walk together. In a week`s time, the two had become more than friends and Linet started visiting John at his house.
One thing led to the other and for the first time in her life, Linet gave in to John and they had sex. For the following 3 months, Linet missed her menses and the teachers began taking closer looks at her. She was pregnant. “I was sent away from school after teachers confirmed I was expectant,” she say.
At 16, and a school dropout, she had not prepared for the baby and her parents had refused to take care of her. This forced her to move in to John's rental house. “I had to get married since I did not have anywhere else to go,” she remembers.
In April, Linet visited Port Victoria District Hospital to start her antenatal clinics. It was here that she got the shock of her life. “I did several tests after which a nurse called me in a small room and told me I was HIV positive,” she says amid tears.
We met Linet at the HIV Comprehensive Care Center (CCC) at Port Victoria Hospital on her second clinic follow up visit.
Alice Keboga, a nurse is conducting counseling sessions. From a distant, one can notice the attention Linet is giving to the lessons. While leaving the room, the young expectant mother is all smiles. “I have been assured that my baby will be protected if I follow doctor's advice and take the Anti-Retrovirals (ARV's) given to me on a daily basis and in same intervals,” she tells me.
For fear of her parents, Linet has decided not to disclose her status to her family. Her husband who is a driver has been away from home for 3 months now. “He left home for a safari and we haven't talked in all this time,” she says.
Though she is worried John could have taken off and decided never to return, she is hopeful that her baby will turn negative at birth. “I have wanted to tell him of my situation but his phone never goes through,” she tells us.
She has now turned to the lake side activities to fend herself. “I buy omena and sell since I have to meet family needs.” She is hopeful that her family will one day accept her back.