Evelyn Simaloi has been living with HIV since 1999.
The Kenyan journalist, who is never shy of telling her story, in a recent interview with the Nairobian narrated her journey living with HIV/AIDs and wow! you will be amazed by her story.
But how did she get HIV yet she was born negative?
“A man I was living with infected me. I was introduced to him by my best friend who was dating him. I did not have anywhere to go, so she took me there to work (for him) as a house help.
I was desperate and I needed money. A few months later, he started showing interest in me and I could not say no. Before I knew it, he had broken up with my best friend.”
Evelyn Simaloi revealed that she went ahead to tell her best friend about sleeping with her lover, what many would never do for fear of being branded a husband snatcher.
“She told me that I would regret it, but I dismissed it as just jealousy. In retrospect, however, I suspect she must have known about his status since their baby died two weeks after birth,” she said.
The veteran journalist went ahead to narrate how she found out that she was infected and she disclosed:
“I had applied for a job at a restaurant and they required my health records. I was confident because I thought they were testing for pregnancy or drugs.
Two weeks later, when the tests came back, I was told I was positive. Actually, the doctor just told me that I had Aids and that I only had five years to live. Those days, medication was very expensive.”
What was her boyfriend’s reaction after breaking the news to him?
“He admitted to having infected me because he was in love with me. He claimed that he was afraid I would leave him,” Evelyn Simaloi said.
She added that:
“I left him and went to live with his cousin who introduced me to hoodrats. Everyone kept hitting on me and I became angry and bitter with men.
I would insult them and move on because I did not want to disclose my status. Unfortunately, that’s how I ended up being raped.”
Life changed for Evelyn Simaloi and she was raped one evening by someone she considered a great friend.
“One evening, I was very high and he offered to escort me home. On the way, he overpowered and raped me.”
Evelyn said that she didn’t report the matter to the police and after two weeks, she visited a gynecologist only for him to discover a decomposing rubber inside her private parts.
“I didn’t know I had been raped. I only woke up the next morning in so much pain. I went to a chemist and got an emergency pill on credit (I was too broke to afford it),” she said adding that:
“After two weeks, I fell sick and consulted my grandma who took me to a gynecologist who found some decomposing rubber inside me. She also told me that I was pregnant and recommended that I abort the baby claiming that one of us would die.”
She decided to keep the baby despite her grandmother’s advice to terminate the pregnancy.
“I decided to keep the baby. I wanted to experience motherhood before I died. Sadly, my baby used to cry a lot when he was born.
One day, I just asked God for His will to be done. Surprisingly, the baby stopped crying and even the doctors were shocked. This motivated me and I started believing in prayers, hoping I would get healed. I even started believing that I would get healed,” she explained.
At what point did you decide to get on ARVs (antiretroviral drugs)?
“That was in 2012 after testing positive on several occasions. I even visited a herbalist in Molo hoping to get a cure.
When I told the herbalist that the drugs were not effective, he asked me to lie to people that I was healed and that in return, he’ll make me a ‘shareholder’ in his business. I refused and decided to take ARVS. Even my son said he wanted to get on ARVs.”
Evelyn Simaloi revealed that when her son was six-years-old, she disclosed to him about his status and she was shocked by his reaction.
“I exposed him to the truth when he turned six. I would leave the ARVs boxes for him to see. He would read them and one day, he demanded to know if he was sick. I told him the truth and instead of being angry, he hugged me and assured me that everything would be fine.”
Credits: The Nairobian