For many being diagnosed with HIV is more like a death sentence but for one woman being diagnosed saved her life and for that she is forever grateful.
Lydia Wairimu, 36, narrates her battle with depression, s3xual abuse and poverty and how it robbed her of innocence given that she opted to join prostitution to make ends meet.
“I grew up in a family of six children. Our last born died when we were young. She was a drug addict and died of drug-related complications. we were brought up in Huruma slums. My parents separated due to my dad, alcoholism and we were forced to move to my grand-mother, house.
To make ends meet. my mother did odd jobs and she managed to move us to Kasarani. Unfortunately, due to lack of enough funds, we dropped out of school it was bad. I landed a job as a house girl, but I didn’t stay for long due to the constant beatings by my employer. I then a decided to become a prostitute.”
Wairimu goes on to sadly narrate that her ‘friends’ introduced her to the flesh selling trade
“I had a couple of friends who introduced me to the trade,we would go to clubs to look for in Nairobi, so clients. In a good day. I could make Sh500, which was a lot of money back then. Being a prostitute wasn’t easy.
You need a tough skin and this made me I start using drugs. It was a way of escaping from reality. A shot cost Sh100 and a double was Sh200. Some days, I could get so high and black out. Some clients took advantage of this and would have sex with me without , a condom, while others just raped me and didn’t pay.”
Just when you think that that was all she went through, Wairimu narrates that just like a flower fades her beauty started fading and she started loosing clients.
So she joined stealing and other petty crimes
“Due to the drugs, I lost so much weight and my beauty started fading. 1 was slowly losing clients. A pal advised me to get a Plan B, which was stealing. We stole side mirrors and other car accessories, which we sold to brokers at Grogon. Crime is not for the faint hearted.
I remember this day I almost died after a mob attacked me but I survived because a cop saved me. He took me to the Central Police Station, but the OCS immediately ordered that I be released. He thought that I would die and he did not want me dying in his
Luckily, a man saw my injuries and took me to Kenyatta National Hospital for treatment. I was in such a bad shape. The doctors took a blood sample and unfortunately, they found out I was HIV positive. The news shattered me. I wanted to die. However, they encouraged me and urged me to eat well and take ARVs. After being dis-charged,I vowed to change my life.”
“I moved to Mathare with a friend. I suffered serious with-drawal symptoms since I was addicted to heroin. A pal suggested I take Methadone to help me wean off the drug urge. Unfortunately, the combination of ARVs and Methadone left me with an infection on my legs.
The infection was so bad that I couldn’t walk. I am currently trying to build back my life. My leg has left me disabled but I thank God that I am off drugs and that I was given a second chance. I am happy I reunited with my family. Currently, I live in*Kasarani .”