Living Positive addresses the crisis of HIV/AIDS, which has left over 1.2 million children orphaned. According to UNAIDS, as of December 2011, 1.6 million people in Kenya were living with HIV and had already claimed the lives of 1.7 million more. In our rural region of western Kenya, the lack of access to adequate medical facilities and the stigma associated with the disease cause most people to deny their positive status. This lack of information and acceptance results in poor outcomes. Living Positive is a home based care project (HBC) that identifies adults and children living with HIV/AIDS and provides nursing, education, counseling, nutritional support and spiritual ministry to them. Accepting status and beginning treatment prolongs lives and elevates quality of life.
Another key element of the project is education and training classes to raise awareness and increase prevention. In addition to the village area, we do outreach in the slums of Kisumu City, about 10 miles southwest of Maisha. Beatrice’s Uncle Richard began the Day AID Care Centre in Nyalenda. The project continued after his death in 2008, but in a reduced capacity through the efforts of volunteers. Maisha, wanting to continue his legacy, extended Living Positive to cover Nyalenda. Most of the workers are still volunteers who have received assistance from the project and are now Living Positive.
All Maisha members attend mandatory HIV/AIDS education classes to raise awareness and promote disease prevention. Many Living Positive champions are rising up and becoming role models of hope and life in their community.
“Since Kenya recorded its first case of HIV in 1984, the AIDS epidemic has evolved to become one of the central impediments to national health, well being and development. AIDS has deepened poverty; slowed economic growth; reduced life expectancy; worsened other infectious diseases; and visited particular ills on affected households, with the harshest effects experienced by women and children.” UNAIDS 2011 report The Kenya AIDS Epidemic