Patient Stories

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When FACES staff first encountered Veronica (29) and Joseph (35)*, an HIV-positive couple, they quickly realized through prompt testing that both were struggling to achieve viral suppression.

For Veronica, although she was adherent to her first-line treatment, FACES staff realized it was failing her. She was battling frequent infections and her viral load had risen above 100 copies (below 75 copies/mL is optimal viral suppression). The FACES team promptly switched her to a second-line treatment, which she has now been on for the past year. Her health has improved significantly and she is virally suppressed.

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My name is Symon. I am 16 years old.  I am an orphan. I am HIV-infected.  Everyone has a story, I will tell you mine.

I grew up in a place called Sioport, small town in western Kenya. I lived with my mother. My father lived in a larger city called Kisumu. One morning, I asked my mother if we could go and visit my father. She looked at me and told me that the man I thought was my father was not indeed my father, but my foster father. I was shocked, confused and in a state of disbelief.

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I am Mary*. I got to know about my HIV status at a PMTCT clinic five years ago. I could not believe it. I engaged the nurse in a long argument. I knew I would die immediately after testing positive.I was told about the HIV clinic but due to stigma, I did not access care until I got tuberculosis (TB).

One day a neighbor of ours talked to me about how she got help. I went for the idea and immediately started TB treatment. During this time I gave birth to my 5th born baby, unfortunately my infant son was also HIV positive. My son and I both enrolled in HIV care. These events made me disclose my status to my husband. He took the testing idea positively and after also testing HIV positive, he was enrolled a few weeks later. Now the three of us are living positively.

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Joel and his wife, Beatrice*, are a discordant couple, meaning they have different HIV statuses. He is negative while Beatrice is positive. In addition to visiting the health clinic for Beatrice’s HIV care, they also attend a biweekly FACES support group together with other discordant couples. Beyond social support, the couples also receive advice about safe sex, planning for a healthy family, and how to best support the care and adherence of an HIV-positive partner.

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