On December 1, 2021, the Fight Against HIV/Aids Stigma in Kenya (FAASIK) joined the World in commemoration of the World Aids Day with the theme “End Inequalities. End Aids. End Pandemics.” The World Aids Day was first observed in 1988. Since then, its commemorated as an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease.
During this year commemoration, the United Nations Secretary General asserted that “To beat AIDS — and build resilience against the pandemics of tomorrow — we need collective action. That includes harnessing the leadership of communities to drive change, combating stigma and eliminating discriminatory and punitive laws, policies and practices.”
In the spirit of partnership, the Shauri Moyo Dispensary hosted the commemoration event in collaboration with FAASIK. The participants were from Shauri Moyo, Majengo, Eastleigh, Huruma, Mlango Kubwa and Mathare slums. The activities included creating awareness on HIV/AIDS, Counseling talk on how to live positively with HIV and how to avoid spread of HIV, HIV/AIDs testing, planting of trees and distribution of in-kind donations.
The FAASIK Directors together with the nurses and doctors engaged the participants in an interactive session of HIV/AIDs awareness by providing information on stigma, testing and prevention. “This year we are being reminded about equitable access, end Aids and end pandemics. We all need to play our part despite the challenges which we are facing due to COVID-19 pandemic,” said Naomi Bosibori, Sister in Charge of Shauri Moyo Dispensary. The participants were reminded on the need of using protective measures while having sex, HIV/AIDs testing, daily uptake of ARVs and teaching the young generation about living a healthy life style.
Rose Victoria, Executive Director – FAASIK, in her remarks highlighted that “World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and government that HIV Virus has not yet gone away -there is still a need to raise money or donations to support the vulnerable families, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.” She further encouraged the People who are living with HIV to continue with the treatment. Overall, the participants were receptive to the information and were given an opportunity to ask questions in order to enhance their understanding. Besides, the participants were voluntarily issued with free HIV/AIDS testing kits.
At the peak of the event, the participants joined the FAASIK Directors together with the sister in charge of Shauri Moyo Dispensary in planting a few trees. In addition, Rose Victoria thanked the Nestlé Company for their support with in-kind donation which included 30 cases of Milo soft pack 200g. The donations were distributed to the participants who included vulnerable families of People Living with HIV including orphans and vulnerable Children. They were encouraged to take the Milo drink together with their families since it is packed with a lot of nutrients. The participants could not hide their joy after receiving the donations as one of the women said “Sijawahi kunywa Milo, lakini sasa nitakuwa nikinunua na kutumia na nimeshukuru sana.” “This is so kind from Nestlé. My family will be happy as we enjoy the drink.” said by a woman living with HIV.