Mille is a 22-year-old single mother living in Kisumu. She is a medical student and is also a client at one of our centers in Kisumu, where Dan and Lillian are the center staff. She asked them to share her story.
“When I found out I was HIV-positive, I was devastated. I am sure that it was my boyfriend who infected me, and this means he had been unfaithful, so I took my son, and we left him. I was so hurt and filled with anger. I wanted to get revenge somehow, to feel that justice was being done. So, I started seeking out men to infect them. This gave me a sense of control and it felt like I was getting back at my boyfriend. I infected many men during this period - I think like seventeen. I am ashamed of that time, and in the end it did not help me. Actually, during that time I fell into depression and drug use. I was in so much darkness.
Eventually, I reached out to my sister for help. The timing could not have been better, and I know it was God who gave me that timing. I told my sister about my status, but nothing else. She was so compassionate, and to my surprise, she told me that she was also HIV-positive. My sister told me about a program she was enrolled in that could help me. I was not sure what the program was, but I knew I needed help - especially when thinking about my son…. I knew that I needed help so that I could be there for him. I waited to see what the program would bring. I had no idea the transformation that was coming.
Early on in my counseling sessions, I opened up about my story, about my anger and bitterness, and about the seventeen men that I had infected. Dan and Lillian were strict with me during my sessions and taught me about the risk of re-infection, and how continuing in risky behavior can increase the speed that the virus spreads and attacks the body. This was new information to me. They also counseled me on taking my medicine properly, and on good nutrition. I started feeling healthier, and could feel the depression going away. Actually, when I joined the program, my CD4 count was around 200. Now, it is above 500!
Dan and Lillian helped me find forgiveness - for myself, and for my boyfriend. Through forgiveness, I found redemption and was able to let go of my bitterness and anger. I’ve realized that I am not the only one dealing with this, and that others need help like me. So, at my university, I started a group called Students for Life. We are an HIV advocacy group, and I mobilize other students to get tested, to talk openly about their status, and through this group, we are able to support each other.
I thank Dan and Lillian, and CARE for AIDS, and I thank God for taking a chance on me, and helping me find a new life when I thought that mine had ended.”
I also invite you to join the CARE for AIDS team in prayer during this season. You can follow along with our six week Lenten prayer guide, which you can download here.