Isaac: 2018 Mathare Graduate

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Isaac was born HIV-positive. He never met his parents and he assumes they died of HIV-related causes when he was a baby. His two older brothers raised him and an uncle paid his way through most of school. Isaac is now 18 years old. He has not yet finished high school but is working as a cook and saving money so he can go back to finish his last two years.

When Isaac joined the CARE for AIDS program in January this year, he was underweight and malnourished. Our staff soon found out that, because of the stigma he felt, Isaac had stopped taking his ARV medication. A few of the CARE for AIDS staff pitched in money to sponsor Isaac at a 2-week camp in Kijabe for young adults living with HIV/AIDS. Isaac was so weak at this point he could not even carry his own bag. Jude, one of the staff of Mathare center, carried his bags and accompanied him on the journey to Kijabe to drop him off for camp.

Tragically, a large section of the Mathare community burned down in a fire soon after Isaac returned from camp. A stove exploded in one of the homes and quickly spread. Isaac’s home was one of the hundreds that burned completely to the ground. Overnight, Isaac was homeless.

Isaac was one of three clients in the CARE for AIDS program in Mathare who had their homes destroyed in the fire. The center staff purchased a few weeks worth of supplies for each client. Isaac is pictured alongside the goods provided to him by CARE for AIDS when he received them in January.

After recovering from the shock of the fire and implementing some confidence skills he learned at camp, Isaac started his ARV treatment again and his health began to improve. He has attended each counseling session and empowerment workshop throughout the eight months he has been in the CARE for AIDS program and Jude does weekly check-ins to ensure he is adhering to his medicine. As you can tell from his most recent photo, he is gaining weight and strength again! His viral load is now undetectable and his immune system is healthy.