Rose found out she was HIV-positive back in 1996. At that time, ARV medication was not free in Kenya and she could not afford the prescription each month. In 2008, when the government began to subsidize the cost of ARV medications and offer them for free to people living with HIV, Rose began taking the medication.
Rose joined the CARE for AIDS program in Mathare this year after being referred by the local clinic. After being in the program for a few months, Jude and Joan (Spiritual and Health Counselors at Mathare Center) noticed that she rarely spoke and that, when she did, she often mentioned a severe pain in her legs. She wasn’t able to stand for long periods of time and was visibly uncomfortable most of the time. After talking with her about these things during counseling, Rose described her pain as “fire in the bones of my legs and a burning in my throat.” She confessed that she even had trouble sleeping because of this pain.
Joan took Rose to the hospital to have both her throat and legs examined. The doctor diagnosed Rose with arthritis in her legs and prescribed medication to help with the pain. The doctor also ordered an endoscopy for Rose’s throat and quickly realized her pain was simply a severe acid reflux.
Her pain in her throat and legs immediately calmed after taking her arthritis medication along with some antacid, and she is now able to sleep through the night for the first time in years.
Rose is now strong enough to care for her granddaughter, Faith. Faith is also HIV-positive and Rose has been sharing everything she learns in the program with her. They are both connected to a community through CARE for AIDS and they are excited to continue learning and growing together.