Hallo World this is a message from Mr. Red Ribbon – Kenya 2009/2010.
Mr Red Ribbon
Mr. Okola (Mr. Red Ribbon
World TB Day is an international event commemorated on the 24th March each year worldwide. This is an occasion where all organizations working in the field of TB. HIV/ AIDS comes together to share the challenges that do still face T.B and HIV/AIDS.
In Kenya this event was held in Nakuru the Headquarters of Rift Valle Province. Rift Valley is ranked number one in T.B infections followed closely by Nyanza Province. It is believed that T.B has been around since the beginning of mankind due to airborne transmission of transmission of droplet nuclear with T.B bacteria.
Mr. Red Ribbon
World TB Day
Dispute being curable in the vast majority of cases T.B is the leading cause of sickness and death among PLWHA. And my view at this point is that , donors and health programs that fail to address T.B as part of HIV/AIDS services do miss the opportunity to impact the disease and most likely to kill PLWHA in developing countries around the world.
Mr Red Ribbon during the World TB Day
Responding to the threat posted by T.B , HIV co-infection requires integrate service delivery and co-ordination between T.B and HIV programs to endemic countries. However evening countries with high burden of disease, T.B and HIV programs have tended to operate independently addressing T.B and HIV in isolation and this paving way for STIGMA and DISCRIMINATION. So my humble request to the whole world is that, “ Let each and every person go for both T.B and HIV screening….”. and here I do shout a loud voice and you should also assist me to “STOP” Stigmatizing and Discriminating those who have Tested Positive. Let us live in LOVE and harmony giving each other HOPE for we all belong to one GOD.
There before when they used to sing here at this center I took them as jokers but my friends who attended their activity told me that they were now informed. During their next visit to our area I got informed about the danger of having many sexual partners and that it was risky. I do take alcohol with my friends and sometimes we have even shared the same woman at night after our drinking at the bars here. Condom is something I think was for coward men and condom is not something I usually use all the time it depends on who am sleeping with, if it is someone I know and they don’t ask me to use it so I do not. I have a wife who comes and goes because of family trouble and I am forced to look for women here who are easy. I was informed through the acting by the actors about the risks and signs of sexual transmitted diseases in their drama, people of the community talked with them and I also got the information about syphilis and gonorrhea. I was told by one of them how I can protect myself from it and what to do when I am infected. I have not had syphilis or gonorrhea and I am lucky. When the again came here they acted about alcohol and risk of getting infected when someone is drank and I felt they were talking to me alone. I together with some friends was shown how to use condoms correctly.
My life has change I now have no fear of anything because I was give condoms to use and I have gone for VCT two times now. The second time I went with my wife to VCT so that she can know that I am ok because she has found me before with another woman and now she is happy. Before we could fight at night because she wanted me to use a condom but I did not want and that is why she leaves. We have also attended a community show with her to show her where I have got the information.
It is now ok for me to drink a little and go home, I see the friends of mine do that every day and they say that the actors have help them live a responsible life now. I have also told one friend of mine to go to hospital to see a doctor about the pain he has under there because it could a sexual one.
Today I am careful and want to take care of my family because of the danger I know from the teachings of the actors.
I was approached by Mr. Collins Oduor and Mr. Christopher Alaro from REPACTED – Kenya who informed me of the need and importance of me becoming a peer educator. I was reluctant, but having told me about the people visiting my barber shop and I would be in a better position to inform them about health related issues, I did agree on being trained, and also me being one of the members of this community who are extremely lacking in knowledge about HIV/AIDs. During the training I was informed on modes of STI’s/STD’s, HIV/AIDS transmission and also TB and felt that I also was at risk. Looking at my life style (I do have a wife and a girlfriend who I am not sure whether she has a man of her own) and my peers in my community I was compelled to even go for VCT which was conducted during the training. I now attend VCT clinic in my area since every 3 months. With my wife I would not use condoms during sexual intercourse because she would suspect me for being unfaithful, but with my girl friend I could use condoms sometime to avoid her getting pregnant during her bad days, I got it from this training that this was a risky behavior and would have to change in order to be safe and save my family too.
During the start of my work as a peer educator, I did engage my clients and other youth who pass by to read the newspapers since I buy them on a regular basis in conversations on STI’s/STD’s and HIV/AIDS prevention. Many were reluctant to use condoms as a way of prevention due to their knowledge that condoms had holes in them; some felt that they would rather use two condoms at the same time with a person they felt was not safe enough. Having shared this and using the information I took from the training I was able to convince them on proper use of condoms and ways of disposing them. VCT was a no go zone for most of them because they were afraid that it could be the end of their lives and if people in the community would know that they were positive they would be rejected. I told them that knowing one’s status would encourage them to live a better life by being careful. During a VCT conducted in Free Area AIC church I informed them about it and I was accompanied by six members of the community to get tested. Thereafter I have received several calls from them asking me to get those condoms and I have also asked REPACTED – Kenya to get me a condom dispenser which I have put in my kinyozi where they can easily collect them.
I have one of my clients who though he was HIV positive but later told me after visiting VCT that he was not but was asked to visit Provincial General Hospital to get checked for TB which he was found to have and is currently under medication.