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.