CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF ADOLESCENCE (CSA)

Sessions that give life

Elizabeth, not her real name, is a small sister from Kahawa Wendani and a form four student. She has lived with HIV from birth, this only being disclosed to her when she was heading to the upper primary school that is class 6. 

Elizabeth has been struggling with accepting her HIV status and this has caused her adherence levels to the medications to fluctuate from time to time putting her life at much risk. When she approached a big sister from Kiambu, she had gone through horrific experiences of stigma from her friends and neighbors who somehow found out about her HIV status. It had gotten to a point where she was contemplating suicide. 

The state has since changed with the help of a big sister as the constant sessions and conversations have changed her attitude. She was sensitized to the effects of not adhering to her medication and how this would affect not only her health but also her performance in school due to the constant days she had to miss school from a complication with her health. 

“You can clearly see that her self-esteem is up now, she can express herself more than she used to and that is a great achievement as a big sister” Ruth, a big sister from Kiambu. It is through the big sister sessions where Elizabeth and fellow small sisters have been impacted with sexual and reproductive health information with examples of the various ways one could prevent themselves from contracting HIV/AIDS and unintended pregnancies that could ultimately lead to unsafe abortions. In the community where Elizabeth comes from, sensitization on various emotive topics continues, to reduce and eventually end the stigma around these SRH issues. It is the hope of the big sister that adolescents and young people live healthy and happy lives with neither external nor internal barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health services that are friendly.

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