KENYA: Musa,* "When the results came back we didn't think they could be true"

Photo: Richard Etienne/IRIN
"We thought there is no way that this could be happening so we did two, maybe three other tests..."
Johannesburg, 10 September 2010 (PlusNews) - For the past five years Musa* and his wife have known that their HIV status was different [discordant]. Now the father of two healthy, HIV-negative children, he spoke to IRIN/PlusNews about how he and his wife - like many couples - did not know discordancy existed, and had trouble finding the answers and services they needed.

"We were actually married in 2003, but in 2005 we were supposed to have a baby. At that moment in my career, I was [very successful] ... I thought my life was made until she went for antenatal [services].

"At that time, in Kenya [health workers at antenatal clinics] used ... to tell the women, 'Make sure you come with your [HIV test] results, and that of your partner, at your next visit.'

"To cut a long story short, she [his wife] kept on pestering me, saying, 'We need to go for the [HIV] test because we need [to take] the results ... to the antenatal clinic.'

"Before we went and tested, I decided to go and do my own [test], just to be on the safe side. After I did my test, I was then confident enough - [because] ... I am the one who has tested - to say [to her], 'When did you want to go [for the test]?'

"When the [HIV test] results came out, I mean, we thought it couldn't be true. We thought, 'There is no way that this could be happening.' So we did two, maybe three other tests, and they were discordant.

"We were put in a support group - a 'post-test club'. When we were in [that group] I think I asked that doctor so many questions that he got angry because he could not explain [why our HIV test results did not match].

"We'd been together for, like three years, and one is negative and one is positive - how could that happen? [I asked him,] 'Can you kindly please explain that in simple terms?'

"We were in a dilemma because, first of all, who do you talk to about this? This is Africa. If you talk to your family, they'll tell you - in fact they will take the initiative - to kick the [infected] partner out of the house, yeah?

"No one had answers, no one could help us. Programmes were more focused on the infected ones. What they did not know, or care to know at that time, was what was happening to the negative partners. What was the state of their mental health?

"We were then forced to form ourselves into something that was beyond that post-test club. I do not want another couple to find themselves in the place that we found ourselves, where someone cannot answer their questions."


Theme (s): HIV/AIDS (PlusNews),

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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