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RUWEPO HOLDS HIV/AIDS SEMINAR (Prevention with Positives)

Riruta United Women Empowerment Programme held a one-day seminar on September 29, 2012 for 50 people living with HIV and AIDS. The seminar was conducted at Riruta Hope Community Church....
This is part of the on-going project of HIV prevention for people living with HIV and AIDS.
The seminar facilitators were Hannah Njeri and Gabriel Gathungu.
It was noted that people become infected with HIV because they have been exposed to an HIV-positive person. Therefore it makes sense to focus prevention efforts on those who are already infected. By addressing prevention with HIV-positive persons, RUWEPO can help impact the HIV epidemic in the community.
Hannah Njeri said that HIV-positive person is likely to have a sexual encounter with an HIV-negative person, since a greater proportion of the population in Riruta is HIV-negative. Therefore by including and involving folks living with HIV in prevention efforts, the organization can potentially have an even greater impact on HIV epidemic in the locality.

Gabriel Gathungu emphasized the importance of disclosure since it has numerous benefits and can help infected individuals, coupes and families prepare for their future in the community. This gives the partner the motivation to have protected sex and whether or not to have children. Disclosing one’s HIV status to a partner can be very difficulty for some people because they fear stigma, abandonment and violence in the home.

She further said that many persons living with HIV who are not ill remain sexually active and desire a healthy sex life. The ongoing education and support on how to protect themselves and their partners is very essential. HIV-positive patients who are not on ARVs should be targeted for prevention messages and services. They may be unknowingly engaging in risky sexual behaviors that are putting themselves, their partners and their future children at risk for HIV.

Anne Baraza, the Chief Executive Officer of RUWEPO said that one of the primary goals of this intervention is encouraging HIV-positive individuals to abstain or use female or male condoms during sex to protect their partners and prevent unwanted pregnancies. The purpose of the intervention is to integrate comprehensive prevention into the HIV care and treatment using people living with HIV in the community.
Fabian Muiga explained the proper use of condoms during any sexual encounter. Partners may need to negotiate with their partners for protected sex.
Peter Wanyama advised participants to understand the issues of human rights of people living with HIV and AIDS in the community.
The seminar participants included sex workers and MSM. Handouts, condoms and lubricants were distributed to the participants.

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