Commitment to Improve the Quality of Life for HIV Positive Sex Workers: Meet Tionge

Tionge, a 17-year-old girl was disillusioned with life. She has been a sex worker for some years and she was diagnosed with HIV in June, 2016. For the first few months she lived in denial. Later on she accepted but vowed never to take ARVs. She had heard too many negative things about them from her friends.

The LINKAGES team had made efforts several times to refer her to Limbe health centre, but she never went. The peer Navigator also played her role, supporting her when she needed a listening ear. And yet nothing changed.

Within a few months Tionge started looking pale, she had lost some weight and her energy levels were always low. This however did not move her.

In November 2016, something shifted. A clinical team visited Tionge’s hotspot with a mobile clinic. Like many of her friends, she came in to access STI services. Upon seeing her, the health care provider counseled her with love and care.

She disclosed the whole situation to her. The health care provider then explained to her about Peer Navigators and requested if she could invite one who can support her. Because of the positive environment that was created she accepted.

She was further counseled together with the Peer Navigator. By the end of that session, Tionge felt that she was ready to go to the health facility to be initiated on ART. Interesting enough, a week later she took the initiative to call the nurse and told her she went to the health facility on her own and she has started ARVs.

Forward to January 2017, Tionge has a new lease on life. She is positive about the future, she feels her health is much better and the Peer Navigator is continuously working with her on drug adherence.

Tionge is just one of the 324 female sex workers that have been initiated on treatment in 2016. She and the 323 others are our Legacy and commitment to seeing quality of life for all Female sex workers we are working with improved.

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