Lucas / Kenya
“I am gay and I have been HIV positive since the beginning of my life. My late mother gave me HIV. It has been a hell of journey. Being gay and HIV positive in Kenya is hell on earth. You get rejected by fellow queer men and society. There is stigma against people living with HIV which I have seen since childhood. I am discreet so not many people know that I am gay. But many people know that I am HIV positive. They try to make me feel bad about myself, they will isolate me, they accuse me of spreading the virus, they reject me. I almost gave up and for the longest time in my life I was suicidal. But I never succeeded in killing myself because God had a purpose for me in life.
When I am with gay partners I have to tell them I am HIV positive. It’s not the easiest task to wake up in the morning and tell the person you love so much that you are HIV positive. Yet, even you yourself, you don’t trust yourself, you don’t know if you are strong enough to do this. One time, one of my partners accidently found out about my status and he almost left me. He accused me, telling me I was a liar and asked me why I did not tell him. But he got tested and he was negative. After some time and learning more about HIV, he told me he was going to love me the way I was. He told me just because I am HIV positive it does not mean I cannot have the best things in life, that I found him and that he was going to love me. He told me he was going to stick me and it was the best moment of my life. When someone tells you they accept you for who you are, they will not judge you or stigmatize you, it is a good feeling.
We are broken up now and going back into the gay dating world is hard because other men in the community tell others that I am HIV positive. So they do not want to be with me. It’s hard to love yourself when you are gay and HIV positive in Kenya.”