Taking Control of HIV Prevention

Date: 2019 Description: Kenya: A PEPFAR-supported PrEP information booth in Kenya. © PEPFAR Image
A PEPFAR-supported PrEP information booth in Kenya.

Vivian (23) learned about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) from her friend who is a peer educator in the Bar Hostess Empowerment and Support Program, part of the DREAMS Innovation Challenge in Kenya. Concerned that Vivian had multiple sex partners and was engaging in risky behaviors under the influence of alcohol, her friend started talking to her about PrEP and eventually convinced her to go to the clinic where she was tested for HIV and initiated on PrEP.

After a week on PrEP, Vivian experienced side effects and decided to stop. She revisited the clinic for medical help and received counseling on side effects that helped her reinitiate. She also became an active member of a PrEP support group where she mentors other young women taking PrEP. So far, she has referred 211 of her peers for PrEP services.

Vivian has now been on PrEP for over one year and has been able to go back to school to study project management. Her dream is to work with a local organization to enhance access to health services and entrepreneurship skills for young women vul­nerable to HIV. Vivian says, “Now I can engage with my peers without fear. I feel empowered and in control of my life. My future health is secured, and I can take care of my son.’’