There were all sorts of rumors making the rounds when Olowookere Fasilat was brought back home in 2013 to Okeho, Oyo State very ill from her school in Moshood Abiola Polytechnic Abeokuta. Many thought that she would die because she was so weak, skinny, coughing and sweating often. Some said that she had HIV, others attributed the sickness to witchcraft and still others said she was being used for ritual purposes.
Binta Gwer has never seen the four walls of a classroom. She says that while growing up, her parents believed that the girl-child sent to school would end up in prostitution. Binta who is now 25 years old, has resolved to ensure that her daughter and two sons go to school. “I can do any odd job to make sure that they are educated,” she says.
Idowu Kayode had lost six pregnancies. Each time a miscarriage occurred, it was usually with a lot of blood loss. She recalls that in 2002 when she discovered her HIV positive status, she had given up on life. Her husband took her to several hospitals, clinics, churches and prayer houses.
These women are happy not because they no longer live with HIV but because they see concrete reason to be euphoric – the HIV in their blood stream have become successfully suppressed so much so that the virus in every one of them is now undetectable.
One of the worries Caroline Udoh has had since she commenced anti-retroviral treatment in 2007 is her transportation cost of ₦300 or more to the hospital for drug pick-up every two months.