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“I’m not going back to school!” These were the sad words spoken to Aurelia* by her young son. Aurelia is part of the HIV/AIDS widows ministry of Homecare in Kenya. She has been in the program for several years and has become a mentor to women just beginning the program. Aurelia has had severe health challenges and was finally diagnosed with acute pneumonia. After watching his mother struggle to take care of the family and come up with the $212 required for his schooling, her son decided he had to quit school to care for his mother and sister. Though his desire to quit demonstrated his great love for his mother, it was a huge discouragement to Aurelia who is committed to his education.

It also caused her to face what so many still avoid -- telling relatives or anyone that they have HIV. With the pneumonia and the trouble with her son, Aurelia felt she now needed to reveal her status to her sister. She did not receive it well. Like many, she had misconceptions about the disease. Aurelia’s sister was shocked she had kept this secret for eight years. She had a low opinion of people with HIV and felt she no longer knew how to treat Aurelia.  

Homecare Kenya staff went to speak with Aurelia’s sister to explain how those with HIV can continue to live productive lives with proper care. Aurelia’s sister was able to be supportive of Aurelia as she recovered from the pneumonia.  

Homecare staff then visited with Aurelia’s son to encourage him and assure him that Homecare would be there to help his family. They got him to promise he would go back to school when his mother felt better.  

Aurelia and many like her are a living testimony of the power of God’s persevering love and of the importance of continuing to dispel the stigma that remains for those living with HIV/AIDS.

* Not her real name.

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