This is John. When he was little and just learning to talk, he lost both his mom and dad to AIDS. He’s been on his own for a long time. John comes from a Christian background, is 11 and also is HIV-positive.
One day, John learned about doctors coming to his village of Loiyangalani to do medical male circumcision — a proven way to help prevent the spread of HIV (read more here). He took himself to the clinic and waited in line but was turned away because there was no adult to authorize the surgery.
John tried twice to get the surgery but eventually decided enough was enough — it would be better to end his own life than to continue on and die from AIDS. Concerned neighbors approached FH staff and explained the boy’s situation. After visiting John’s home and seeing he had no guardian, FH staff advocated for him to have the surgery, monitored his healing, and provided counseling afterward.
John’s school teacher says he is a good student but his health is declining. The Kenyan government provides food for John, and FH has assumed a watchful eye, making sure he gets the food, education and medicine he needs.
Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), commonly used to slow the effects of HIV, have been out of reach for John because he lives so far from the closest pharmacy, and ARV therapy requires frequent trips to the doctor. He currently is taking Septrin, an antibiotic, and FH staff are working on ways to get him ARVs.
At FH, we talk a lot about hope and new beginnings — new life. While no human can take away John’s virus, the attention and sincere care from FH staff may have given him the encouragement he needs to keep on going and live a life of purpose.