IN OUR HANDS.

Just as we mind privacy on our phones and protect them with passwords only we know about, the self-test kits also minds your privacy only you will know your status. Get Tested.

Living in a world of being in control of yourself, being self-sure is so ideal and it cuts across. Hence the beselfsure.org website. This is a website where you can find out all about HIV self-testing. You can find videos,pictures and discounts on this site. But,

What is HIV self-testing?  

HIV self-testing is a process where an individual test themselves for HIV just like pregnancy and interprets the results, often in a private setting either alone or with someone he or she trusts.

For those who fear needles and want to try out new technology,we have Oraquick. This is one of the two test kits available. Oraquick uses an oral swab to test for body capability to fight HIV virus. It is not Painful neither does it require blood samples. You swab firmly against your gums and It can test for both HIV-1 & HIV-2.

Insti is another type of self-test. This is blood based and it is usually faster in terms of waiting for results. It gives “feedback”within 5 minutes after testing.

How much do they cost?

The test kits go for Ksh 500/-. However, individuals below the age of 24 can have discounts. Theses discounts can be found on http://beselfsure.org/discounted-voucher/or by calling 1190 (for Free). These discounts vary, teenagers below 18 (the kit is only sold to persons over the age of 15) can get the kits for free but mostly the discounts are within the range of 200-300 shillings.

As a country we would like to get 90% of the population tested. Men are on the back foot on this front but now that we have the power to test in our hands, we should be glad that we hold the future in our hands in more than one way.

Currently we have already distributed 1.5 million Oraquick kits and 900,000 Insti kits. For any assistance call or SMS 1190 for free. Or find us on Whatsapp 0700121121.

For a more detailed and visual explanation on how to use ORAQUICK click HERE.

For a more detailed and visual explanation on how to use INSTI click HERE.

HAPPY WORLD AIDS DAY!

-BY KINYANJUI ALEXANDER

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How to use Insti

You must follow the test directions carefully to get an accurate result.

Do not use if the test device pouch is broken. Do not use if you:

  • Have a bleeding disorder.
  • Are on ART

Inside your test kit you will find, 

  • Bottle 1, 2 and 3.
  • Test device pouch.
  • Lancet.

Preparation.

Wash hands, dry hands. Open the device pouch. Place test device on a flat surface. Remove the cap of bottle 1. Place on flat surface.

Collection of blood

Twist off tip of the lancet and put aside. Rub finger until warm. Place lancet on the side of finger tip. Rub finger to get a large round drop of blood. Let the drop fall into bottle 1. Twist on cap of bottle 1.

Test

Shake bottle 1 four times and pour all liquid. Wait until liquid disappears. Shake bottle 2 four times and pour all liquid. Wait untill liquid disappears. Shake bottle 3 four times and pour all liquid. Wait until liquid disappears.

Read result

For any assistance call or SMS 1190 for free. Or find us on Whatsapp 0700121121. 

How to use Oraquick.

You must follow the test directions carefully to get an accurate result.

Do not eat or drink for at least 15 minutes before you start the test or use mouth cleaning products 30 minutes before you start the test.

WARNING: If you are on HIV treatment (ARVs) you may get a false result.

You will need a way to time the test. The pouch contains: test kit, test stand and directions for use. Your test kit contains two pouches.

Tear open the pouch containing the tube. Remove the cap. Do not pour out the liquid. Slide the tube into the stand. 

Tear open pouch containing the test device and remove. DO NOT touch the flat pad with your fingers.

Press the Flat pad firmly against your gum and swab it along your Upper gum once and your lower gum once.

Put the flat pad all the way into the tube until it touches until it touches the bottom. 

Leave it there for 20 minutes before reading the results. DO NOT reads the results after 40 minutes. 

INTERPRETING RESULTS.

A HIV positive result shows two lines , even if the line is faint, means you may be HIV positive and you need to seek additional testing.

A HIV negative result shows one line next to C and no line next to the T your result is HIV negative.

An invalid result shows no line next to “C” ( even when thereis a line next to the “T”), or a red background makes it imposible to read the test, the test is not working and should be repeated. 

DISPOSE

Remove the test stick, put the cap on the test tube and throw away all the contents in the normal trash.

Breaking Shackles

I am going to take you through a series of breaking mental shackles this month and we start with the two most common yet ignored ones, Doubt and Regret.

Have you ever had a situation where you were filled with doubt or regret over an action you had taken or a decision you had made? It probably has happened to all of us.  When this happens it can be extremely upsetting.  Many of us would like to be able to move on once the action is taken or the decision is made and not look  back.  However, that is often easier said than done.

Doubt and regret can be debilitating and all consuming.  Here are some things that you can do to manage the regret and doubt.

1)  Realize  that these intense of feelings of regret and doubt will not last forever, even though it feels like it will.  These feelings will pass after some period of time.  This is quite important.  The feelings will pass and life will return to normal.

2)  Breathe through these feelings.  Don’t run away from them.  Allow yourself to feel them for a few minutes and continue to breathe as you are in the throes of these intense negative feelings.  If you can stay with the feelings for some amount of time, allow yourself to feel the regret and doubt.  Fifteen minutes would be more than enough time to stay with these feelings.

3)  After the time has passed (15 minutes max.) do something else.  Distract yourself.  Live your life and occupy yourself with something that might be enjoyable or productive.  Do something else.  This will help you in getting through these difficult feelings and learn how to manage the situation.

4)  Use positive self talk to help remind yourself that you are doing the best you can, that you are not perfect.  Accept yourself as a human being who does not have to be perfect, that you are allowed to make mistakes.  Bring to mind those people who love you and care about you.  These images and thoughts of loved ones can help buttress you when you are in the throes of regret and doubt.

5)  Reframe the situation as one of an opportunity for self growth.  These experiences, though very difficult and challenging, can allow you to experience a greater level of self acceptance and love of yourself.  When you have greater self acceptance, it could allow you to experience a happier, more fulfilling life.

As we mark World mental health day, therapy, both individually and group therapy can certainly help you become more accepting of your self and even love yourself.  The idea would be that therapy can lead you to have emotionally corrective experiences and live a more joyful life.

You need more information or assistance? Find us on 1190 Call/SMS @one2oneke on twitter and Ask Lisa on facebook. Whatsapp us on 0700121121

 

 

– BY KINYANJUI ALEXANDER

Thinking Out Loud.

It’s moving from bad to worse each single day.
From a strange disease to a new one.
From one drug to another.
From this friend leaving and another added and another one complaining.
What’s life? Is it adding friends, is it losing them? Is it nursing mental illness and depression? Being happy today and sad tomorrow. Born yesterday, died tomorrow?
What’s my worth in all this then?
Do I deserve a life? Am I beautiful and strong for the next day.
Why was I born then.
Why is it this complicated? Am I the only one?
Sinking in these thoughts.
I want to scream.
I want to be so away.
I want to loose me.
I want to find me.
Am just thinking out loud.

If you see yourself in between the lines of this poem, we offer support. Call/SMS us on 1190 for free and let it all out.

 

– By Kinyanjui Alexander

 

How to stop overthinking

There is little hope for us until we become tough-minded enough to break loose from mental shackles.

Chronic overthinkers rehash conversations they had yesterday, second-guess every decision they make, and imagine disastrous outcomes all day every day.

Thinking too much about something often involves more than words overthinkers conjure up disastrous images too.

Overthinking often involves two destructive thought patterns–ruminating and incessant worrying.

 

Ruminating involves dwelling on the past. Thoughts may include things like:

  • My parents didn’t teach me how to be confident. My insecurities have always held me back.

Persistent worrying involves negative–often catastrophic–predictions about the future.

Thoughts may include things like:

  • Everyone else will get promoted before me.

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Like all habits, changing your destructive thought patterns can be a challenge. But with consistent practice, you can train your brain to think differently. Here are six ways to stop overthinking everything:

  1. Notice when you’re stuck in your head.

Overthinking can become such a habit that you don’t even recognize when you’re doing it. Start paying attention to the way you think so you can become aware of the problem.

When you’re replaying events in your mind over and over, or worrying about things you can’t control, acknowledge that your thoughts aren’t productive. Thinking is only helpful when it leads to positive action.

  1. Keep the focus on problem-solving.

Dwelling on your problems isn’t helpful–but looking for solutions is. If it’s something you have some control over, consider how you can prevent the problem or challenge yourself to identify five potential solutions.

If it’s something you have no control over–like a natural disaster–think about the strategies you can use to cope with it. Focus on the things you can control, like your attitude and effort.

  1. Challenge your thoughts.

It’s easy to get carried away with negative thoughts. So before you conclude that calling in sick is going to get you fired, or that forgetting one deadline will cause you to become homeless, acknowledge that your thoughts may be exaggeratedly negative.

Remember that your emotions will interfere with your ability to look at situations objectively. Take a step back and look at the evidence. What evidence do you have that your thought is true? What evidence do you have that your thought isn’t true?

  1. Schedule time for reflection.

Stewing on your problems for long periods of time isn’t productive, but brief reflection can be helpful. Thinking about how you could do things differently or recognizing potential pitfalls to your plan, could help you perform better in the future.

Incorporate 20 minutes of “thinking time” into your daily schedule. During that time period let yourself worry, ruminate, or mull over whatever you want.

When your time is up, move onto something else. And when you start overthinking things outside of your scheduled thinking time, simply remind yourself that you’ll need to wait until your “thinking time” to address those issues in your mind.

  1. Learn mindfulness skills.

It’s impossible to rehash yesterday or worry about tomorrow when you’re living in the present. Mindfulness will help you become more aware of the here and now.

Just like any other skill, mindfulness takes practice, but over time, it can decrease overthinking. There are classes, books, apps, courses, and videos available to help you learn mindfulness skills.

  1. Change the channel.

Telling yourself to stop thinking about something will backfire. The more you try to prevent a thought from entering your brain, the more likely it is to keep popping up.

Change the channel in your brain by changing your activity. Exercise, engage in conversation on a completely different subject, or work on a project that distracts you. Doing something different will put an end to the barrage of negative thoughts.

Train your brain.

Paying attention to the way you think can help you become more aware of your bad mental habits. With practice, you can train your brain to think differently. Over time, building healthier habits will help you build the mental muscle you need to become mentally stronger.

To know more about this call/sms 1190 (free) Whatsapp 0700121121. Facebook Ask Lisa and Twitter @one2oneke

 

– BY KINYANJUI ALEXANDER

 

Read the original article on Inc.. Copyright 2018. Follow Inc. on Twitter.

 

SELF STIGMA

STOPPING STIGMA IN YOU WILL STOP STIGMA AGAINST YOU!!!
In regards to this I once came across an article on self stigma by one of our clients and it was really touching. These are her words and i quote……

“I have experienced a great change in my life since I accepted my status and decided to  move on. Unlike my past when I used to live without peace and my heart full of guilt and pain.

Things drastically changed when I acknowledged that I was positive and decided to leave a positive life. Now I can smile,make fun and interact with people freely without fear of victimization nor stigmatization because the guilt is no longer part of me.

I used to fear issues to do with stigma but I  came to understand that stigma starts from within oneself. Whenever one has a perception that he/she is neglected in the society, that spirit builds up from that moment!

And whenever we get rid of that feeling of rejection, courage/confidence builds right away and we feel safe. Accepting our status builds up courage and courage builds up confidence and the confidence builds up peace and this turns up to build a peaceful co-existence.”

Take an initiative to stop stigma in you and people will stop stigma against you!!!!!

 

– BY KINYANJUI ALEXANDER

STAY WOKE!!!

Welcome to yet another high school holiday where boys have deeper voices and longer beards and the girls are all grown up and carry themselves with the poise and maturity of a middle aged lady.

There is something about Whatsapp statuses and Instagram that brings the urge to flirt, sometimes with these girls. Most men forget that these are children no matter how exposed they may be and coming across the following poem i realized how unfair we can be at times…

You are chatting at night with her
You suddenly feel horny
You quickly ask for a nude
She says no
You continue
She asks you to understand her
You tell her to trust you
She says she can’t expose her body to anyone
You still go on.

She tells you to wait
You wait patiently
She sends it
You feel happy
You wank on it
You finish, you look at the nude again
You feel disgusted
You think its nasty after wanking on it
You then go to mobile uploads
You upload the pic with a nasty caption
You even tag her
She sees it
She sends you a message for you to delete it, she cries and begs
But you say no‼
She tells you she’ll send more if you delete that one
You say you’ve seen everything you wanted.

WhatsApp Image 2018-04-03 at 1.57.19 PM

People start to like and react on the nude
Some start to comment bad things, some defend, some feel sorry, some laugh.
Her friends see the nude, some friends are disappointed and discriminate her, some friends defend her, but it does nothing cause everybody has seen the nude.

Some people share it
Some save and some even show her relatives
She’s toned she regrets she cries
Next day she goes to school
She finds some people booing her
She enters the class just about to sit, she’s called by the head teacher
She’s told to explain what the head teacher and the member of staff have heard, she fails
She’s beaten.

The head teacher call her parents
They talk to the head teacher and the result is that she’s expelled ‼
The parents try to plead but the head teacher is cold hearted
She goes home
Her parents are disappointed, and they also beat her.

Her phone is taken away
Her life ruined
She tries to take a walk just to think things through
But as she’s walking people point at her
She hears them talking about the same thing
Some laugh
She goes back home.

Thinking too much
She decides to commit suicide as a relief
She goes to her mothers bedroom
She gets the rat poison
She quickly drinks it
Within two minutes she’s dead.

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Her parents call for her
She doesn’t answer
They are mad they call again, she doesn’t answer
They quickly go to her bedroom to beat her
They find her dead with the rat poison beside her
They feel bad, they blame themselves
They cry, they regret punishing her
They call her relatives and close friends
Everybody knows and they feel sad
Her best friend cries cause she can’t believe what she sees.

The exposer also hears the news
He is toned
He regrets, he feels like going back to time
The burial day has come, her best friend and parents see the coffin lowering
They all burst in tears
They can’t believe it.

Her parents are never the same from their daughters
Everybody close to her are not the same
The exposer is being haunted with force pictures of her.
It started simple until it was too much
You can easily ruin someone’s life with something you think is simple.
Life is like electricity, Anybody can shock you.

Call or Text us on 1190 (Free)

STAY WOKE.

BY KINYANJUI ALEXANDER

 

Is your relationship exposing you to HIV?

Often, we assume HIV is a disease that affects the promiscuous or less educated individuals. On the contrary, HIV and other infections affect ordinary people like you and I. It’s in the church, at the office, in the government and in the neighborhood.  Sadly, there was a time when education on HIV was everywhere and people took care of themselves. Now that we have ARVs (PEP & PrEP included) and people are no longer suffering as they used to, we’ve become more careless, brushing shoulder’s with infections and subsequent death. This behavior not withstanding the tons of information bloggers like Ruth Syovata pour on how to protect ourselves. The kind of relationship you have with your intimacy partner could be putting you at the risk of contracting HIV. Here are five types of common relationship situations that make you a high risk individual:

Sleeping with a married man or woman

Okay, let’s address the proverbial elephant in the room. Your sugar mama told you that her husband died. You have no way of confirming that but let’s assume he really did die. What was the cause? An accident, cancer, murder or maybe it was HIV…it’s had to tell isn’t it? In addition, you don’t know if you’re the only Ben10 she has. There could be more of you and that puts you at a very high risk of contracting HIV, because you’re probably sharing her with others who are infected or maybe she was already infected before you met and you don’t know how many others were there before you.

Let’s move on to married men. Maybe he told you he is not having sex with his wife because he hates her and they’re only together because of the kids. Okay…I don’t have to tell you that’s a big fat lie, but I have to tell you, he is sleeping with his wife, because they spend every night together… and you don’t know her status. Neither do you know who else she is sleeping with. You may be thinking it is a safe love triangle but it could be a rectangle, a parallelogram, or even an endless circle of people sleeping with people and diseases circling back.

In a nutshell, when you are in a relationship with an older married or widowed person, you have limited information. All you know is what your partner tells you, which is mostly false information. Moreover, you’re afraid of being seeing with them and the chances of you walking to a VCT center are rare.

Being in an open relationship

Open relationships have become common over time. They work in a polyamorous manner based on a “don’t ask don’t tell” arrangement. If you’re in an open relationship with someone, it means both of you are free to have other relations with other people. Your other relations with these other people are also likely to be open. That brings the number of people involved in the open relationship to roughly 6 or a minimum of 4. Back to “don’t tell don’t ask”, you may know the status of the immediate people you’re sleeping with but you do not know the status of the people they are sleeping with. You are also not about to ask them for these details because such questions complicate the relationship, making it ‘awkward’. This puts you at risk of contracting HIV borrowed from your partner’s partners.

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Cheating on your partner

Cheating is not an easy affair. You face constant fear of getting caught. As a result, you may forget to take necessary precaution. One of the most common ways of preventing infections is by using protection. However, you do not want your main chic or wife to find the extra condoms in your coat or bag. If you’re married, you may also face the fear of walking into a shop to ask for condoms, since you haven’t done so in ages.

Having an unfaithful partner

A cheating partner brings a lot of things home. Guilt gifts, arguments, heartbreaks and diseases. You may be taking all the necessary precautions to keep yourself safe but your partner is not, what are the risks? You probably know their promiscuous behavior and you’ve accepted that they will never change. This however means you’ve accepted the possibility of contracting and living with HIV. When you turn a blind eye on your partner’s promiscuity, you’re not only endangering your life but also the future of your children.

Having sexual flings

A fling sounds, like a fresh, modern term. Well, it’s not. Previously it used to be “friends with benefits”. Right before that we had, “lovers with no strings attached”. All these terms describe people who have not committed to a relationship but want to enjoy sex or intimacy. They probably look for each other when their sexual needs become unbearable. It sounds simple, unlike relationships which are full of arguments and responsibilities. They are however as risky as open relationships. The sheer lack of responsibility for a fling’s feelings and health increases the chances of infections. There is also the possibility of sharing your fling with other people, who could be infected.

Having sex with someone whose status you don’t know

Never ever have sex with people whose HIV status is undisclosed to you. That’s the golden rule. Whether you use protection or not, sex is an emotional affair and a lot of things could go wrong. You could run out of protection, or it could burst. People who look healthy may not always be healthy. Besides, we’ve all heard cases of bitter individuals who keep lists of people they’ve infected and a target to reach. You could be a victim, if you’re too trusting.

One night stands

Finally, the mother of all careless “fun”. You pick up a random stranger at the bar, because you’re young, wild and free…or because you’re nursing a heartbreak. All you want is an adventurous night of fun, but it could be more than that. One night stands are careless. You’re obviously not going to interrogate the stranger. Hard questions like “do you know your status” kill the vibe as Ruth Syovata puts it. All you’re required to do is get a room and smash it, then either leave or get rid of the one night stand before daylight. If you’re into this kind of stuff, just make sure the strangers leave nothing more than their scent as they leave in the ungodly wee hours.

In a nutshell, sex is a fun game, but the fun needs to be regulated. Humans without control are like broken taps… because water is wonderful and important, until it becomes uncontrollable. A minute of fun could turn into a lifetime of pain, if you do not take the necessary precaution. The solution is simple, abstinence, protection and faithfulness. Most importantly however, do not have sex with people whose status you do not know.

Call or Text us on 1190 (toll free) for more on Relationships, how to protect yourself  and counselling.

By Kinyanjui Alexander

Inspired By UrbanArt 254

THE SOUND OF SILENCE

“But her teardrops, like silent raindrops fell

And echoed

In the wells of silence”

          The first line on the testing strip appeared, and she thought it was early to tell but he knew what that meant. He has been doing this work for years now.  He worked as a HTC (HIV Testing and Counseling) counselor at one of the busiest hospital in Laikipia county.
          When he saw that line, he knew the test would be positive,  the second line was just a control.  So, in haste, he grabbed the strip and threw it in the waste bin, the red one.  And feigned a smile for the sake of the lady sitting fidgeting, her hands placed on her lap.  Her cheeks flushed from worry, her eyes sad and teary. Her lips tightly pressed together. Her heart threatening to break free from the protective shell of the rib cage.
          “You’re HIV negative babe” he announced and hoped his voice sounded believable enough.
“Oh, that’s great dear ” she responded faking an excitement. She knew prior to the test how the results would turn.   She stood up and hugged her boyfriend of one year now.  And a cohabiting partner of slightly over 4 months.
          “I will see you at home” he told her as he bid her goodbye at the door, slightly touching her left cheek with the hand that was few minutes ago buried in rubber.
             At the bench outside the door, three men and four ladies sat. Nervousness was written all over their faces. The next on-line came in and the man counseled them as per the guidelines. He had done this many times before that he sounded like a broken record to himself.  He could do it with his eyes closed literally.  He could feel a headache starting at the back of his head, and his gut literally filling up, burning, tormenting,  a stabbing pain nudging him to face the elephant in the room. His heart was still doing a dangerous speed since he glimpsed at that first line on the strip.
         His commitment to identification of those infected and prevention of further infections was not in question.  He had crammed the 90-90-90 rule recently released by WHO in earnest few days ago. But he harbored the feeling; he had failed even before starting on the prerequisites towards elimination of HIV.
            He had met this girl when she was a virgin.  He is the one who deflowered her.  He wasn’t a virgin himself.  He had had sexual encounters with two past lovers. He knew he is the one who had infected the girl and he loved her to death.  He felt awful.  And his heart was broken. He rushed to the washroom, left the tap flowing and cried.  He cried for what he had done to someone he love.  He cried for preaching water and drinking wine.  He has been a couple’s counselor for a while now.  He had been telling them to test before sex.  He had been telling the youth never to harvest honey without a protective gear.  Look at him now, he had gone against his own convictions and teachings. Instead of preventing further infections he had infected an innocent girl.
         Near a waterfall a tourist attraction of sorts, in a popular forest , he removed his shoes,  knelt down and prayed.  He sought forgiveness for what he had done and what he was about to do. Then he peeked down. He removed a crumpled note he had scribbled before leaving the hospital, folded it and kept it in the safest fold in his wallet.  He had to make sure it will not be ruined by water.
           The gravity pull was wooing him to jump.  The evil angels were calling him. The demon of suicide urging him on. He felt himself fly like an angel, towards the bottom of rest and self retribution.  He could now make out the bottom through the mist created by the force of water.  He saw the sharp rocks waiting with a warm embrace and pierced his body at different places with confidence when he gladly fell into that cold embrace of the rocks.
90bef7510e8756fc4c48da22e2e18c85        She went home and closed the bedroom door.  She cried on the pillow until no tears could come out.  Only groaning sounds of someone being strangled could be heard. A lump in her throat could not go down, even after taking two glasses of water in large quick gulps.
          She had known her status for 17 years now, since the day her mother disclosed to her assisted by a certain nurse when she was 8.  She is the one who had asked her boyfriend to test her.  She would have feigned surprise upon seeing the result and that would have been easier than disclosing her status to him.  But instead his boyfriend didn’t give the strip time.  He had rushed it.  And now an opportunity had been lost for a while or for good.
             How will she tell him she is positive?  This has been her dilemma since the first day they met. She tried to postpone a sexual encounter until one day it happened. She would fake a headache sometimes or say she wanted they do it in the confines of marriage just like the Bible says.  But her boyfriend had insisted. Actually, she wanted him to insist because that day, as she remembers she was so turned on. Maybe the few glasses of wine at the club did it.  Then it became a norm.  Then they started living together.
            Her trot down the memory lane was interrupted by a strange call on her phone.  She had applied to so many companies for an internship opportunity so she thought it was one of them. She dabbed her eyes, blew her nose and received the call.  Like she had expected the voice at the other end of the phone was strange but it was not from any organization, the voice was from the police. They told her she should rush to the police station because they had some bad news to tell her.
           In normal circumstances she would have called her boyfriend but she went alone. What the police were telling her could not register in her mind.  That her boyfriend had committed suicide two hours ago was unbelievable. Perhaps the strip had turned positive and her worst fears had been  confirmed in her absentia. She knew her boyfriend had felt betrayed hence the decision to commit suicide. She looked at the policeman who was telling him all this and she asked him whether she could see him.  ” You have to understand your boyfriend’s body is severely disfigured.  I can’t let you see him”
            She knew he was dead because of her.  She had infected him with HIV.  She could imagine the look on his face when he saw the strip and when he tested himself. She was crashed.  Her heart was broken.  She fainted.
         When she regained consciousness a few minutes later,  the policeman handed her a note addressed to her. It was an apology letter from her boyfriend.  He was saying he was sorry for infecting her with HIV.  And had explained that he could not live with that guilt.
“The sound of silence was a thud.”

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Disclosure is the knight in the war against the HIV menace.
*Disclosure will heal your soul.*
*Disclosure will ease the burden in your heart.*
*Disclosure is love.*
*Disclosure is everything.*
*Disclosure is rest. Disclose* today your HIV status to your loved ones
BY KINYANJUI ALEXANDER