My Story – Living With HIV Has Taught Me Self-love, Self-awareness and Forgiveness

February 20, 2023

Susan Wairimu was diagnosed with HIV in 2019 and thought her life was over. However, Ms Wairimu overcame her fears and eventually accepted her condition.

She shared with The Nairobian how she purposed to live positively and how she is helping other People Living With HIV (PLWHIV).

Briefly introduce yourself.

I am 41 years old and living with HIV. I am also an advocate and activist for living positively.

What pushed you to go for an HIV test in the first place?

I was sick and as we all do before going to see a doctor, I went online to research my symptoms. I later went to the hospital where my worst fears were confirmed. I thought my life was over but I remembered many other people who had embraced their status and lived positively. I knew I would make it if I purposed to. I had a lot of fears at first since I was scared of how the medication would react to me.

Take us through the journey so far since you got diagnosed with HIV.

Well, when I tested positive in 2019, I thought it was going to be so hard that I didn’t even know I would come this far. But I have learnt the art of self-love, self-awareness, and forgiveness. Letting go is very important. You value yourself more and get to learn how to cope with things. The most important thing; you are what you attract. If you become miserable you attract misery. If you are courageous and living positively, you realise you attract positivity to the point that people around you forget you live with the condition.

Currently, you seem to be doing well physically and even emotionally, what is the secret behind this?

Honestly, I refuse to carry excess baggage. I refuse to be defined by people. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

It takes discipline adherence, self-love, and self-awareness to ignore all the noise and live a fulfilled life. I also refuse to be around toxicity and anything that would pull me down. I avoid it at any cost because HIV and stress don’t get along.

Even at my lowest moments when am going through other issues that normal people go through, I strive to stay sane and on the course because it’s very important for my mental health. I won’t bother over what I have no control over. I do evening walks from work to home to unwind. It helps me relieve anything I’m harbouring.

Any future plans or programmes concerning your life and supporting others living with HIV?

We have a support WhatsApp group where we have People Living With HIV (PLWHIV) from all walks of life. We have registered a Community-based organization that we look forward to doing projects of economic empowerment for the members because am the only public person in the group and I feel they need a lot of support financially to grow themselves as much as they get socio support.

Your parting shot?

Let’s embrace PLWHIV. Let’s stop being ignorant; we are not the walking dead as some people perceive us.

If you are HIV positive protect people around you,don’t be bitter with life, accept it, and move on. If you are negative; you need to know that people are living with an undetectable viral load for ages. It’s ignorant to make hateful comments not knowing tomorrow you or even your relative could be a candidate. If something isn’t your cup of tea just pass.

Remember in case you think you are exposed, kindly check yourself into a facility before 72 hours elapse so that you can be enrolled on (PEP) post-exposure prophylaxis for 28 days so that you are protected from any infection. Always spread kindness. PLWHIV just want to be accepted. That’s all. It’s possible to stay healthy and lead a normal happy life when you accept your condition.

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