HIV Positive – Female Sex Worker Tells Her Story

A PLHIV who took a bold decision to accept her condition, adhered to therapy and now, an entrepreneur.

Grace is a 21-year-old lady who was diagnosed with HIV and initiated on ARVs during  the outbreak of Covid-19. Covid-19 has been a big disruption to achieving the 95-95-95 HIV target. During the peak of the pandemic, the USAID Care Continuum Project adopted a door-to-door strategy to intensify its case finding among the general and key populations.  Pregnant women and children, boys and men, adolescent girls and young women including female sex workers (FSW) were reached within this period.

Grace was one of the female sex workers who tested positive in the Jomoro district.  Having gone through denial for a while, she finally accepted to enrol on treatment.  After taking her ARVs for the first 3 months, she insisted on taking a viral load test “because that’s the only way to know if the ARVs are really working” she said. She was directed to the laboratory for her sample to be taken on 19th August, 2020. Her results came on the 30th of October, 2020 and she was virally suppressed.

She had become virally suppressed within 3 months of therapy.  This made her very happy and hopeful for the future. In one of her discussions with our Project Officer she spoke about starting a lucrative business to support herself.  In  May 2021, Grace successfully opened her own food joint.

 In her advice to persons newly diagnosed with HIV, she said “PLHIVs should be comfortable having open conversations with others in the same condition for support and guidance as well as adhere to their ARVs and soon, they will become virally suppressed like me.”