AIDS in Kenya: Glimmers of Hope

Children are taught the facts about HIV and AIDS from a very young age. i i

hide captionChildren too young to attend primary school on Ngodhe, one of the Suba District's most remote islands, play in a field near the school. Children are taught the facts about HIV and AIDS from a very young age.

Rachel Taylor
Children are taught the facts about HIV and AIDS from a very young age.

Children too young to attend primary school on Ngodhe, one of the Suba District's most remote islands, play in a field near the school. Children are taught the facts about HIV and AIDS from a very young age.

Rachel Taylor
Jim Amimo is a self-described health advocate, providing voluntary AIDS counseling and testing

hide captionJim Amimo is a self-described health advocate, providing voluntary AIDS counseling and testing on Ngodhe Island.

Rachel Taylor

AIDS has devastated the lakeshore communities of Lake Victoria in western Kenya. There are an estimated 650,000 AIDS orphans currently living in Kenya, according to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS. But amid the devastation there are signs of hope.

Thanks to a handful of ambitious nonprofit programs, most of the orphans have not been abandoned to their fate. Support groups for women widowed by the virus — who sometimes contract HIV when poverty and hunger force them to trade sex for food — are also finding support among their fellow widows.

The support groups are crucial, because AIDS still carries a powerful social stigma in Kenyan society — especially for women, who are expected to re-marry after losing a husband, not go to work for themselves. They now have access to programs that teach them a trade, and maybe a livelihood.

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