Church visits in April
Ankpa, Jos, Yola and Fufore volunteer teams visited seven churches during April and also ran HIV clinics at two separate youth conferences for the Lutheran and ECWA denominations.
In total 512 people were tested for HIV and received counselling about their results. The majority – 456 people – committed to being open about their status and 350 joined new life sharing groups created for them.
Of the ten who tested positive six are on retroviral drugs. The remaining four have been diagnosed in the early stages of infection and with, healthy lifestyles, can remain strong for longer.
“Early diagnosis gives people the chance for a much better quality of life,” explains Grace & Light international coordinator Tassie Ghata. “They can change behaviours so they stay fit and healthy by eating well and exercising. Accepting their situation and not being worried or stressed also helps.”
There was some sad news during the month as one Grace & Light member, who was clear when she tested four years ago, is now HIV positive. This lady was in a supportive life sharing group that had scattered because of the violence in Jos.
“Subsequently she stopped taking care of herself,” explained Tassie. “Now she is back in a life sharing group and receiving support. This is only the third time one of our life sharing members has become HIV positive.”
Another new member, Halima, was very sick when she found out she is HIV positive - and became depressed at her results.
“With good counselling from her life sharing group leader she is no longer depressed and is talking to other HIV positive people who live near her in Jos about how she is living her life.”