Peace in the Knowing
I am not sure how I would react to the news. Panic.
Hearing that you are HIV-positive, I don't think any of the first thoughts would be positive. But that is what Margaret felt.
She had been sick for some time, and after her husband passed away, she knew she had to be tested. Just one week after learning of her status at the Isiolo Clinic in central Kenya, she found herself sitting in a circle of plastic chairs, talking about her status with others in a support group of other HIV-positive patients. Instead of hiding in her story, she stood up under it and was willing to share it with us as we visited. Because the wondering and worry had plagued her before knowing her status, she found the news relieving.
It was relieving because she knew that she wasn't alone. She had already met people from the clinic support groups in her community, so she knew that she could have courage to be tested. She knew the community at the clinic would support her, help her, walk with her.
Just one week in, she smiled as she told her story. Just one week in, she shared her story. Just one week in, she has found peace in the knowing. The knowledge didn't take away the concern, but the knowledge and wisdom of the clinic officers and social workers gave her confidence. It already made an impact in her health. In just one week.
Monday was World AIDS Day. So, this week we are reminded especially that we fight for men and women like Margaret so they don't have to wonder. They don't have to suffer alone. The can lean into the knowledge of their status and know that they will be loved in the outcome. There is a hope and a future for Margaret.