NAIROBI — On a recent afternoon, 19-year old Peter was approached by an NGO worker at the Kahawa West County Market on the outskirts of Nairobi who told him that around the corner he could grab a free take home HIV self-test. He walked over to a white tent to pick up his test and headed home to take it. Although sexually active in a country with one of the largest HIV epidemics in the world, this is the first time he has tested for the virus — even though he has been curious about his status for years.
“I prefer to take the test at home in private,” he said.
People like Peter, whose name has been changed for privacy reasons, risk falling through the cracks of the health care system for a variety of reasons, including the stigma surrounding HIV and the hassles associated with visiting clinics, including taking time off of work.