October 10, 2023
In 2007, Joyce, David and their two children were featured on the cover of PEPFAR’s annual report to Congress, but their story about how PEPFAR transformed their lives began in 2005.
David and Joyce were expecting their second child in 2005 when David discovered he was living with HIV. The next day, David brought his wife, Joyce, to Kericho District Hospital to get tested. “It was a scary time. We lost each other in the facility, as there were no mobile phones back then,” David recalls.
That day, Joyce, who was four months pregnant at the time, discovered she also had HIV. She was put on a single dose of Navirapine to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV, and, five months later, she welcomed a healthy, HIV-free son. In 2006, Joyce screened (but did not qualify) for an NIH/Division of AIDS funded HIV treatment study conducted by the Walter Reed Project looking at the impact of HIV drug resistance that developed in some women who took Nevirapine. The study changed global guidelines on how mothers living with HIV are managed.
David was also placed on treatment, which at the time involved five pills a day twice daily. It was a very hard time. “I had many side effects including thrush, but I gave myself hope because of my children. I knew they needed me.”
Unfortunately, after welcoming their second son, the family experienced severe stigma in their community, and felt forced to move away. At that time, Joyce was unable to breastfeed her child, and because of that the community felt he would amount to nothing. Today, with a big smile on his face, David is proud to show off his school report for his son with his good marks.
David has now worked for PEPFAR for more than 10 years. He first served as a community advocate for Orphans and Vulnerable Children, mentoring and counseling children on antiretroviral therapy, and he now educates children.
Treatment looks a lot different today than it was back in 2005. David notes, “I only take one pill per day. There are no side effects. There is no stigma. I appreciate the progress that has been made over the last 18 years.”
For David and Joyce, PEPFAR truly saved their family. Joyce says, “Thanks to the PEPFAR program, my children are living a healthy life, HIV free.”