No one was there for me

As a young girl I started drinking alcohol when I was in secondary school and it got so bad that I started getting drunk and fight a lot. Then a family friend who I use to call my god father, told me that alcohol is not good for my system and then he asked me how much do I have, of which I told him 1,500 he collected it and added some money to it and bought me dome drugs which I used and enjoyed myself. Then i continued talking drugs that I started injecting. I then had a boyfriend whom I do inject together with and other friends. Sharing syringes was fun to us, as we usually say it is the first law of love and trust.

No one was there to provide us with needed education without a mind set to judge us. We were a group of 6. Along the line, one of us, Ali was reported to be HIV positive. Every one of us became scared and decided to go for HIV test, and then another person a female this time around tested positive making two persons out of the six of us. I was a bit lucky not to have gotten it, but that actually did not stop me from injecting and sharing syringes.

Along the line I became pregnant and was still injecting. No Antenatal Care. In fact I was actually injecting when i went into labor and delivered my baby but the baby died. I knew I needed help but I could not go out and tell anyone.

Fortunately I met YouthRISE during one of their outreach in my community. I was impressed about their friendliness, non-judgmental attitude and support. On my own I made a decision to stop drug use and they helped me through the process. I am now a community volunteer reaching out to other young girls. Many young girls who are injecting drugs are in hiding. It will be difficult to reach them as long as the society keeps seeing drug users as criminals and people to be punished instead of providing the required public health services they need.

Government and every stake holder need to know there can never be an end to HIV without paying adequate attention to HIV risk behavior among people who use drugs.