World AIDS Day is observed annually on the 1st of December worldwide. This year’s theme is “Let Communities Lead.” According to the World Health Organization, the theme emphasizes the impact of communities on the progress of HIV. Communities play a vital role in providing treatment and support services to people with and those living with the virus.
During the celebrations, a red ribbon, a universal symbol for people living with the virus, is commonly worn as part of the attire, signifying solidarity.
Blench Wanjiku, a Treatment Adherence Officer at Kijabe Hospital in Kiambu County, has been at the forefront of serving the community. She has passionately guided and counseled patients with the disease, focusing particularly on medication adherence (ARVs), and educating both those directly affected by the virus and the broader community. Blench vividly recalls the stigma associated with the disease, referencing how rampant it used to be during the early days.
In her line of work, she provides in-depth education to the community about the virus and offers advice on managing it. Blench has also gone out of her way to protect the young ones from contracting the virus, especially for mothers living with the disease.
This year’s celebration holds special significance for Blench and her colleagues as they are at the forefront of the community, aligned with the theme “Let Communities Lead.” Through her work, Blench is actively involved in reducing the viral load for HIV patients.
As we commemorate this year’s World AIDS Day, our involvement, in reflecting on the community, is essential. Moreover, community involvement contributes to the sustainability of HIV/AIDS programs, involving movements and initiatives that ensure continuity and success. Let Communities Lead!