Dorine + Francis

- a vertical transmission, U=U, OTZ, PMTCT, discordant couple story -

I love my beautiful life.

(Dorine Mbudu)

"PEPFAR gives vibrancy"

PEPFAR Kenya gives hope and vibrancy through....

helping HIV positive youth rewrite the stories of their beautiful lives

PEPFAR has invested in increasing knowledge on HIV prevention and providing age-appropriate HIV prevention interventions to adolescents and young people (AYP). The care and treatment program has equally evolved over time in ensuring differentiated services for young people that includes impactful programs such as Operation Triple Zero (OTZ). As PEPFAR celebrates 20 years in Kenya, we look back with great relief as we celebrate program impact in different phases of life leading to enhancement of high-quality life and productivity. Dorine and Francis are a beacon of hope and an inspiration to young people, having contributed immensely to PEPFAR work in different facets. The two Heroes demonstrate the HIV and treatment cascade. 

Dorine Akinyi Mbudu, aged 26 years, is an AYP Champion serving at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH). She was born HIV positive (via vertical transmission). She lost her mother in the year 1999 and her father a year later, and then moved in to live with her grandmother.

She fell sick quite often as a child and spent the better part of her early life in-and-out of hospital. At the age of 14 years, she was diagnosed with HIV, at JOOTRH, where she was initiated on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART.) She later joined an adolescent support group at the facility, where the Adolescent Peers helped her cope with treatment and accepting her status.

She later moved from her grandmother’s home in Rabour to live with an uncle in Kisumu town for a better livelihood, and he supported her through Primary and Secondary education. At the time, Dorine was selected as an Adolescent Peer Champion to support other adolescents.

On completing her Secondary Education, Dorine met a special friend, Francis, who knew her HIV status through the community. He confronted her on her status, whereby she accepted and they both agreed to get tested at the health facility. Unlike Dorine, Francis tested negative. The two committed to stay together despite the outcome. With HIV literacy, counseling and psychosocial support, the friend, now, husband, has remained HIV negative. Since then, Francis has been a pillar in Dorine’s life and treatment journey. They are blessed with two beautiful children, born in 2016 and 2018 respectively. Francis supported Dorine through prevention-of-mother-to-child- transmission (PMTCT) clinics through both pregnancies, and both of their beautiful children tested negative for HIV at the conclusion of the PMTCT clinics.

Having known her HIV status as a teenager, Dorine became a beneficiary of adolescent HIV prevention program, and as an OTZ champion, she became an early adopter of the concept of Undetectable equals Untransmissible (U=U). Living in a discordant relationship with a very supportive spouse, the couple have confronted community stigma and discrimination by embracing and enforcing personal commitment to treatment adherence, leading to consistent and durable HIV viral suppression. 

Dorine has been instrumental in supporting other HIV positive pregnant and breastfeeding adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) through active participation and her leadership during OTZ-plus groups in her community and at JOOTRH – the very facility where she was diagnosed with HIV, treated, and underwent PMTCT clinics to prevent transmitting HIV to her children. This has contributed to the current improved clinic attendance, medication adherence, stigma reduction and ultimately low mother-to-child-transmission of HIV in JOOTRH. She remains a role model and a peer mentor to many AGYW in Kisumu County.

Dorine and Francis demonstrate that with well managed HIV status disclosure, facilitated adherence support to ARVs and constant psychosocial support, persons living with HIV are empowered in preventing HIV transmission and lead high quality, productive lives.

As Dorine herself summarizes: “I am so happy with my beautiful life… Through PEPFAR, I am able to take my meds in time, without anybody’s support. If PEPFAR had not provided anybody to support me in counseling, to support me in PMTCT, I could have given birth to HIV positive children, as my mother did to me… I am also so happy about getting this supportive husband who has supported me through this journey, together with our children. As an OTZ champion, I encourage young adolescents to know partner status, to take their partner for HIV testing, and I encourage young adolescents to keep their ART adherence as well as I am doing.”


- a pepfar Kenya story of hope -