Dan Kamau, a rather well known social media activist is a 23 year old man living openly with HIV. He has also never kept his sexuality a secret and proudly lives as a gay man. He often uses his own images with powerful slogans and statements to pass on his message.
When I first met him at Railways Hotel, he easily passed for another young man with positive energy and a focus in life that overshadowed his status and sexuality. Having grown up without parents, he devised means of survival at a young age which has helped him become self reliant.
Kamau believes being gay is inborn; he first paid attention to his sexuality when he was 14. He was not even aware what homosexuality meant at that point; all he knew was that he was attracted to boys. “I tried dating girls but it did not work. Over the years, I have found that dating fellow men is more fulfilling,” Kamau narrates.
About his HIV status, he knew he’d been infected by a former boyfriend in April 2015. “After we had broken up he came to me and apologized and said, “Dan, I am sorry I’m the one who infected you and I take full responsibility for my actions,” an emotional Kamau recalls.
The news left him in a state of depression and he eventually left his job; soon after, he got so depressed that he lost his job.
‘’I had a job but my contract expired and was not a renewed due to my poor performance. This was about the time I got infected with HIV and I could not report to work every day due to stress and depression,” he shared.
Prior to testing positive, Kamau also had a boyfriend. “It took me time to accept my status and I remember quitting my relationship because I thought I had infected my boyfriend. When I did come out on facebook, he was taken by surprise,” he continued
Coming out both as HIV+ and gay could mean double stigma but his was not the case. “I get all sorts of messages and many people actually want to meet me. I thank God that I have not faced a lot of discrimination although I would be lying if I said I have not met a few individuals that have jumped at the opportunity to torment me. I’m currently dating an HIV negative man,” he shares as his face lightens up.
He revealed that he has been approached by men on many different occasions but his message to other young gays who are living positively with HIV is to realize that this is not the end of life. It is simply the beginning of whichever way they choose to live; he further encourages them to embrace life with love and to fully accept themselves.
“It’s really disheartening when one has to die of HIV related ailments in this 21 century. It’s true that sex is associated with so many diseases and as soon as one finds out they are positive, one should start to take care of themselves. No one has to die of something that is preventable,’’ Kamau goes on.
Kamau is an optimist and hopes that in the next five years, he will have founded an organization that helps HIV+ young people especially youths to LGBTI.