„VCT“ in the context of HIV/AIDS stands for Voluntary Counceling and Testing. Employes at Nyaweri office work as counselors and test people for AIDS. Nyaweri stands for three provinces in Kenya: NYANZA, WESTERN and RIFT VALLEY.
The office exists since 2004, founded by Dr. Peter Oracha Adoyo from Maseno University. The main office of Nyaweri is Liverpool VCT Care and Treatment under which Nyaweri is working. Right now six people are running Nyaweri office, five are Deaf and one is hearing, who are all trained on counseling and testing. The main reason of the formation of this office is to help educate hearing impaired people on HIV/AIDS, so that they are able to make informed decisions and carry out testing. Deaf people have to face many challenges when it comes to HIV/AIDS. Myths and prejudices exist about the Deaf and in combination with HIV/AIDS it is even harder for them to lead a normal life. Another big problem is the lack of information and awareness of HIV/AIDS especially for those who are living in the rural areas. Language barriers among the education level are a big challenge and it is really hard for them to acquire appropriate information about HIV/AIDS. Poor access to VCT services, Stigma and discrimination are three other challenges for a Deaf person.
After the counseling and the result, it is important to prepare for the future and to create a surrounding atmosphere where he or she can feel understood, accepted and comfortable.
Another part of Nyaweri VCT office is the outreach programme. Employees are going out into the fields closer to the people who might not have time and the opportunity to get access to the VCT, and because of transport problems and lack of knowledge.
The outreach programme is one option to provide the VCT service to people in rural areas.
Also workshops are offered for many different topics, e.g. some of them focus on the rights of women and the problems of gender inequality. The workshops are organized by different associations like Handicap International, Kenya National Association of the Deaf etc.
When it comes to HIV/AIDS the employees of Nyaweri are hoping and wishing that this place will always play a big role in terms of improving knowledge and awareness of the HIV/AIDS status to reduce more infections among themselves and to work on a better situation for this special group to which the hearing population does not give much attention. They want to reach as many Deaf as possible to provide awareness and information about HIV/AIDS and other health related issues.
A lot of things have changed over the last years. For the future the workers at Nyaweri hope to extend this important kind of work.