Dressed in a short black dress, her bag resting in her shoulder, Monicah*, 24, climbs the stairways to the fourth floor of Royal Plaza Building where BHESP Drop-In Centre is located in Roysambu, Nairobi.
“I am rushing to attend the Movie Friday as it provides an opportunity for me to learn about HIV prevention interventions and also get to share experiences with my peers,” she says while feeling breathless as she ushers into BHESP’s safe space.
Movie Friday is a day set aside for clients taking Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) to come to BHESP’s safe space and watch educational movies, share their experiences and challenges while using PrEP, which when taken consistently has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk by up to 92%.
The safe space is filled to the brim with young women, all their eyes glued to the television, Monica meanders her way and gets a sit in one of the corners where she sits and keenly follows the movie titled “Shuga”.
After the movie Shuga, which is a multimedia campaign to spread the message about responsible sexual behavior and tolerance, Monica and her peers engage in a group discussion on ways of HIV prevention.
“In the movie, the girls forgot to use condoms making them prone to HIV infection and that’s why we should adhere to our PrEP pills and use condoms all the time to avoid infection,” Monica responds when asked her views about the movie.
After the discussions, Monica ushers herself into the clinical room where she collects her PrEP refills.
“I almost cried while watching the movie as it showed how young women are prone to HIV infection and that’s why I always ensure I take my PrEP pills every day,” Monica says while putting her pills and condoms into the goody bag she received from BHESP after adhering well to her pills.
According to BHESP clinician, Damaris Atieno, the movie Friday provides a good opportunity to ensure PrEP continuation and tracking of the clients.
“Our PrEP continuation rate is almost at 70% and this can be attributed to the innovative approaches, like movie Fridays, aimed at ensuring our clients are consistently adhering to the medication,” She concludes.