Destiny's Child star takes HIV test in Kenya to raise awareness
Just like J.Lo couple days ago performing for audistic children at an elementary, it is nice to see Kelly Rowland lending a hand to help others with her celebrity status. Lets hope more and more people will follow her lead.
Sassy Kelly Rowland showed the world she could go it alone and still hit No. 1 on the charts.
But now this Grammy-winning R&B sensation is using her considerable charm and charisma to take on the scourge of AIDS.
She is the first ambassador for MTV's Staying Alive Foundation, which works to empower young people to protect them against AIDS.
In silver high heels and a sundress, Rowland arrived Thursday at the Kenyatta Hospital in downtown Nairobi, Kenya, to take a public stand against stigma and undergo an HIV test. "For me, knowing your status is glamorous because then you get to carry that with you and you get to protect yourself," she said.
Rowland and 22-year-old Kenyan John Ngugi took the test together in a tiny counseling room at the testing center at this public hospital. He also wanted to know his status, but he couldn't suppress a large grin at times sitting next to such star power.
"As a young person from Mathare slum and having a super star to actually have a test with," said Ngugi, "It is just a big promise for me and a big promise for my community and I am just grateful for the test."
Like much of Africa, Kenya struggles with the AIDS pandemic. UNAIDS, the joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, estimates that more than 22 million adults and children are living with HIV on the continent. And it strikes the youth hardest.
"You could take a situation like having HIV and think of it as having a disability and think of it as something that is going to bring you down," said Rowland, "but I have met kids and young people that are just so inspiring. They inspire me."
In Kenya, as in many parts of Africa, people are often afraid to take an HIV test for fear of being stigmatized. In Kenya, antiretroviral drugs are free for HIV-positive people, but many people would rather not know whether they are HIV positive for fear of facing discrimination in the workplace and in the community.