Cabo-Verde - Ailton Lima

Ailton Lima is a young Cabo-verdian living with HIV. At the time that he was diagnosed, in 2003, there was not much information available about the disease. Ailton explains, “We knew it existed, and we heard some foreigners talking about it.” 

Ailton began using drugs at a very young age. Several of his friends, also injecting drug users, died, and this led Ailton to go get tested. “I was sharing syringes with my colleagues, so I got the virus,” he recalls. He remembers feeling rejection upon hearing of his diagnosis, and from that point his life became a constant struggle.

"For about two years after I discovered that I was HIV-positive, I went through complicated times, in denial of my HIV-positive status.” Ailton began to consume even more drugs in an attempt to end his life, but was unsuccessful.

Ailton says that he was near death. It was at this moment that he decided to seek help, and it was in El Shaddai Tents, in Santiago Island, that Ailton began his recovery. A year and a half later, Ailton was ready to face his health challenges and start his life afresh as an HIV rights activist.

"I decided to resume my life, to come back to the labor market and to reintegrate myself in society." He returned to São Vicente, the island where he was born, and in 2009 he founded the Abraço Association to support people living with HIV. He became an activist, raising awareness and working to prevent the spread of the disease.

For Additional Information or to Request Interviews, Please contact:
Beatrice Bernescut

Consultant

WHO Regional Office for Africa

WhatsApp: +41 78 836 6193

OKA Sakuya

Communications Manager (a.i)
WHO Regional Office for Africa
Tel: +242 06 508 1009
Email: okas [at] who.int