With reported cases of infections among faithful, community takes the war to the dreaded disease, writes KIUNDU WAWERU
But Ms Rehema Rashid was one of the first people to buck the trend — at least in the sprawling region.
My Health caught up with the mother of three — who hails from Kwale — in Mombasa last week.
At Msambweni District Hospital, she tested positive. Post-test counsellors advised her to live positively and join a support group.
But she belonged to a religion whose adherents did not believe they could easily contract HIV.
How would she live with her family with this kind of stigma? After many false starts, she joined a support group in Mombasa.
"We have in the past believed HIV is for sinners but as leaders, we have realised that our people are being infected in silence."
Mahmoud is the secretary-general of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK), Mombasa County.
When going to the local Comprehensive Care Centre Units in government hospitals that were then seriously stigmatised, Rehema would wear a face veil that left space for her eyes only.