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First Kenyan to go public about HIV positive status mourned as 'hero'

By Nderitu Gichure | Feb 28th 2022 | 1 min read

Joe Muriuki, who declared his HIV status in 1987, was eulogised as a brave icon. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Joe Muriithi Muriuki, the first Kenyan to publicly declare his HIV status, was yesterday buried in Nyeri County.

Muriuki, who declared his HIV status in 1987, was eulogised as a brave icon for demonstrating love for others by disclosing his HIV status.

Minmax Talents band and students from Mukurewni Technical Institute sang songs in praise of Muriuki, describing him as a true soldier in the fight against HIV.

National Aids Control Council Mt Kenya Regional Coordinator Julius Koome said Muriuki worked at Nairobi City Council in September 1987 when he revealed his HIV status “despite knowing he would be discriminated against. He set a good example to others to declare the same in a bid to fight the disease.”

Muriuki, 63, had oesophageal cancer and died on February 14 at Kenyatta National Hospital.

His children said he was always there for them and worked tirelessly to provide for them ensuring they attended the best schools. 

“We’ve lost one of our pillars that will be difficult to replace. You were a steady and faithful confidant,” Molly Nyokabi, his lastborn, said.

Muriuki is survived by his widow Jane Ngima, six children and many grandchildren.

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