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May 31, 2013

Near the end of the second community outreach clinic day, organized specifically for Commercial Sex Workers (CSW) in Nsanje, Malawi, Isabella, a shy young woman arrives. That day, she and two of her friends are tested for HIV and her test result is positive. Through counseling and encouragement to start antiretroviral (ARV) treatment, Isabella finally admits to the counselor that she already knew she was positive. She had missed two appointments at the hospital ARV treatment clinic and, after this, she had been too embarrassed to go back. Instead, she is taking pills from friends – honestly or dishonestly – to continue her medication. Scared, she came to our clinic looking for help.