“I got to know about my status when it’s too late, my first child was already infected,” says 35-year-old Namukasa Mary. Namukasa is a mother of two and she is a resident of Lusaze-Mapeera. She got married at a young age, and she was not aware of her husband’s status, this was the beginning of her plight. Most of her neighbours were aware of her husband’s status, but he only dismissed this as a rumour.
Because of this “rumour”, she was stigmatized, and her child was beaten whenever she went out to play” I decided to go for a check-up because I suspected these rumours to be true, little did I know that my life would change forever.’
On this fateful day, Mary found out that she and her son were HIV positive but the doctors gave her hope that her unborn child would be negative if the right guidelines were followed during birth
When she confronted her husband about it, he was furious and he left home to date. Mary says she had to fend for herself, her child and the unborn baby. “I was used to being a stay home mum, I knew nothing about working, I had to be innovative because I wanted to survive and beat this disease”
The disease didn’t bring her down, it made her a hard-working woman, she sells perishables like tomatoes and onions at the market and she is also an activist against the stigmatization of HIV infected persons in her community.
“I don’t want anyone to go through stigmatization, I’m a mother and I’ve seen how my child is unable to play because of this disease, I want others to have a family in the community even though they are living positively,” she said
Mary works as an activist in her free time, she travels to schools and also walks through her community preaching the gospel of healthy positive living.
She goes on to say that she surely beat the disease because she has been able to provide for her children amidst the storms and sickly days.
Together we can fight HIV.
By Annet Namusisi, A student, Makerere University.