Barbara Kemigisa an employee of Makerere University Business School is the true representation of living positive with HIV, on this page we share her stories to inspire the young people to live a responsible life.
In my early teens, I was uncontrollable. The boys and men I had sex with never stayed. The alcohol disappeared and I would sink deeper in despair. I didn’t bother about who touched me where- I was a girl for public use.
From the age of six, I was sexually abused by young uncles. Incest did not exist in my world in Kabarola, in rural Uganda, and later in Kampala, the capital. Sex was a way of life,
not a way of giving pleasure, love and respect.
When I reached puberty, I just went on having sex with anyone. I did not think of unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitt ed diseases and HIV. I didn’t know about these things.
Worse, I shut my ears to the few health education programs available in the early 2000s I got pregnant at age 15. I didn’t have a clue that a baby was growing inside of me. Someone who noticed told my family. Protecting the family name, they took me to hospital and the pregnancy was terminated.
Word got around in school. Nobody wanted to talk to me. My friends abandoned me. School became hell. To be expelled, I burnt my mattress.
Out of school, I was wild and reckless. In 2008 I got pregnant again. The boyfriend left me the moment I told him I was pregnant and had tested HIV positive during the first antenatal care visit.
I looked around and saw so many young people getting infected and dying of AIDS.
I thought: who knows how many have gone through a hard childhood like me? I can use my experience to warn young people about AIDS. And for those who already live with HIV, to help them live positively and stay healthy. I can give the one thing I never had: someone to talk to, someone to guide me. A red light to tell me to stop.
I believe that everything happens for a reason. My past was an on-the-job training so today I can help young people live healthily and safely in the times of HIV.
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