PACE implements the Postive living project across the country in over 250 sites. Here are stories of people living with HIV that have been touched by the project initatives like provision of the Basic Care Package( kit), home visits and counseling.
Responding to HIV Through the Positive Living Lifestyle
It is estimated that over one million people are living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHIV) in Uganda (The HIV/AIDS epidemiological Surveillance report 2005-2007). Most of these are vulnerable to opportunistic infections that may result into severe symptoms and illnesses that exacerbate their progression to AIDS. This results into high morbidity and mortality among PLWHIV.
In 2004, Centre for disease control Uganda, the Ministry of Health, and PSI Uganda (now Program for Accessible health, Communication and Education-PACE) developed the Basic Care Package (BCP).
Fred Omara is 43 years and lives in Lira municipality central division the northern part of Uganda. He is the vice chairperson of people living with HIV&AIDS in Lira district. “In 2004 my wife passed away due to AIDS. In 2006 I was still in denial despite having developed full blown AIDS. I had TB, Malaria, Diarrhea and had lost a lot of weighed weight. I was alone and frightened of what was going to happen to me because everyone thought I would die the following day.” Says John
With this state of my health discrimination set in as people started fearing to share anything with me out of fear that they may contract HIV. Its at this point that I decided to return to my village so that I could stay at home with my mother and my next of kin. But when I got to the village the stigma and discrimination was even worse than the city as people were literally running away from me. They just couldn’t want to be in my company. It’s at this point that I told my mother that I was better off dying in town and I immediately returned to town.
While in town I gained some courage and went to Lira referral hospital where they tested me and found I was HIV positive and my CD4 was less than one hundred. I was immediately started on septrine. After three months I was counseled, started on Anti retro viral medicine and given a Basic care package (water vessel, mosquito long lasting treated net, 3bottles of water guard solution, 2 boxes of condoms, a filter cloth and booklets on how to live positively).
The package particularly the water vessel disclosed my status to the community because they knew and associated it to PLHIV so I had no reason to disclose to anyone. I also accepted my status and became more determined to live positively. With the vessel I was able to treat water using the water guard tablets and store it safely which drastically reduced the cost of making water safe.
I started sleeping under the mosquitoes net to prevent malaria. My health drastically improved and I soon met Grace Adong. I disclosed to her my HIV status and despite being HIV negative she accepted my proposal. We agreed to use condoms and we have been co habiting since 2006.
I now encourage people living with HIV to adopt the positive living life style. I sensitize communities on HIV&AIDS and encourage them to take an HIV test. They have recognized my efforts and elected me the vice chairman for district PLHIV network and vice chairman of discordant couples in the district. I am also an expert client and give useful tips to PLHIV.