| Dec 3, 2018
Youth Spotlight: Jackson's Story
The frequent visits to the hospital made Jackson wonder what was going on. He asked his mother the reason for all the visits and she promised to tell him when he was old enough. When Jackson and his mother were referred to Alive Medical Services (AMS), he soon discovered the purpose.
“I was 10 years old when I found out I was HIV positive,” Jackson said. “But I wasn’t scared.”
Jackson experienced a lot of stigma and was even treated badly by members of his own family. Other children didn’t play with him or let him into their circles with the fear of contracting the disease. However, he didn’t let it get to him and made the effort to explain to them that the disease was in his blood and not on his body. Eventually, the children began to play with him.
When asked about his experience at AMS, Jackson said “My favorite part of coming to AMS is the music and youth and children activities I take part in. At AMS, I am treated well and feel like I am home every time I come. I have many fun activities to do like reading books, which makes me feel good.” Jackson speaks of the Victors’ Club at AMS, a program that engages adolescents and young people living with HIV. The club has activities that involve singing, dancing, and video story-telling among others, which have enabled many young people to make friendships and support each other to live productive and healthy lives.
At school, most of Jackson’s friends now know about his status and he is okay with it. “Now that my friends know my HIV status, they sometimes help me pick up medication when I’m not able to do so,” he explains with a smile.
Jackson, who is now in Primary 4 says, “My dream when I grow up is to become a doctor so that I can help children like me and encourage them to take their medication. I’ll tell them that if I could do it, so can they.”