| Mar 13, 2018
Thank you for transforming Vicky's life!
By Dr. Pasquine Ogunsanya | Executive Director
For years, Vicky was trapped in a volatile relationship. Her partner was openly unfaithful, and as a traditional healer, he regularly slept with his clients. He subjected Vicky to both physical and emotional abuse – but after four years, Vicky decided she had enough. She left her partner and moved in with a close friend of her mother’s, ready to start a new life in Kampala.
Within weeks of leaving her partner, Vicky started feeling sick. Her body temperature would spike radically and without warning: one minute Vicky was burning hot, the next, she was freezing cold. Vicky’s head continuously throbbed with pain, and her entire body felt achy and sore. She was convinced that her partner had cursed her. Terrified, she visited another traditional healer in her new neighbourhood.
“I assumed that my partner had bewitched me because I left him,” she said. “I took the medicines he gave me, but nothing helped. I struggled so much until my mother’s friend took me to Alive Medical Services.”
The last thing Vicky thought she had was HIV, but at age 23, she found out her diagnosis was positive. Her partner had always told her he was HIV-negative; he assured her he got tested regularly. It was clear he had deceived her. For days, she did nothing but cry.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Vicky said. “But I went back to speak with the counsellors at AMS, and they helped me remember my older sister. She was infected with HIV when I was 14 years old. She always had hope, and thinking of her gave me strength.”
Vicky took her medication as instructed, trying her best to manage the side effects while caring for six children as a single mother. Once people in her community found out about her status, however, things became much more difficult. Her neighbours – including men and women she once thought were her friends – stigmatized her constantly, repeating that she was careless, and as a result, going to die.
“I became completely isolated,” Vicky said. “I began to hate myself and fell into a deep despair. I even stopped taking my medication, and soon after, I caught TB.”
Her mother’s friend once again encouraged Vicky to return to AMS. She was immediately tested and treated for tuberculosis, and enrolled into intensive adherence counselling, which required Vicky to visit the clinic once a month for three months.
“Without that counselling, I wouldn’t have made it,” Vicky said. “The counsellors encouraged me to keep on living – and encouraged me to remember the hope and strength of my sister once again.”
Thanks to your support, now 33, Vicky’s health is stable. Her life, she said, is filled with joy. Vicky does laundry and cleans houses for a living, and all six of her children have been able to grow up HIV-negative.
“When I think about how much my life has changed these past 10 years, I am so grateful,” Vicky said. “I feel healthy and strong – and I look so much better than I used to. Most importantly, I have hope. I feel joy. I want to thank AMS so much for that.”
Vicky hopes she can serve as an example for other HIV-positive women around Kampala, and wants to show women how healthy you can be when you are good to your body. We are so grateful to our partners for making success stories like Vicky's a reality. Thank you sincerely for your generosity.
“AMS has become my mother, father, and family,” Vicky said. “The staff members are my sisters and brothers. They are my friends and relatives. When I come to AMS, I feel at peace.”