In primary 5, young as she was, Carol ( Not real name) a 26-year-old young lady currently residing in Namasuba was taken to the hospital by her aunt as she noticed she was getting sickly after 5 years since the death of her mother. Carol was taken to a clinic in Naguru where she was diagnosed with HIV after a blood test. She was still very young and vulnerable, devasted and hopeless with life. She was started on medication but by that time it was on sale and seemed expensive. Lucky enough, she had sponsors that catered and gave her a helping hand. As time passed, this cost became too high for them to handle so they started looking for an alternative way to support her.
In 2011, one of her sponsors found out about Alive Medical Services and she was transferred there. Not only was AMS offering ARVs, but all services were free of charge including monthly nutrition food provisions that took a load off from the burden of the sponsors. They however, continued to provide her school tuition and upkeep.
“Alive Medical Services was and is still one of a kind, a home away from home I must say. I thought I was the only one but when I met the young people in the Victor’s club, and most of all one of the leaders Nabula Edith Lukoma, I swear my life has never been the same!”
With the support and encouragement from Victor’s club here at AMS, Carol managed to cope, especially with the irritating side effects from the medication like heat all over her body, endless nausea. She persisted to stay on the medication as advised by the health workers and it has paid off. She was trained as a peer educator in psychosocial support, music trainer here at AMS and ever since then, she is proud of sharing her story with the community
Carol is now a mother of two lovely children, a boy and a girl and through our AMS EMTCT services, they are healthy, happy and most of all HIV negative.
She has learnt so much from the facility and touched so many lives in the process.
“I am so grateful to AMS staff and donors that make this happen, I love my life, my kids and my medication. Sometimes it gets hard, but that’s the circle of life, I believe everyone goes through depressing and stressing times irrespective of their status.”
Since then, Carol has never looked back and is currently breaking boundaries, she is travelling to Nairobi for her new job. She has a plan to travel back every three months to refill her medication.
It’s because of generous partners like you that AMS can help the youth. Your support is critical to ensuring children are born HIV-negative – and you are playing an integral role in halting the spread of HIV, and keeping families safe. For that, we are incredibly grateful. Thank you so very much!
It has been a minute, but we are still here! We have been up and about with several developments towards the provision of free, inclusive and comprehensive HIV care with elimination of mother to child HIV transmission. We won’t stop until we see an HIV free generation!
In the past three months Alive Medical Services (AMS) has continued to provide inclusive and comprehensive HIV prevention that has continued to protect babies from acquiring HIV through the mother to child transmission of HIV.
Maternal and Child Health Services
Every Tuesday, AMS focused on mothers and babies, immunizations, children from age 0- 5, and early infant diagnosis (EID). At this clinic, we target HIV positive mothers and their children, and, in that regard, we immunized 135 children from age 0-2. While providing pre- and post-natal care.
Within the last three months,
Every Thursday AMS holds a prenatal care clinic for pregnant women where they are offered ultrasound scans and get a chance to be examined and attended to by a designated midwife.
Betty is one of the clients that benefitted from this special clinic. She was assessed, provided an ART refill, and her viral load was monitored. Additionally, she recieved psychosocial support, and health education sessions on acquisition and administering of Nevirapine to her new-born to ensure that the baby remains HIV negative I am thrilled to share that Betty gave birth to an HIV negative bouncing baby and the baby remains HIV negative.
Thanks to your support AMS has been able to continue reaching thousands of HIV positive individuals with holistic, inclusive and high-quality care. Since 2013 AMS has eliminated mother to child transmission of HIV and over 1000 babies have been born HIV negative. Thank you!
My name is Juliet and I am a 33-year-old mother of 4. My husband, children and I live in Luzira and three of us have been clients of Alive Medical Services (AMS) since 2011. I have been aware of my HIV-status since 2003 and had been getting my medication elsewhere although the supply was always unpredictable, so I did not have proper adherence. The reason I came to AMS was because of my third child, 5-year-old Lucia who at the time was only 3 months old. She had been terribly sick for about a month and we had run out of options.
Actually, we had emotionally prepared ourselves for her death. At the time, we lived in Namuwongo but did not know that we were very close to where our hope would be renewed, at AMS. An elderly woman who was our close neighbour realized our distress and directed us to the clinic. I immediately got the first boda-boda (motorbike) with my daughter to AMS.
On reaching the clinic, we were given priority and at that moment, I regained hope in saving my daughter’s life. After the emergency medical care had been given and realizing that she too was HIV-positive, the doctors got us a car and a reference letter in hand to Mulago hospital. We first despaired because we could not afford the private medical care but AMS’ Director Dr Pasquine not only gave me a reference letter; she made some calls to ease our way in getting the medical care that was beyond AMS. This I only discovered later as indeed we were given good medical attention while at Mulago hospital.
My daughter was on oxygen support for about 2 weeks and during this time we got care supplies from Mwama Mugimu, a wellness company that was partnering with AMS at the time. A team of doctors made sure that the oxygen tank did not run dry at any moment and my husband and I kept watch over her while taking turns.
Today, I look at Lucia, my 5-year-old daughter and I acknowledge that she is a miracle that Alive Medical Services helped to happen. I would have been grieving my child but, instead, I gladly share my happiness with others. My husband, daughter and I come regularly for medical care since the rest of our children are HIV-negative. I am forever grateful to AMS for all the love and care towards my family, especially my baby girl Lucia.
Through the maternal and child health services like antenatal care and elimination of mother-to-child services offered at Alive Medical Services, Juliet has been able to have another baby that is HIV-negative. It with immense gratitude that we share such stories of hope that are only made possible by donors like you. And with your continued support, we can ensure that the little ones like Lucy are born HIV-free.
We speak for countless women and children whose lives you impact when we say thank you!
Brenda Joan Nasaazi is a young mother living with HIV in Namuwongo. She has a two-year-old son who is HIV negative as a result of Alive Medical Services’ elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV programme. Brenda started her journey of treatment while in junior school (primary three level) after the death of her mother. “When my mother died, my aunt brought me to Alive Medical Services (AMS) for testing because it was presumed that she had died as a result of HIV.”
“Even though I tested HIV positive, I did not understand what it all meant at the time. Auntie helped me to start on my treatment and adjust my lifestyle accordingly. She made sure that I got treatment from here without fail even though we were staying in Luweero.” – Luweero town is approximately 62 kilometres from Kampala.
Brenda recalls having been able to go to school, “I studied up to senior two. In my primary school, only my head teacher knew about my health status. My friends did not get to know, and I was somehow shielded from stigma.”
Brenda dropped out of school while in at the second level of high school having conceived a child. She decided to keep the pregnancy and sought medical attention like before. “I was not so scared. I came here and sought counselling from here and I was able to give birth to an HIV negative baby.”
23-year-old Brenda has not had any troubles getting her treatment and she credits AMS for having been so supportive as far as her well being is concerned. “Whenever I come here to get medicine, the health workers are also interested in my general well being and I get to share other personal problems with them. This reduces my stress and worries.”
Brenda is one of the young stigma free clients who is not afraid of sharing her story and experience with others. “I want to be confident always and to encourage all young people that they can still live a good life even after testing HIV positive.” The young mother has many dreams among which is to live for her son and work hard for him to live a good life, “I am working in a boutique right now, but I hope to work harder to sustain myself and my son’s needs.” Brenda separated with her son’s father, but she had already made him aware of her status before having the baby. “He was HIV negative and I was positive, but he said he did not mind my status. We separated because of some other issues.”
Smiling Brenda repeatedly speaks of her strong relationship with AMS, “I am so free with everyone here. I am happy with the services I receive from here. There is a very big difference between the life I live now and the one I used to live back in the village in Luweero.” Brenda is now staying in Namuwongo where she is closer, and it is easier for her to get treatment. We appreciate all our donors for contributing and supporting the wonderful call to build an empowered young generation, especially but not limited to adolescent girls and young women living with HIV and creating an HIV-free generation.
On Friday 23rd November 2018, Vivian Nabanoba was crowned Miss Y+ (Young HIV Positive) in the UNYPA (Uganda Network for Young People Living with HIV) Y+ Pageant at the Kampala Sheraton Hotel.
Vivian now 24 years of age lived a normal life, raised by her mother who managed to put her through school to attain an education through to higher learning at university. She also balanced school with her work at her mother’s restaurant. On a clear path to becoming successful in life, Vivian had nothing to worry about.
Vivian dated a young man for a long time and had always asked him to go and get themselves tested for HIV together, but all in vain. “If it wasn’t a football match it was always something else for him to not go,” Vivian shared.
“Two months down the road, I tested for HIV and turned out positive. It was the darkest day of my life. I did not know what to do, all I knew was that I was going to die a very painful death. All I pictured for my future was death and the things that I didn’t get the opportunity to do. I got on my knees and asked the doctor to check again. When I went home and saw my mum, I burst into tears and she instantly knew the results were not good,” Vivian painfully recalls.
The experience of stigma became a reality for Vivian when she found out that her then-boyfriend had let everyone at the university know of her HIV status. “Friends eluded me, no one spoke to me. I picked up some habits, I started to drink alcohol, going to bars all night, smoking cigarettes and subsequently stopped going to school but always lied to my mum that I was going.”
Fast forward, she meets another young man who really liked her, after one thing leading to the other, she gathered the courage to disclose to him about her HIV status. He agreed to get tested and recommended Alive Medical Services. “That was my introduction to AMS. The counsellors were nice and respectful and treated us with respect. I received an appointment, but I did not honour it but due to the good experience I had, I came back. I met a youth and children counsellor who introduced me to the Victors’ Club where I met young people who had the very same struggles that I had. They each had their own story and were happily living with them. I felt at home among them, and that was when I was initiated on antiretroviral treatment.” Vivian recalls.
Since then, Vivian went back to school to complete her degree, had her daughter who is HIV negative due to the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (EMTCT) and early infant diagnosis (EID) programmes here AMS.
I am grateful to Alive Medical Services and all I can say is thank you. I have learnt everything I know from here. This place has been home and will forever be home to me. I have developed a whole new meaning to life.
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