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.
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