Helping patients live positive. The IRCU experience
18 year Nakigozi Mary (not real names) is HIV positive. Nakigozi was happy she had found a man who would love her no matter her status. But the happiness was short-lived. The moment Nakigozi a resident of Kasaka Village, Nakyenyi Sub-county in Lwengo district, opened up to her lover that she was HIV positive, his attitude towards her changed, and that day was the last she ever saw of him. He vanished never to return. Nakigozi confesses that ‘’ my heart was torn to pieces, I loved that man …he had given my life a new meaning but I decided not to worry so much for the sake of my unborn baby’’
But that was just the beginning of her long suffering; a few months after the break up, Nakigozi realized she was pregnant. At that time, Nakigozi lived with the already impoverished grandmother who agreed to take care of her. ‘’ Sometimes I would fail to get food yet I was pregnant and on ARV’s, I would only eat if we managed to get food, it was very difficult for me, I thought I would die with my baby inside me.’’ She recounts with teary eyes.
But with the help of Buddu Social Development Association (BUSODA) a Faith Based Organization (FBO) and a USAID funded project supported by the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU), Nakigozi pulled through her ordeal. Besides the messages on HIV prevention and counseling provided by BUSODA staff, Nakigozi was connected to Masaka Referral Hospital where she was put on the Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission (PMTCT) program.