The sky is the limit with Positive Living With HIV- Rebecca Musoke - A drama Group member - TASO Mulago
My name is Rebecca Musoke. I am 36 years old. Let me take a few minutes to share with you my life experience.
In 1990, I was in Senior Six and lived with my Aunt. She was unemployed, which led to many financial constraints at home. I often went to school hungry and could not afford breakfast or lunch at school. Upon returning home after classes, I did all the house work that one could think of in a poor family – you can imagine that kind of situation.
After experiencing such struggle for a long time, I decided to get a boyfriend. After all many of my peers had boyfriends and they were living a good life.
I practiced unprotected sex with my boyfriend and I found myself pregnant during my Senior Six vacation. I left my Auntie’s home and stayed with my boyfriend. I gave birth to a baby boy and had a good life with my boyfriend. I thought I had made the best decision. He supported me to pursue a Diploma in Stores Management at Nakawa College of Business Studies.
But before I could complete the course, my boyfriend fell sick, became bedridden and eventually died. His death marked the beginning of my suffering. I returned to my Father’s home deep in the village and because of the change of environment, I also started falling sick.
I was diagnosed with tuberculosis and the medical Officer advised me to go for Voluntary Counseling and Testing. Unfortunately, I turned out to be HIV positive, became afraid because I thought I was too young to contract HIV, and HIV was still only in Rakai.
I am grateful to the counselor who encouraged me to live positively with HIV by accepting my situation, having a balanced diet and protecting myself whenever I had sex in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies, re-infection and infecting others.
The counselor referred me to TASO, where for over 15 years now I have been receiving free counseling, care and medication. I started ARVs in November 2003 when my CD4 count had dropped below 200. But after taking ARVs for over five years, I now feel much better. I also disclosed my sero status to my family and friends.
With the support from TASO, I went back to school and completed a diploma in Social Work and Social administration. I also completed a certificate in HIV/AIDS Counseling at TASO Training Center. I have also recently graduated with an Honors Degree in Social Work and Social Administration at Uganda Christian University in Mukono.
Through Civil Society Funding, I was trained in sustainable livelihoods through small income generating activities. I make crafts like bags and red ribbons from beads, which I sell to earn a living.
In 2003, I decided to share my testimony to save lives by joining TASO Mulago Drama Group where we use music, dance, drama and testimonies to educate communities about HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment. My purpose of doing this is to help young girls to prevent them from going through my sorrows. I always advise them to stick to their studies and abstain until marriage.
I appeal to family members of people living with HIV/AIDS not to stigmatize or discriminate them – all we need is love, care and support.
To our donors, many thanks for supporting TASO to support us and for improving my life.