Anitah lost both her parents and siblings to AIDS when she was only 4 years old. At 13 years old, after she started falling sick rather frequently, her guardians found out that she too had been born with HIV. She lost the will to live and thought it was a waste of time to continue with her education. She had to cope with being a teenager who was too old to be called a girl and yet too young to be called a woman and lived in fear that she too would die soon.
A year after she found out her HIV status, Anitah was taken to TASO where she was started on Septrin prophylaxis. While her health improved, her schoolmates began making fun of her and calling her “TASO Girl”. They went as far as curving out the words on her class chair. Her guardians and the counselor at TASO saw her through that very trying time.
At 16, Anitah was started on Antiretroviral Therapy when her CD4 was only 8. She had to swallow 8 pills a day. Her health greatly improved and with support from her guardians she completed her Secondary School and joined University where she completed a degree in Social Work and Social Administration. After which she did an HIV Counseling Course at TASO Training Center. She hopes to enroll for her Masters degree this year.
Today, Anitah is employed by TASO as a counselor and plays a very vital role in encouraging children and adolescents to adhere to their treatment. She is the acting Community Linkages Assistant in TASO Rukungiri, which means that she is in charge of the welfare of all the clients registered at the Center both at the facilitator and within the Community Drug Distribution Points. She is also a motivational speaker and activist.Anitah is one of the many brave women who have lived through stigma and discrimination from a tender age. We applaud her for showing courage amidst the pain and appreciate her guardians for all that they did to ensure that the four year old girl grew up to be a hero. If they had abandoned her because she is a girl and especially because she has HIV, then the world would have missed out on a great woman.