Who we are
Board Member Testimony
My whole family was tested on HIV in 2007. It turned out that I’m the only one who’s HIV positive. The only thing that came to my mind those days was to commit suicide, as I didn’t know how else to cope with the situation. But because of my siblings, I had to continue living. I decided to hide my HIV status from society. When people around me discovered that I’m HIV positive, to my surprise, they just took it like any other illness.
Today I’m happy and healthy; I started taking medication a few days after my diagnosis and I’m still following the doctor’s advice to take drugs regularly. Now I’m cool with my neighbors, friends and leaders. RRP+ is supporting me psychologically, financially and they are giving me training about HIV. So, let us unite our forces and fight against new infection of HIV in our societies.
I’m NZAMUKOSHA Marceline, I’ m 37 years old, I live in RUTSIRO District.
Before 1999, we lived a happily and lovely life with my husband but it didn’t long because in 1999 I thought I had a nightmare after being diagnosed and revealed that I’m HIV Positive; in a few months also my husband left me behind pregnant. Then my family members started to accuse me the death of my husband and started to violate my right on our assets which made me to enter in the courts in order to claim for my right. After my child reach to this earth I begun to think about our future; I decide to enter in an association to the support of my friends.
In 2003,our association became a member of RRP+ which became an opportunity for me to have training in different area related to HIV and also it encourages me to fell free for testifying in front of others that I’m HIV positive and share with the my experiences of living healthy with HIV. Therefore allow me to take this opportunity to ask the people who are infected and not; to think about this three things abstinence, fidelity and condom; please take them into consideration where is necessary; take your medicaments properly and follow the doctors’ advises; tomorrow will bring a better day.
I have diagnosed HIV positive in 2003 after the death of my husband at that instance I thought that I am going to die no matter what. I didn’t believe the doctor when he tells me I am going to be OK because the thing which floored in my ears was how am I going to reveal this in my family. So, I search the path which can heal me before telling my family everything; I started volunteering in HIV/AIDS education, support and advocacy. Firstly as a positive person, I want to make sure that HIV never happens to anyone else. We can’t prevent HIV by punishment, by stigma and discrimination. It’s only through building a safe, supportive and caring environment, that positive people like me can be visible in our community, to educate and advocate, to take better care of ourselves and our families.
Those actions reached to my family and become harder for them to accept it but slowly by slowly they have accepted value of my contribution as an HIV Positive woman to the society and also their acceptance of my positivity gives me wings and I started let others know my status so that they think about and make informed about the prevention and the impact of treatment to the person like me.
It probably sounds an odd thing to say, but HIV has enriched my life in different circumstances (economically, psychologically and politically). I really value life and take my medication regularly; now I am very healthy and strong as I have not yet progressed to AIDS. Right now I can make money and support my family and myself too. Therefore, you have to understand that HIV is life changing and it does not discriminate any one (old or young, woman or man, girl or boy, poor or rich). But it is manageable and most importantly, avoidable (Fidelity, Condom or abstinence); live and enjoy your life.
I decided to get an HIV test in 2003 when I found out my re-married pregnant wife was diagnosed HIV positive. When the doctor said that I’m HIV positive too, I felt so much pity for myself. As I didn’t show any symptoms of HIV, I thought the best option for me was to hide my illness. As I thought I wouldn’t live long anyway, I stopped working as a teacher and I started drinking and gambling a lot. Meanwhile I became very sick and I started taking HIV medication. This was the turning point in my life; after my recovery I decided no longer to hide my status. I started teaching again and I joined an association of people living with HIV where I started testifying in front of others.
The more I pushed surviving the more support I got. In 2006 I joined RRP+, who helped me a lot with psychological counseling, financial support and by bringing me in contact with others like me. Anytime you find yourself HIV positive don’t be shy because there many people out there that can help you and show you a better way to live; let us all make sure not to spread HIV among the people.
26 years have passed living with HIV. It was a very tough moment for me when my father told me that I’m HIV positive. I was still a young kid living in boarding school without knowing what happened in the outside world. I grieved a lot; I lost a lot of friends, colleagues and lovers. I often felt very lonely and it was very hard for me to take medication in boarding school. I tried my best to fight against self-stigma, thinking about how people look at me. Nowadays I’m healthy and strong and I’m able to testify among the other youth that I’m HIV positive. This helps me to acknowledge that living with HIV is as normal as any other illness.
When you have learnt the meaning of surviving, you cannot infect other people; let us prevent others to get infected with HIV; if you are a young man like me you have to avoid temptations (sex and drugs) in order to protect yourself and other for getting infected with HIV.
I’m KAMPORORO Assoumpta, a woman living with HIV and I live in Muhanga District.
I have diagnosed two times in 1998 and 2002, it was in a serious difficulty situation to get HIV test in our country those time. After I get a shocking enveloped answer says that I’m HIV Positive; you can’t imagine the beating of my heart and the shaking of my hands; a nurse came to me and cheering me up with a good counseling; I leave the hospital walking in the road without knowing where to go and what to do but I decide to reveal it to my best friend and my two elder sisters. In spite of continuing to be troubled by an unhealed illness, I choose to take medication and I started liking to follow a program of Radio Rwanda called “Tega amatwi wumvireho” which helped me a lot to accept my life condition.
I can’t tell you how powerful discrimination and stigmatization were in those time; whenever you pass the street a crowd of people surrounded you as if you were having a wedding ceremony. As times have passed my neighbors understood my life condition of being HIV Positive and my children too. Many NGOs have risen like RRP+ aiming to sensitize people about HIV. And also it encourages me to open my mouth and share with others my life and how I manage to live with HIV as RRP+ supported me with training, counseling and financially.
Now People living with HIV have an opportunity of receiving medication for free due to the effort of our government. So, Use the opportunity offered to you by the government.