Thursday, August 7, 2008

I am called Ayoo Proscovia [part one/four]

The following is a first person story written by IRMA advocate Ayoo Proscovia. Click here to check out her Friendly Rectal Microbicide Advocate bio.

This is the first of 4 installments which we will run between

today and next Friday - August 15.

I am called Ayoo Proscovia, a 44 year old widow with 4 children and 2 grandchildren and 4 orphans/dependents who are HIV positive and of ages 11-24 years old. I am a teacher by profession. I have 1st Degree in Education from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. I hold a Diploma in teacher Education(Tutor)and have a certificate in HIV/AIDS counseling. I am a National Award winner for contributing to the fight against Stigma and Discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda (2005).

I was appointed Headmistress of a grade 1 school in Tororo district, Uganda in 1998. I stopped performing the duties of headmistress on 15th-August-2003 suddenly. To date am on streets without a job. I have not been deployed to any school at all. I have been left in suspense for all this long and this has prompted me to share my experiences/testimony with colleagues so that together we might find an everlasting solution to problems of Stigma and Discrimination against HIV positive people especially professionals (Teachers).

I tested HIV positive in 1997. I was prompted to take the test because by then there was a lot of talk about HIV in the media and allover the place. I was appointed a leader of girl-guides in my district - how would I talk to the youths in my group when I did not know my own status?

I was in a polygamous marriage, my husband was a driver and unlike teachers these people are mobile and they marry from one taxi stop to the other. So I was the Nth wife- meaning I didn't even know my number amongst the other many wives my husband had.

My husband was a drunkard and such a cruel man that we never had any moments to discuss any such issues as multiple marriages/relationships. In fact, he was an alcohol addict. He was never sober at anytime.

After getting HIV positive results, I was referred to The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO) Tororo where I was registered as a client so as to get support services. I tested before my husband and kept quiet with the results for six months while refusing to share a bed due to anger in me and the cruelty of my husband-I only mentioned to him my results when he started showing the rashes, diarrhoea and hospitalised-for 4 weeks that was 6 months after I had tested.

I also take ARVs provided by CDC in Tororo Centre and I have taken them since 1st September 2003.

Read the next installment of "I am called Ayoo Proscovia"

on Saturday, August 9.

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