Jackline is 19, and she recently moved from Bulowooza village to Buwasa Village with her husband and 18-month-old son.
When she lived in Bulowooza, Jackline brought her son to a HIV-Malaria outreach event hosted by UVP, where they were both tested for HIV. But she never expected to receive a follow up call explaining that she and her son had tested positive.
Jackline was shocked, and in denial. She worried about the stigma attached to an HIV positive diagnosis and what her new neighbors would think of her family. She was also distressed by the thought that she and her son would have to take medicine for the rest of their lives.
At first, Jackline was unwilling to seek or accept care, and missed a follow-up appointment. But through persistent and dedicated outreach, and a counseling session, she decided to start antiretroviral therapies (ART).
Jackline doesn’t feel comfortable sharing her HIV status with her husband yet, but she’s made a lot of progress towards accepting her diagnosis with support from UVP counselors.
Now that she knows more about HIV and ART, she’s no longer so afraid.
“ARVs are really lifesaving drugs”
For Jackline and many other Ugandans living in rural areas, access to free HIV testing, counseling, and medication is key to living a long and healthy life.
“If it was not for UVP, I and my child would not have known [our] status, and [we] would not have got early treatment,” Jackline said.
By Harriet Nakayiza, Program Manager
*Jackline’s story is shared with her consent. She declined to be photographed.