Most people with HIV who come out and tell others, get a big surprise!

They get love and comfort. It stops the whispering and stigma (see page 3). It also makes it easier to get the medicine you must have such as Septrin and TB treatment.

Inspiration Corner
Hey, Straight Talkers! You can win a copy of Purple Hibiscus, a beautiful novel by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie. She wrote it when she was just 23. Send a story, written like a novel, to PO Box 22366 Kampala.

08 March 20 14 No.2 Vol.

Disclosure sets you free
n February 2006, Straight Talk wrote about Proscovia, a student of Rock High School in Tororo who is living with HIV . Do you remember? Since then we kept in contact with Proscovia and in February we decided to see her again. So we travelled to Tororo. First we met Mr Matanda Silver, her deputy headmaster. He said that there were other students with HIV in the school, but Proscovia was the only one who had "gone public". Then we met Proscovia herself, now in S6 and offering HEG and Divinity. She told us that when she disclosed her HIV status to the world, her life changed forever for the better. Here is her story. Many people rushed to me after seeing my photograph and story. They asked me questions, like: 'Prossy, was that you in Straight Talk? What made you expose yourself like that? At first, I found the attention too much. Later, I got courage

e This year th ing rk world is ma 25yrs s wa since HIVed discover

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and openly told them that I was the one. I told them I wanted to let other people know that someone can live with HIV like any other chronic sickness. I got more friends After that Straight Talk, many people showed me care. Even those who did not talk to me before started greeting me. They do not want to see me lonely. I have become popular. I freely mix among other students whether at school or at the hostel. No more name calling Before my story, CDC staff who

brought me drugs always attracted attention. Children would say: 'TASO has come'. This made me feel uneasy. But now I face no problem like that. I take ARVS openly I used to take my drugs secretly. Sometimes I would even miss doses. But now that everybody knows I have HIV, I take them in the open. The teachers also became more interested in me. They joke with me a lot. I think they just like to make me happy. All this attention makes me feel loved. Some would tell me: 'Why didn’t you tell us before?"

"A ft er th at St ra ig ht Ta lk , I got more love an d ca n ta ke my ARVs op en ly "

Hope for the future I got the courage to become open after counseling from TASO and Centre for Disease Control (CDC). There was a time when I never imagined talking freely about my HIV status. I worried about death and felt people did not like me. In fact, one day in 2005, I took an overdose. I had heard that the Anti Retro Virals are strong and thought if I took many, they would kill me faster than AIDS. I took 20 tablets when I was supposed to take only 3. I was surprised that I did not die. Now that has changed. I am a different person, with hope for the future.

Says Proscovia's friend Juliet: "At times she would talk like has given up, but I would tell her that many people out there have similar problems."

"Disclosure" is when you speak out something important to someone. Proscovia disclosed through Straight Talk that she had HIV. The consequences were good. She got new friends and more love. She also feels relieved that she does not have to keep her HIV status a secret any more.

Having HIV does not mean that you are immoral
Dr Stephen Watiti of Mildmay Centre is a prominent doctor working in HIV He is also living . with HIV himself. Here are his wise words. urge Straight Talkers, who have lost their parents or just their mothers to test for HIV. Every person above 15 can test for HIV without the consent of their parents or guardians. If you are below 15, you can go to test at Naguru Teenage Centre in Kampala, Gulu or Kitgum Youth Centres or any other place. "

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Having HIV does not mean you are immoral. Many children are born with it. Knowing your status helps you to look after yourself well. You need counseling if you have HIV. Learn how to live with it Many people have dangerous diseases like diabetes. They have accepted them and learnt to live with them. Having HIV is like having diabetes, except that you can transmit it to others.

There are many children with HIV who have grown into adults. Some have realised their dreams! There are about 100,000 young people living with HIV in Uganda. But only about 10% or 10,000 of them are receiving treatment with ARVs. They all need love and care and not stigma."

2Straight Talk, March 2008

I cannot pass HIV to anyone
For this Straight Talk, we thank the Paediatric Infectious Diseases Clinic at Mulago. PIDC introduced us to many young people living with HIV. Read the stories of these young people who did not mind going public. How brave is that?
whisper when they saw me. Children used to call me musujja (fever). In S5, I got herpes zoster (kisipi). I did not know what it was. The head teacher sent me home for treatment. I came back before the wounds healed. He was angry with me, but I told him I wanted to study. In all the suffering, I never lost the love for studies. Difficult life In my S4 vacation, I tried to get a job at a university library. I wanted money to pay my fees. The lady incharge denied me the job when I told her I was sickly. why he had done this to me. But the counselors helped me to accept it. My life In 2007 I enrolled at PIDC. I was very weak and was put on ARVs. I was told ‘This is your life’. Since I joined PIDC, my life has changed. I have got a family. Life goes on What hurts me most is that many people knew that I had HIV but they never told me. I live my life to the full and do not let people put me down. I have a boyfriend. He is HIV positive too. I cannot pass the virus onto someone else. We plan to get married and adopt children who are suffering because of HIV. To stay healthy, I laugh away the stress and this increases my CD4 count. In 2007 my mum fell sick and she even got TB. She tested positive. Now she consults me on the medicines and how they are taken. I plan to be a child counselor to help other children the way I have been helped."

Our first interview is with Princess Nooriat Kisitu, 21, a student at Makerere Institute for Social Development, RVs Counselling and "I love my A Guidance. d take them

"I am the first born in a family of four. As a child I was sickly. In 1999, Dad fell sick. He rarely fell ill, so we were worried. Somehow he got better, and we thought he would be OK. But he later died.

without . My complaining s a boyfriend, h HIV."

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Difficult life at school At school my sickness was too much for my headteacher who took me for an HIV test. But he did not tell me the results. I faced a lot of stigma from my teachers. They would

I nearly died In 2006, I was rushed to Mulago. When I got back to my senses, a counselor prepared me for an HIV test. I could not believe that I was positive. I was a virgin. I cried. I tested again When I was discharged, I tested again. I was still positive. I asked God

My boyfriend is HIV negative...
Like other young people, adolescents with HIV fall in love. But they do not always fall in love with another person with HIV. They may fall in love with a person who does NOT have the virus. So what should they do? They need to tell their partner that they have HIV. But that is not easy. Their friend, like anyone entering a relationship, should also seek to know their HIV status. But do they? We met Irene Namuyiga, 20, at PIDC. She said she wanted to use Straight Talk to tell her boyfriend that she has HIV. Here is her story.

couselling course. I have a boyfriend who is HIV negative. He does not know that I am positive. I have not had sex with him. But I would like to take this opportunity to let him know my status. I just want to tell him that I love him so much. I know it might be difficult for him but I love him. Youth, when you see nice looking people, do not fall on them without knowing their status. Test before you commit yourselves to sex."

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grew in a family of seven. My two brothers and mum died of AIDS. My stepmother mistreated me but I thought that was how step mothers behave. When I went to boarding school, we had to climb stairs. I would feel tired. I lost weight. My veins turned blue. The doctor suggested that I test for HIV. The results were given to my dad who just

oppor tell my d that I boyfrien . " have HIV

stared at them without a word. When I asked him the problem, he just kept staring. I grabbed the paper a n d saw the results. Dad started to cry, and I had to console him. I told him I would take my drugs, but he kept crying and died ke this "I ta of shock two weeks later! ity to tun Due to PIDC, I am back on my feet with strength. I take my drugs and am on a YMCA guidance and

Young people with HIV have sexual feelings
Be frank to save your partner
y name is Dr Sabrina Kitaka. I work with adolescents at PIDC. Of course, young people with HIV have sexual feelings towards the opposite sex. Some are having sex. We had a situation where a boy, 16, with HIV and an HIV negative girl of 20 were in love. The boy approached us because the girl wanted sex. The girl knew that the boy was positive, but she was still willing to stay in the relationship. In this case the boy was frank and was able to save his partner.

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We help young people with HIV to be responsible about their own lives and the lives of others. Through sex, they can re-infect themselves and infect others. Young people at PIDC debated and concluded that "HIV should stop with me". I encourage you to have friendship but a safe one. Falling in love is normal, but it does not mean intercourse. Delaying sex even when you are above 18 is good for you. If you cannot, please use condoms.

Do not be lonely. Find fellow youths to share with. Peer counselling is good. Remember the 6 Hs: • Hope for the future • Celebrate Happy times like your birthdays • Cope with Hard times • The Hand of God in your lives • Your Heritage • Your Home.

If you have HIV please be frank to your boy or girlfriend.

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3 Straight Talk, March 2008

My parents did not intend to infect me
The boys we interviewed at PIDC were much shyer than the girls. Only one wanted to be public about having HIV. That is OK. We respect that. But it also puts a lot of strain on them. Keeping a secret is a stress in itself. The boys all mentioned stigma. Read the article at the bottom of the page to understand stigma and why we need to fight it.
Boy 1 "My parents died when I was young. In 2005 my uncle brought me to PIDC because I was sickly. I tested HIV positive. I was not surprised. I had suspected that my parents died of AIDS. I do not blame them. It was not their intention to infect me. Only three friends know my status. No one at home knows except Uncle. I fear people will stigmatise me. Right now I have no girlfriend, but I would wish to have one. I would tell her that I have HIV. I go to church. I also visit internet cafés. I like knowing about musicians, their life styles and HIV status. Boy, St Margaret College, Makerere Boy 2 "I lost my mother and sister. We are now only three: my father, my brother and myself. I learnt I had HIV in 2004. My father took me to a

nd "My girl frie IV. ave H does not h o much. I love her s o I cannot d at anything th " her. would hurt

health center. After getting the results, I did not get angry. I have a girlfriend. She is HIV negative. She does not know that I have HIV. I do not think it is the right time for me to tell her. I love her so much, and I have never had sex with her. I do not want to do anything that would cause her to get HIV. One time a classmate found me at the clinic. She told other students that I have HIV. Most did not believe her. I faced stigma when I was young. I had a stepmum who did not want me to mix with her children. I thought she did not want me to play with girls. I am on ARVs. I do not feel bad about them because if I do not take them I will die. I want people to know that being positive is not a crime. HIV does not discriminate. Let us have human hearts towards each other. I want to be a lawyer. Boy, 15, Kampala Hill Academy Boy 3 I am the first of three children. We all have HIV. My sisters and I

Cyprian Musisi 17, Mukono started on Septrin in 2006. We live with our mother who is also infected. Our father died two years ago. The whole village knows we have HIV and they do not treat us any different from other people. We dig to get food and other requirements. I am in S2, but my sisters are at home due to lack of fees. Cyprian Musisi, 17, Mukono

We stigmatise with words and body language. Stigma makes people with HIV hide their status. One of those people could be your next sexual partner.

Di ctionary
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case) has because (in this en Christian YMCA: Young M Association r a long time Stare: to look fo ot knowing N Unconscious: around you ing on what is go

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Stigma: the biggest challenge in HIV
tigma is shown in the way we talk about and treat people, such as name calling, teasing, isolating, blaming or neglecting them. HIV has stigma because we fear infection and death. We may also be ignorant about how HIV is transmitted. Sometimes we wrongly judge those with HIV as sinners, womanisers or prostitutes. Stigma creates conditions that fuel the spread of HIV. It prevents people from testing or going for PMTCT (prevention of mother to child transmission).

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Know your body:
The immune system
The immune system refers to the ability of the body to defend itself against infection. When HIV enters the body, the virus infects the CD4, a type of white blood cell. White blood cells fight disease. As HIV multiplies, it destroys CD4 cells. They become too few to fight infection. A healthy person has between 600 and 800 CD4 cells in every ml of blood. But when the CD4 count falls below 200, a person with HIV starts falling sick. At this point, he or she is said to have AIDS and can be given ARVs to boost the CD4 cells. HIV

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tigma intensifies the suffering of people living with HIV and their families. It leads to denial, shame, loneliness, depression, anger, selfpity, alcoholism and family quarrels. People actually die because of stigma. Deaths from AIDS are preventable with ARVs. But stigma prevents many people from getting HIV care like TB treatment or ARVs. Imagine, a preventable death is not prevented because of stigma!

Straight Talk
Club Activity
Discuss as a club. Would you say or do something which hurts someone just because that person has HIV? Imagine you have HIV. How would you feel if someone treated you in such a way? What can you do as a club to stop HIV stigma in your school?

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ear of being identified as having HIV creates a society where people are unwilling to learn or disclose their HIV status. They can easily infect other people because they fear to tell others that they have HIV.

Should you ask? When should you tell? If you are in a relationship, who should raise the issue of HIV? The person who is infected? Or the other person? Send your true experiences to PO Box 22366 Kampala and

Quiz!
WIN a T SHIRT.

CD4 cells

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4 Straight Talk, March 2008

Dear

for you. Then your parents can tell his parents. You can also report him to the LCs or police.

Friendship
We have been friends with girls

in the neighborhood for long. But now their relatives want us to end the friendship. Drilega R, Monsignor SS, Richard, families are normally protective of their girls. They may

suspect that your friendship can end up in sex. Reflect on how you behave with those girls. Respect their families. What causes itching of the scrotum and anus? LG, S4, Busolwe Students’ Centre, Butaleja. This could be a bacterial skin infection or worms. Bathe at least once a day and change your panties. You should also deworm regularly. If it persistent, visit a health centre. My friend has a discharge which causes pain around the vagina. She is a virgin. Jevena K, 15, S3, Holy Dove Vocational SS Jevena, girls normally secrete fluids which naturally clean the vagina, but it should not cause pain. Your friend needs to see a medical person for better help. Advise her to avoid sharing personal materials like pants, basins or towels. This can transmit the infections. I had sex. Now I have lost weight. Could I have HIV? NB, S3, Busia SS Dear, do not judge yourself. Take an HIV test to know the truth. Also talk to someone you trust so that you can be free from worries. I am saved. I refuse to join bad groups and attend fellowship everyday but my friends say I am stupid. Matsiko E, 18, Bishop Ruhindi HS, Rukungiri Matsiko, I like your character. Most young people your age are teased. Continue with what you decided. Make friends with people who support your positive way of life. Counsellor: Pastor Peter Mugabi Kyambogo College School

SYFA
P. O. Bo x 22 36 6 6 P. O. Bo xP22 36A A M A K A M P A LL A K

Sex demands
When I ask my girlfriend for sex, she keeps changing dates. C K, S2, 17, Excel HS, Ntungamo Your girlfriend loves you and does not want to hurt you. Contain your sexual feelings instead of putting pressure on her. I have a European friend. She asked me to have sex with her for school fees. I do not want to do it yet I want to study. My parents are forcing me to go in for the sex because of the sponsorship. JS, Serwanga Lwanga Memorial SS, Kalangala This is sexual exploitation. You can get HIV, and having sex for material things can damage you emotionally, spiritually and academically. Tell your parents that you cannot work for money that way. Let them find other means to support you. And you need a job in the evenings, during weekends and holidays. Good luck. I am scared of a guy who disturbs me when my parents send me to buy something. I am a girl of few words and just run away to avoid his nonsense. Katusiime S, S3, Namungona HS Katusime, keep it up! If he finds you in an open place, do not run away. Stand firm and tell him off. Tell your parents that he is making life difficult

Entebbe Parents SS St Club: Say no to mistreatment of people living with HIV. Let us remember Philly Lutaya’s words: “Today it is me, tomorrow it is someone else.”

Members of Alito SS ST Club in Lira. They wrote: “Abstinence is our motto”

Advice to DP
I had a girlfriend with whom I never had sex. Now this girl is not happy with me. She writes me abusive letters. She wants us to resume the relation-ship but I do not want. We are in the same school and I do not know what to do. OP Soroti SS. , Love is only built on patience not on threats or abuses. I would love her as a sister. Kiyemba Davis, 19, Kinoni Integrated SS, Masaka I would call her and humbly inform her that I would not resume the relationship with her. I would be

open. I would not abuse her. She would get embarrassed for abusing me. Saire P MUK , I would simply keep to myself and my other friends. This would give her time to sort herself out. It would also help me not to tell her lies. Rachael O. Asin, Kampala.

Advise J

My class teacher wants to love me. He told me if I refuse, he will go against me and tell all the teachers that I am not disciplined. What should I do? J. Masindi HS

Send your advice to Straight Talk, P.O. Box 22366 Kampala. Best advice win T-Shirts

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a Twogere Kanewti the
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