Vivian Nabanoba, the Miss Y+ Plus 2018/19 has told fellow adolescents that having HIV does not mean the end of life.
Nabanoba, 24, made the remarks at the Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) Summit organized by Ministry of Health in Kampala.
The Miss Y+ pageant is organized by the Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV (UNYPA) for young girls living with the HIV/AIDS Virus.
The network works toward empowering young people to fight against stigma and discrimination that are directed towards people living with the virus.
Nabanoba says that she works hard to make sure that every young person knows how to fight stigma.
“Having the virus does not mean the end of life. Like you look at me, I look very well, I don’t feel like I am sick,” she said.
Speaking to ChimpReports Nabanoba said she contracted the virus through sexual intercourse with her ex-lover who she didn’t know was infected.
“I used to ask him to take a test with me but he always gave excuses. He’d change the subject every time. I didn’t want to bother him because I was blinded. I thought I was in love. By the time I remembered to go and test myself I was already infected,” she narrates
In the early days of her contraction, Nabanoba says life became very difficult, but kept easing up gradually.
She also says she is still in touch with the man that infected her.
“We still chat on the phone. Even if I hate him, it would not change the fact that I am already positive.”
She says she later found another man with whom she has a child but the two separated as well.
Now she endeavours to help fellow young people to protect themselves from acquiring the virus and counsel those with the virus on how to live a positive life.
Luckily, she says, new lover and their 4-year-old daughter did not contract the virus from her.
Nabanoba says she initially didn’t tell her lover about her status, which she now regrets.
“It was a very bad thing that I did not to tell him in the first place. I regret it because I personally don’t want to live with the burden of guilt because obviously someone is going to say you killed me. I don’t want to go through that my entire life,” she added
Astonishingly, even after her lover got to know that she was infected and he was negative, he never thought about leaving her.
“I later told him that I was sick. He asked me to go to the hospital for treatment because he thought I had caught a usual illness. I said no, I have HIV. Again he didn’t believe me.
“We went to the hospital, did a confirmatory test and results showed that he was negative and I was positive. The nurse secretly told him to leave me, but he came and told me what the nurse said. He said he was going to stay with me anyway.”
Later, she says, they started planning ways of living together since he opposed condoms. They eventually visited a counsellor who advised her to always take her medicine to suppress the viral load to enable him not to contract the virus.
Their relationship however, suffered strain related to other matters and they eventually ended it.
Speaking about medical workers and other people that do not embrace discordant relationships, Nabanoba says she would not blame them because they are not informed and therefore need to be educated.
She adds that HIV persons face challenges of stigma and discrimination from people around them.
“When people get to know that you are HIV positive, they think you are dead”
She advises young people not to engage in any sexual intercourse with people they don’t know their statuses, and also calls on Adolescents to get tested and know their statuses and those who cannot abstain to use condoms.