“Positive Living is About Restoring Hope to People Living with HIV/AIDS”
A Positive Living Success Story
Namirembe Margret is one of many HIV positive clients who benefited greatly from KIDA's Positive Living program. She is not afraid to share her HIV status publically and give testimonies about her ability to live "positively" with the infection. She was diagnosed more than 10 years ago and is on antiretroviral therapy. Her testimonies at KIDA's drama shows give credibilty and encouragement to the listeners about getting tested and accessing KIDA's counseling services. Margaret and her family are doing well. She is a productive farmer and even has a part time job with KIDA.
Positive Living Workshops at the KIDA community center are periodically offered for adults and children who are HIV positive. These seminars are widely advertised in the community. Attendance has often been as high as 280 at a given workshop. Peer testimonies from people living positively are a great encouragement to those newly tested clients. Various topics are covered: nutrition, mental and physical health, spiritual health, sanitation, drug adherence, understanding of the factors that affect HIV viral load, prevention of mother to child transmission, income generation, better farming, making wills, saving and borrowing, entrepreneurship. Children often have separate workshops that give children who are HIV positive a peer group for discussion and playtime. The sessions, which include caregivers, cover nutritional and health topics with role-plays that stress the importance of adherence to their treatment.
As soon as a man, woman, or child tests HIV positive, he or she can register as a KIDA client and have free access to KIDA services: educational seminars, support groups, ongoing counseling, treatment at the clinic, monthly home visits and access to antiretroviral drugs if certain medical criteria are met. Each client and his or her family are offered opportunities for vocational training, entrepreneur training, microcredit loans and adult literacy classes. Women get together at the center and weave baskets and make jewelry for selling at the market. Vulnerable children of positive clients can apply for school scholarships and are provided with school supplies for primary and secondary school. All of these programs are financially supported by the Friends of Ruwenzori Foundation.