Poor adherence to drugs nearly took Naluyiga’s life

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Lydia Naluyiga looks healthy. She is indebited to Kitovu Mobile for the HIV care accorded to her

Lydia Naluyiga looks healthy. She is indebited to Kitovu Mobile for the HIV care accorded to her

MASAKA. Lydia Naluyiga , is an HIV positive orphan. The 17- year- old contracted the virus from her mother and was enrolled on antiretroviral   therapy when she was barely five years. “Poor HIV drugs adherence had taken way my life , but Kitovu Mobile swiftly  intervened”

Living with her grandmother in Kindurwe Village , Kirumba Sub -County, Kyotera District, Naluyiga’s adherence was not due to lack of support from her guardian whose health was also weak due to advanced  age.

“My adherence was poor and this saw me develop  skin rushes and my general health started deteriorating ,” She reminisces.

Later, in 2012, her grandmother passed on, something she says worsened   her condition. “Poor health coupled with stress heaped on me , the death of my grandmother was a big blow to me because she was so  caring,” She says , adding

“By the time Kitovu Mobile counselors intervened, my viral load had gone extremely high. I was always falling sick. Everything was really bad on my side.”

But Naluyiga recalls how Kitovu Mobile lifted her out this situation which was life threatening.

Lydia Naluyiga says she wants to get skills in tailoring if she gets a sponsor

Lydia Naluyiga says she wants to get skills in tailoring if she gets a sponsor

The counselors from Kitovu Mobile picked her from Kindurwe and took her to Kabonera B Village, in Kabonera Sub -County, Masaka District, to stay   with another grandmother.

This saw her improve on adherence and contained her stress, which saw her viral load suppressed.

“I’m now looking healthy; it is even hard to tell that I’m HIV positive. This is why  I feel pity for the youth out there who simply engage in sex with their partners  without testing for HIV, first” She says

“My message to the fellow youth is that HIV is still rampant and they need to be vigilant about their life. But when they get the virus, they should ensure adherence to drugs. It was not my wish, but poor adherence nearly saw me lose my life had it not been Kitovu Mobile”

Since  her grandmother was also financially constrained, she  attained a bursary from Kabwoko Church of Uganda Secondary School, where she was given a vacancy  to study for free up to Senior Four , but when she reached Senior Three ,Naluyiga  says, “The head teacher halted the offer saying the school had got some  financial challenges and could no longer help me ”

This saw Naluyiga drop out of school. Unfortunately, she did not tell the organisation about her fate.

Mr Francis Sebula, the Kitovu Mobile Medic/HIV counselor in Kabonera says he knew a year later that Naluyiga had dropped out of school. “I knew about it when it was too late to intervene”

When life got harder after school, Naluyiga decided to start fending for herself.She  got a petty  job in a small eating joint in Kabonera Town where she works as a waitress.

But this is not a good job for a girl of Naluyiga’ age, she is exposed to a lot of challenges and as an adolescent and  something wrong may happen to her.

However, Naluyiga prays that she gets a sponsor and enroll her in a vocational   school where she can acquire skills in  tailoring or hair dressing.

“I can leave this   job and take on the offer, because this is not sustainable. All I want is to have skills to secure a bright future” She says

Fortunately, Mr Sebula  says he is in touch with the coordinator of DREAMS Project ,Mr Kenneth Godfrey  Lukyamuzi to see how Naluyiga can be assisted . “I am optimistic that she will get   enrolled and get skills in tailoring as she wishes . The good thing is that upon completion, Kitovu Mobile provide   such vulnerable girls with business startup kits”

DREAMS, which stands for Determined, Resilient , Empowered ,Aids-free, Mentored Safe Women  ,is also run by Kitovu Mobile. The project   enables   HIV infected teens and vulnerable orphans acquire hand-on skills.