My name is Apolot Florence and I am 35 years old, from the eastern part of Uganda in a district called Bukedea. I am HIV positive. When I realized I was HIV positive I became worried, and weak. The symptoms of HIV had begun appearing as a rash all over my body, a cough, and pain everywhere. After a year of my husband telling me that there was no problem and to forget it, I went for testing where they confirmed my fears.
I thought I was going to die very soon. I would stay indoors because there was nobody in the community who I could tell my status to after even my own relatives had rejected me. They said that they were not the ones who sent me to get this virus, so they would also not be the ones to cure me!
My family separated my plates, cups and wash basins fearing that I would infect them. They even decided to isolate me to a house away from theirs and dig a hole inside that house for me to defecate in so that I wouldn’t disturb them.
When the rainy season came with the cold they said I would surely die. When I began coughing, the people in the village were saying that I was not going to live more than a month. When I would hear such words I was very worried and had sleepless nights. It was one of these nights I decided to write a letter to my sister who was staying in Kampala. She arranged for me to come stay with her, and told me of Meeting Point International.
I came to MPI and found Aunt Teddy here. She welcomed me to come to a meeting with the other women. At first I was fearing to talk to the women because there were very many. Over time though I realized that I liked the singing, dancing and making beads. After some time Auntie Rose came and she welcomed me too. I told Aunt Rose about my status, and my children who were at home without school. Aunt Rose gave me the money to send the children to school, to resume treatment, and even the money for rent. After this I began feeling better, and at a certain point I thought I would travel back to village as I was strong enough to live without the support of Meeting Point. I was taking my medicine, though I had to travel far to the health center, but I saw that life had again become difficult. I said to myself, “what is the problem now?!” I realized that even though I was on my medication there was a big part of life that was different in the village, and that was that I had nobody to talk to about my problems or share my happiness. I realized that as much as the ARVs were helping me, it was still of no good without also having the love of others.
So as much as I thank Rose and Meeting Point for everything they have done, the greatest thing that I have been given is the love, peace, and a hope for life. I feel very fine now, and wish to tell my story to any other person who might be feeling as I was. This love is the greatest cure I have found!