Its twenty years since re-known Ugandan musician Philly Bongoley Lutaaya went public about his sero status. It is about the same time that Beatrice Aremo Asasira started suspecting that she was HIV positive. Today is the World Aids Day and Aremo now recounts how the virus was perceived then and today.
Aremo now a peer leader for women says a lot has changed but the stigma against people living with HIV/Aids still hangs on in society. According to Aremo in 1988, many people who had caught the virus claimed they had been bewitched or cursed by their aunties.
Aremo however says many HIV/Aids infected people then did not open up because of the fear of stigmatization.
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Aremo recalls that even her husband who passed away in 1989 always claimed the rash on his hands was a result of mosquito bites he sustained during a jamboree. Later her sister a nurse in Mbuya advised her not to suspend having sex with her husband.
Aremo says she took ten years before she accepted to be tested though she always suspected she was HIV positive. While some people were sympathetic to her condition, Aremo says many others disregarded her to the extent that even her suggestions in meeting were rejected.
She says people always reminded her how they thought she was not in her normal senses while others openly told her she was about to die. Aremo has been on anti-retroviral drugs