Barbara Kemigisa was four years old when her parents separated, she had to live with her grandmother. Unfortunately, her uncles started sexually abusing her at 6 until she was 11 years old.
As a result of this, she developed a lifestyle of drinking alcohol and smoking while having sex with multiple partners. Since her father didn’t understand what was happening to her, it strained their relationship and this made her leave home and sought refuge on the streets of Kampala, in Uganda.
During this process, Barbara got pregnant and when she went for antenatal care, she found out she was HIV positive. She gave birth to a baby girl, whom she was forced to breastfeed because she could not afford formula. This exposed her daughter to HIV and both mother and daughter have been taking the antiretroviral drug (ARVs).
Today, Barbara Kemigisa is an HIV activist in Uganda, who is passionate through Pill Power Uganda, an initiative that recycles empty ARV bottles into artifacts to engage, support, and inspire youth living with HIV and to use their stories to change the face of HIV and AIDS in Uganda.
She trains people living with HIV/Aids to recycle empty ARVs tins into useful objects to enable them make money. She empowers these people to use the artifacts as sensitising tools.
Recycling ARV bottles into artifacts is a way of encouraging young people to take their drugs and it has helped their adherence to the drug.
Few days ago, Barbara shared pictures of her family taking the antiretroviral drugs on her Facebook page, while encouraging people to live a safe life.
“My babies and I displaying our burden of living with HIV. Kourtney 9years 11 tablets, Trevor 17 years 20 tablets, Dauglas 22 years 3 tablets, Barbara 32 years 3 tablets daily. If you still have a chance and choice to stay safe, please do because it isn’t fun swallowing these pills everyday especially for the kids born with the virus”, she wrote.
Check out the pictures below
The family took their message to a public place in their bid to educate more people on HIV/AIDS.
Asked why she allowed her children take part in the campaign, Barbara said,
“ We have placed unnecessary stigma on HIV and that’s why we feel children need to be left out. I am creating a new generation that looks at HIV in their perspective not the world’s. They are passionate about ending it because they know what they go through. My nine year old has done independent TV shows without my guidance yet expressed herself fully. We simply have to raise children in a way they can defend themselves in all situations”.
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