John B.'s story
John Bichunda’s wife died of HIV/AIDS in 2005. As John’s health started to deteriorate due to undiagnosed HIV, he became embittered by his pariah-status and feared for the futures of his five children.
When AMREF’s medical team arrived in Kyampogola, Uganda, as part of our Integrated HIV, TB and Malaria Services program, local health workers directed them to John. He remembers that, "by the time AMREF reached me, I was bedridden. I had given up on life.” He admits that,
"When the AMREF village volunteers visited my home I gave them a cold reception. I thought they were interfering in my private life, just like many other people who had come to my house only to mock me the next day in the entire village. This really stigmatized me. I was therefore skeptical about the intentions of any visitor.”
AMREF’s doctors were persistent, paying John frequent visits to encourage him to take advantage of HIV counseling and testing survived. Eventually, John agreed. AMREF’s staff diagnosed him with HIV and started him on an anti-retroviral therapy regimen.
Under the supervision of Teresa Tibebuuza, an AMREF counselor, John has made tremendous progress: "[I am an] active member of society. My strength has been restored,” and because AMREF referred him to National Agricultural Advisory Services, “I grow food and rear animals for my family.”
Because of “the HIV/AIDS sensitization carried out in the community," John explains, “I am no longer discriminated against in the community, but rather seen as a normal person…My family is happy, the children are glad that my health has improved and they are in school with the support of AMREF. But most of all, they are conscious of HIV/AIDS. I believe they will manage to overcome the AIDS scourge since they have seen the trouble I am going through.”
The main aim of the Integrated HIV, TB and Malaria Services program is to create a local and national model to deal with HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria collectively - providing effective and efficient health care.
Read more about how AMREF helps to fight disease.