Raised by My Aunties
Written by a PWV volunteer, Tracy.
My name is Tracy. I am a Ugandan by origin and my mother is an HIV doctor in Uganda.
I suppose my story is mainly about my family. I was raised by my aunties and this was because my parents were separated and re married, 3/6 of my aunties are living positive.
I grew up fearing and praying that no body among my loved ones lived positive due to it being connected to some evil and thus the stigma associated with it. I remember vividly some colleagues at school that had family members living positive and the trauma they got even though it was a family member was unbelievable. The laughing stalk, isolation and discrimination were the loudest.
It was hard to associate with them and this is because of ignorance back home it was connected to witchcraft or black magic.
All my life l have been feed, nursed and raised by people living positive and I never even knew. I guess this just explained the level of shame they had faced.
Sometimes my aunties at different times would fall gravely ill and family members would not disclose anything as it was always regarded as any other illness, which I understand.
Until one time I nursed my favorite aunt who was so sick and fortunately this time I was old enough to ask questions and push for answers. Only to find out she had lived positive all my life. On knowing this I quickly suggested to take her to my mum after all she was a specialist for this, with so much regret and disappointment my elders trashed my suggestions and stated that it was time and that I knew nothing.With so many secrets in the family as a child there is so little you can do back in Uganda.
As much as I fought and insisted all they did was lock me up and kept me away from her up till I could do nothing but watch my aunt die.
As that passed I devoted myself to working at my mother’s clinic to help in any way possible. There were campaigns like the circumcision that got me to invite my LGBTIQ friends especially the gay for the activity that I greatly believed in as one way of fighting and reducing on the spread of STIs. This was well achieved and brought me some sort of satisfaction.
Towards my time to leave the country I was then informed of the other people that were living positive and I tell you what, the list is too long to be honest I was hear broken.When I came as alone as you could possibly imagine I got my goals set and that was to serve to take care of others although sometimes I fell back due to instability with housing, job and others I still knew my goal at the back of my head and was waiting on the right time to jump on.
So but recently I got information from Uganda that one of my 3 Christian aunties was diagnosed and also pregnant which was good news because she was going to have a child finally. However she was too depressed and mentally unstable that she was in denial, believing for God’s miracle to cure which is not wrong but she refused to take medication so as I write we have a little boy living positive without a mother.
I am however lucky to be currently volunteering with LPV and PWV because I have been fulfilled. I know what it means to be abused, discriminated and become a topic due to our loved ones. I want it to STOP. We cannot help our loved ones if we are afraid. We cannot hold their hands if we think it’s contagious because it NOT. HIV is just another condition it’s not a punishment or sin.