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She triumphed over the obstacles associated with being born HIV-positive

Agatoni [a pseudonym] is a 25-year-old woman who lives in the Busasamana sector of Nyanza District. She was born with HIV and became aware of her status after completing primary school. Confident in herself, she successfully finished her secondary education and awaits university enrollment.

In an exclusive interview with KURA, she discussed her life, particularly after learning she was infected with HIV.

She said, “I found out I had HIV at the age of 15, just as I was entering secondary school. I was born with the virus, and learning this initially made it difficult for me. I took some time to think about the life I had led and decided not to despair but to take my medication properly so I could continue my education and achieve my dreams.”

She notes that she did not experience much social ostracism in Rwandan society because many did not know about her HIV status. After finishing high school, she is determined to pursue university studies to achieve her dreams.

She explained, “When a person takes their medication properly and eats well, the virus does not disrupt their life; you can be completely healthy and encounter no problems.”

Agatoni mentioned that young people living with HIV face challenges, including discrimination at work and in school, although this is not widespread and is only done by certain individuals.

She said, “Sometimes when you apply for a job somewhere and they hear you have HIV, they think it’s a serious issue that you couldn’t handle, and they start to ostracize you. What I would ask is that they stop assuming that a person with HIV is incapable because they can do any job.”

Agatoni believes that accepting yourself and adhering to the doctor’s orders, even if you have HIV, does not prevent personal or familial advancement. She has set a goal to excel in her studies and be a pillar of support for her family.

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