Celebrating the Love of Friends in a Loving World

Celebrating the Love of Friends in a Loving World
Red Roses for You, My Sweet Friends ... Total Love.

My Sweet Friends

My sweet friends,

We grow closer to each other;

When we interact together and share ideas;

The common faith that we share,

Binds our hearts in one accord.

For sweet friendships last a life time,

When built on mutual respect, humility and understanding;

Throughout each different season,

We find we are one in life.

Sweet friends are there through times of grief;

And times when hope is gone;

Always there with encouragement;

So we can carry on.

I thank the Lord for you,

My true and faithful friends;

To fondly speak with you, whether we agree or not,

On this, our beloved blog;

For sweet friends will stay, no matter what;

Giving support.

Together, our hearts and minds truly unite;

With the amazing love of sweet friends.

In the spirit of true friendship,

Best wishes, my sweet friends;

May the Lord bless you abundantly.

I remain, yours truly,

B.B. Bakampa.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

The Beauty of Knowing One's HIV Status

By Bakampa Brian Baryaguma

After a hectic and rather lonely morning on Wednesday, 29th July, 2009, I decided to take some time off and ride a bicycle along the Northern by-pass road. Having spent a long time without ridding a bike, especially over a long distance, I must say that my journey was highly adventurous. I veered off the Northern by-pass and headed to Nabweru Magistrates Court where I had briefly done my Clerkship in 2007 while still a student at the Law Development Centre, Kampala.

Adjacent to the court is the Nabweru Youth Centre that hosts a health facility that mainly deals with youth health issues like family planning, sexually transmitted diseases and other adolescent matters. I remembered that I had never known my HIV status before, despite the numerous advertisements running in the media, courtesy of the Ministry of Health and many other organisations, both local and international, calling upon youth like me to test for HIV/AIDS. It occurred to me that all along I had not played my part in this noble campaign. I therefore decided to be man-enough and go for the HIV test.

A beautiful lady counselor did a good job of urging me to accept whatever results came out of the test before taking a blood sample from my right arm. After just about five minutes, my results were ready and as expected, I was told that I am HIV negative. She cautioned me to continue living responsibly and reminded me to test again at least two more times every after three months to ensure that I am completely free from the virus. Much as I am convinced that this may not be necessary––for I have consistently shunned sexual relations in all my 23 years––I shall nevertheless oblige because in matters of HIV/AIDS, one can never be sure unless they have been fully tested. After all, HIV can be contracted through such other means than sex. I believe that the ability to control and resist sexual desires is what distinguishes real men and women from boys and girls.

I now live a more relaxed life, with peace of mind free from suspicion and insecurity; not only because I tested negative but also because I know that my courage is a positive contribution to humanity in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This is the beauty in knowing one’s HIV status. I believe in the possibility of having an HIV free generation and I am well aware that it has to begin with me.

I appeal to my fellow youth out there to be firm and test for HIV. There is neither anything to lose nor to be afraid of. Knowing you have HIV is not the end of the world for you. If the five Ugandan women testifying in the book I DARE TO SAY can live positively, responsibly and productively after knowing they have HIV/AIDS, then why not you? The Uganda government, despite its many glaring failures, has achieved a lot in the area of reproductive health care working in conjunction with the numerous Non Governmental Organisations. Service assistance and information about youth health matters is widely available free of charge. This is an opportunity we should take advantage of.

Most importantly, we should endeavour to delay sex until marriage and if we should have it, then do so with the help of a condom because sex comes with consequences and responsibilities. Contrary to the popular but misguided belief, there is a lot to gain in maintaining one’s virginity.