My name is Mariam and I live in Uganda. I’m a woman of 34 years old and I have three children, all of them girls. In 2008, one of my children died at the age of seven. She was the last born. After her birth in 2001, I was suggested to have an HIV test and then I found out that I was living with HIV. At that time I was staying at my brother’s place together with my children. My brother started to chase me and my daughters away from his house, saying: ‘I’m tired of you all. You better go back to your mother even though you are HIV positive. I don’t want you to die in my house’. I was very worried and cried so much, because I didn’t know where to go with my children. Also my mother didn’t want us to live with her, because of the children. The remarkable thing is that now my brother, who drove me and the girls out of his house, is living with HIV himself. I was so surprised when I heard about this.
Now I am even a peer educator and give information to sex workers
In the year when I learned I was living with HIV, I joined The Aids Support Organisation (TASO), an HIV/AIDS service organisation in Uganda. From a small support group, TASO has evolved into an non-governmental organisation with eleven service centres and four regional offices covering most parts of the country. I’m connected to the Mulago service centre in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda.
Fortunately, I was able to start a new life. I found a job in the Makerere district of Kampala. Two days a week, on Saturdays and Sundays, in hostels I washed clothes for students. Then my best friend Harriet asked me: ‘Why are you washing clothes and getting so little? You don’t earn enough money, so you better leave this job.’ I asked her what kind of work she was doing. She told me that she would come and take me to show the best job, which would surely provide me with a lot of money. This is how I became a sex worker. The first day I worked I got so much money, even forty thousand (local currency). I changed my name into Meko Super. And now I am even a peer educator and give information to sex workers. This is my story – a true story.