After Florence was diagnosed with HIV, she started an HIV support group to fight stigmas surrounding HIV and encourage people living with HIV in her village to go get treatment and educate themselves about the virus. Like Florence, many women are abandon by their families after contracting HIV. People are not educated about the virus for fear of being judged by the community. After Florence almost died as a result of avoiding treatment, she committed herself to helping others find the strength be open about their HIV status.
Watch the video above to learn more about Florence’s story.
The HIV support group now consists mostly of women. There are approximately 50 women and 6 men, all farmers, in the group. They have learned through doctors and educational programs that greens and fresh vegetables supply vital nutrition to their diet, which is something the Ugandan diet lacks. The most important thing for a person living with HIV is to stay healthy, and Florence’s group has become proactive about their nutritional intake.
Florence has found agriculture to be her sword and salvation in her battle against HIV. Florence’s perseverance and innovative approach to a healthy life has made her a successful Ugandan women.
She attributes some of her success to the increase in HIV education, and that over the past few years, she has seen a lot of social progress. More people want to learn the sustainable farming methods and are not afraid of buying food from an HIV-positive woman. Florence says that before more awareness and education was in the community, people would think the food was also HIV-positive and would never buy it. The leaders of surrounding communities now come to her for advice and use her as an example of how to be a successful small farmer, and she was most recently recognized in the capital city of Kampala, Uganda.
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