Uganda: Mental Illness – the Ignored Side of HIV

Flavia Nassaka
Original Article:

Experts call for integration of mental health care for the positive at all levels

One Tuesday morning recently, a man who looked to be in his 60s walked into the Independent Publications office with a story so important, he said, it had to be published immediately.

With a charming smile, he introduced himself. He was in fact 49 years old, and a former accountant. He said he has been living with the HIV virus knowingly since he tested positive in 2007. He does not know when he got infected, he said, but finally he had found a solution for it. He said HIV/AIDS, like some other diseases, could be cured by surgery. He had tried it out on himself.

"Am now fine," said the man who stutters from partial paralysis on one side of his face, walks with a limp and aid of a cane, a by his own description, has wounds on his rectum from his self-inflicted "surgery".

"I did it so that more people can be saved from permanent pain and death. Just like me, they’ll not have to take ARVs anymore," he said excitedly. He said he wants the government to set up a body to enable surgeons to consult him.

It would have been a hilarious tale if it was not so painful to listen to. As is well-known, HIV/AIDS has no cure at present.

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