Nairobi News


Family dug grave for this HIV+ man in 1998 but he’s still alive

His wife abandoned him at a health facility and the family dug a grave for him in anticipation of his imminent death after he tested HIV positive 25 years ago, but he is still alive.

Mr Moses Nsubuga, aka, Supercharger and his wife had three children together. His wife had often warned him against his reckless behaviour but he never heeded. In 1994, she confirmed her fears.
Nsubuga asked her to accompany him to Bawman House in Kampala for an HIV test. Her results came back negative. But this was not so for him. Nsubuga had already contracted the virus.

He recalls that while still pondering his next move, his wife excused herself to visit the washrooms. She never returned. It was the last time he saw her and their eight-year marriage ended just like that. “The mother of my children left me at Bawman House,” Mr Nsubuga, a musician, recounts.

He was not enrolled on anti retroviral treatment until 1998 when he became very ill. But he did not adhere to the prescription and after two years, he developed drug resistance.
Nsubuga became so critically ill that his aunts he lived with in Entebbe thought his death was imminent. They resolved to take him home in Kitalaganya, 20km after Nakasongola District.

They travelled by bus. On the way, passengers forced them out before reaching their destination as Nsubuga was over vomiting, making everyone uncomfortable.

“I was about to die. My relatives gathered at my aunt’s home in Entebbe. They had laid me on the mat. They started planning. They wondered if I died, who had Shs1.5m to take my body to Kitalaganya? The wise thing is to put me on the bus before I die,” he narrates.

Stranded at Kakoge, a man driving a pickup offered them a lift to Nakasongola Town, but along the way, he realised Nsubuga was very ill. He offered to take them home in Kitalaganya.
Before reaching home, Nsubuga’s aunts requested the driver to sojourn for a few minutes in Nakasongola town so they could buy cement and backcloth; materials for burial.

“They bought cement, one iron sheet and backcloth in Nakasongola which they would use on my grave. We then continued. They monitored me every day but I never died,” Mr Nsubuga told hundreds of The Aids Support Organisation (TASO) clients during an annual general meeting at their offices in Kampala last month.

Turning point
He was rescued by former Ntenjeru North Member of Parliament Sarah Nyombi, who upon learning that Nsubuga had been taken to the village to await his death, organised transport and brought him to the Joint Clinical Research Centre in Kampala. | D

This was his turning point. He has since composed songs such as “Say No to Resistance,” in a campaign aimed at sensitising people to adhere to antiretroviral drugs. Mr Nsubuga is living positively and hopes when researchers finally make a breakthrough in the long search for an HIV and Aids cure, it will find him alive.

Prof Vinand Nantulya, the former Uganda Aids Commission chairman, says as one of the people who negotiated to bring ARVs in Africa, there is need for people on treatment to take it seriously. He says failure to adhere to the medication is an added burden to the country.

Prof Nantulya adds that previously HIV and Aids was a global threat which attracted many funders but it no longer is and donors have since pulled out. However, he is optimistic that the One Dollar Initiative he chairs will help curb the scourge.