Henry, popularly known as McKenzie was born in 1995 and got infected with HIV at birth. He lost his father in 2001 and was raised by a single mother who never disclosed that he was HIV positive even though he persistently asked why he had to swallow medicine daily. It is at one of the focused group discussions he used to attend that he actually discovered he had HIV. Some would have received the news as a death sentence, but not Mckenzie.
McKenzie is now using his status to create advocacy on HIV mainly in the ghettos of Kamwokya because so many young people do not know their statuses and others recklessly engage in risky sexual behaviours.
“Just last year alone I lost 10 friends to HIV, seven girls and three boys. So for me it's really a personal vendetta, there’s just no way I cannot be part of the fight” says McKenzie.
Henry is a trained peer educator by Baylor Uganda and has worked with different organisations in HIV advocacy like The Uganda Network of Young People living with HIV & AIDS (UNYPA) where he is a former contestant in the Y+ Beauty Pageant.
With the help and guidance of Patrick Mujuzi who he speaks highly of, McKenzie’s confidence was built up and he was finally able to openly reveal his status five years ago, something he says isn’t very common in the ghettos. However, he didn't do this for attention but because he wants his fellow ghetto youth to embrace their status and know that they too can live a good life, that having HIV does not define them, and for others to know HIV is preventable.