[Kenya’s capital].”She explains that civil wars had only exacerbated the problem of HIV in the country, and could have possibly been the origin of the virus in the area.“The first cases of HIV were actually recorded or reported in Uganda, in a town called Rakhi — tents near the border with Tanzania,” she says. “And it really devastated our country because we’d just come through a series of civil wars.
And actually, I think they trace the way the virus spread to some troops that had come in to help depose one of the dictators, so the route it followed into the country was associated with that.”She adds that, even though she had not been raised in Uganda, she felt the ripple effect of HIV through her Ugandan loved ones.“It was very, very devastating….
We ended up losing a lot of people, even within the Uganda community in Kenya, so it really did affect me…[we] lost close cousins, relatives,” she recalls. “And science being my strongest subject…it just piqued my interest.”Kibirige says life in Kenya sharply contrasted the chaos and devastation her family had fled from in Uganda.“It was a safe haven,” she says. “A lot of Ugandans fled to Nairobi, to Kenya, so there was a big Ugandan community — a lot of relatives, friends, extended family….
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