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Meet Muluba Habanyama

muluba habanyama
By , 17, Staff Writer Originally Published: June 7, 2017 Revised: June 7, 2017

Born HIV positive, twenty-two-year-old Muluba Habanyama is determined to make a difference and debunk myths about HIV. She says she has “always actively participated in some form of volunteering” and has been involved with Canadian organizations that support people living with HIV, including the Peel HIV/AIDS Network and Women’s Health in Women’s Hands. Muluba’s work as an activist, public speaker and journalist has been an important way for her to address “myths and confusion with HIV, STDs [sexually transmitted diseases] and sex in general.” Recently, she became the first Canadian member of the Youth Advisory Board at Youth Tech Health (YTH), an organization committed to advancing youth health and wellness through technology. Her advocacy work has centered on giving others the knowledge and skills to lead healthy, happy, well-informed lives, and this is why we chose to profile her for Faces of Change.

Passion

“I’m most passionate about HIV stigma and discrimination, social determinants of health, mental health and equality for all. These are issues I struggle with [and] am learning to navigate and know that, whether I survive or not, a lot of other people are also struggling. If I can help in any way, it makes it all worth it.”

Burns Her Up & Makes Her Happy

“Things that made me angry: in my personal life, it was definitely having to put school on hold and slow down when my health took a bad turn. It felt like life, mine particularly, wasn’t fair and mentally I was in a bad state. I’m happy to have survived that dark time and moved forward. Also, what made me really angry was when Charlie Sheen came out and disclosed his HIV-positive status and seeing what horrible thoughts were in people’s minds still. And some HIV funding cuts have been made which is infuriating. As for happiness: I have had the honor to meet so many activists that remain resilient, and I’m so happy to know these love warriors exist and will not stop fighting.”

Likes

“Learning, massages, photography, videography, reading, makeup, horror movies, making new connections, court shows, laughing and rice.”

Dislikes

“Closed-minded thoughts, arrogance, cold temperatures, pills, public restrooms, no Wi-Fi, discrimination, vegetables, physical activity and daylight savings time.”

Dream Dinner

“If I could have dinner with anyone it would be my mother, for many reasons. One, I miss her cooking and crave the tastes very much. If anyone could cure my stomach problems, I am convinced it would be her. Two, it’s been almost five years since her passing and so much has occurred that I need her insight on.”

Stranded on a Desert Island

“Because of my health, my appetite is so on and off these days unfortunately, so I don’t think I would fare too well on a desert island. If I’m to play it safe, I would bring a supplement protein drink called ‘Vital Peptide.’ It’s like Ensure. But if I go off of what I’m craving right now: French fries (extra-crispy), ketchup, oxtail, white rice, salmon, African beans, and Krispy Kreme donuts. Did you say one food?! Books is a hard one as well because I go through them in two days and am not hard to please with a story. But because of the circumstance, I’d say Lord of the Flies. I’ve learned to quite enjoy my own company (I’m an introvert), so I wouldn’t hate the alone time. Although my sister is very handy, funny and comforting. We could entertain each other for the rest of our lives. Some things we went through almost felt like we were alone on a deserted island already.”

Show Her the Money

“If I had a million dollars to change sex ed, I would fund a summer camp for youth infected and affected by HIV. I would make sure education is up-to-date and that the appropriate people are relaying the information. I would definitely fund a few tech apps to assist young people in sexual education.”

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