I have learnt that I am not alone
“…my baby and I were diagnosed four years ago and this saved him from death. This was because of the early detection that offered us more options for treatment. Thanks to God he is now getting well and has recovered from all kinds of infections… The other two children were fortunately born free of the virus and they are growing well and attending their education too.
My second daughter is in 5th grade and she lives with me here… I think that she is my courage and hope because she brought me peace and hope even in the midst of great desperation… She looked after and inspired me to be alive. Because of her I realised that being a mother is the most noble thing of all.
I have a job and I am working for a local hospital. In addition to this I am involved in various activities through our association to support others who are infected or affected.
I tell you honestly I don’t want to be reminded of how I suffered and was stigmatised as a result of my HIV positive status. I was terrified what people would think. I feared more for life than death until I went to my first women’s association where I saw women who were much sicker than me, yet looked great! I got educated and, through trial and tribulation, I rebuilt myself. The association which I joined as a member has kept me alive with all their support.
My association is so empowering… It changed my life in a positive way by bringing me a greater awareness of what is important — HIV positive friends, men, and women. I convinced myself that I will live long through this association… I have also learnt that I am not alone and that I could live as long as any healthy person without fear but also being successful in life with marriage.
Tsehai Mekonin, female, 33 years, Ethiopia
Every day from the 1st of July until the 21st of July we will be sharing extracts from 21 oral testimonies of 21 men and women living with HIV in Swaziland, Ethiopia and Mozambique. We’ll share these extracts here on this blog – with daily links on twitter and facebook. On the 21st of July, our partner the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) will launch a publication of these testimonies at the International AIDS conference 2014. Read more about 21 stories 21 days. Read more about the project