People ask me to bring them their antiretrovirals secretly
‘Stigma had wreaked so much havoc in my life that I could not breathe. Every step I took to piece my life back together, stigma would be waiting. What I would like to express generally is that since I found out my HIV positive status, I have gone through many emotions – from angry to sad to suicide.
Now, a few years later, I think I have come to terms with things but I still go through my daily ups and downs with depression. The biggest contributors for this are stigma and discrimination. I lost many things as a result of it.
My best friends have left me and were hesitant to be as close to me as they were before. Now I have understood many things from my life experience, from my friends who are HIV positive like me and from the community as a whole.
Even though still I feel lonely and even though I don’t want to get up early in the morning because of fear of stigma, I am happy with my children and I am excited to live long for them. They are everything in my life, my hope and sources of happiness. I also have positive relations with my neighbours and I am a member of an association. Members who are HIV positive provide care and support to each other and for the community as well. This organisation provides us with care and support…
I am optimistic that the situation has slightly changed. I have observed attitudinal changes and better understandings especially among educated people. I am witnessing that they are trying to take care of us. Their smiling and polite greetings are like food for me.
However, it doesn’t mean stigma is eliminated. I also witnessed that still there are some HIV positive people who ask me to bring them their antiretrovirals secretly. This shows that sigma and its fear still remains…
I strongly believe that stigma and discrimination is the most disgraceful and heart breaking feature of HIV/AIDS… Therefore it is my wish and recommendation to work more hard to avoid stigma and discrimination because without hard effort we couldn’t wipe out it.
Hana Yilima, female, 35 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