You know that in life, not everything is easy. You just need courage to face the challenges that you find in life. The biggest success for me has been that the hospital has given me the opportunity to live a good life.
This is important, because socially if you have an HIV positive status you are stigmatized.
For myself, I was very stigmatized. When my kids went to school, the other children would not sit near them, because they knew that their mom was positive … they didn’t want to be near them. I also had many challenges in my home. I had a small market at my house and people were afraid to buy anything from me. After some time, they saw that I looked healthy and the people in town no longer thought that I was infected.
During that entire time, I did my best to stay strong and not hide from the world. I have spoken with many people who feel like he or she must hide from the world because of his or her status … That is why the support groups in our program are so important. Because we are living in a country where people are still not very educated about HIV/AIDS, and therefore there is a lot of fear and stigma. I would like for us to help educate people more so that we can reduce the stigma in this country.
As you can see I am not afraid to talk about my experiences or my status. I am not afraid because it has been 14 years since I started taking my medication and I am still alive. More than that, I am healthy, and I am living a life where I can do whatever I chose.
*Name has been changed to protect the patient’s privacy