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"AT A TIME OF AIDS, ONE CANNOT AFFORD TO BE CARELESS! "
says Mistir Michael


ID3Mistir

Mistir Michael


She was born in Kara Kore, in Addis Ababa. She studied in Repi Fana Elementary and Junior High School up to Grade eight.


Gender :

Female


Country :

Ethiopia


Residence Region :

Addis Ababa Administration


Association :

Tilla Association of Women Living with HIV


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"I'm the first child for my mom. My aunt raised me because my mom died when I was very small. Because my aunt was a well to do woman, she raised me with her children in a good way. "When I was in Grade 9, I used to observe closely what a girl in our neighborhood did. Often times men with cars came to pick her up. I was attracted to her dressing style and to everything she does. At that time, my desire was to be like her. Later, I came to know a young driver who goes to Assab frequently. I didn't care about school. I started spending most of my time with him. We had fun and sex together. Finally, I left home and started living with my girl friend. "My relationship with my boyfriend didn't go as I thought. The man, whom I trusted and for whom I left the house in which I was living well, betrayed me. Because I was ashamed to return home, I started living as a bar girl. The bars I worked in were also night clubs. Young people frequented them. We had fun and sex with most of them. At that time there was hardly anything said about HIV / AIDS. So, we didn't take the necessary precaution. When her customer died and she became sick, she went to a health station and took a blood test after the counseling. The result showed she has HIV in her blood. Now she is a member of Tilla Association and teaches in various places. "Some people think we teach for money, not because we've the virus. However, most people accept our teachings. My neighbors usually express their disappointments if I cook and eat alone saying, 'Why didn't you invite us?' I think there's a change in the society regarding stigma and discrimination. But much change is still needed in relation to behavioral change." Mistir has a lot of experiences, especially after she has exposed herself and started teaching. "One time, when I went to Addis to visit my relatives, I met a young man I knew. He invited me for a tea. I accepted the invitation because I knew him before. After tea he asked me to sleep with him. Though I told him I couldn't, he insisted. I was confused how to explain it to him. I didn't want to hurt him by telling him bluntly. I pretended as if I wanted to go to the toilet and escaped. "The society should know that it's not possible to know the person living with the virus just by looking. Even if we knew them before, we cannot know their current condition. So, one has to take care all the time. One cannot afford to be careless at this time of AIDS. "My friends and I could survive because of Tilla. But I want to have my own job rather than waiting for aid (money). To this end the government and also the society should help people living with HIV to sustain themselves by providing them jobs."

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