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"YOU CAN'T LIVE ON CHARITY ALL THE TIME! "

says Aster Mulatu




ID8Aster

Aster Mulatu.




She is only twenty-two-years old. She was born near Tikur Wuha, Awassa. She lost her father when she was a child. Her mother married another man. Because life with her stepfather was not comfortable, she left the house and became a maid She reached Grade four learning during the night. She couldn't go further.









Gender :

Female




Country :

Ethiopia




Residence Region :

Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Regional States




Association:

Tilla Association of Women Living with HIV




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"One day, I came to know a man on a gari, a cart. Then we got real closer. He asked me for marriage. To respect the custom, we sent some elderly people to my family. Then we got married. We stayed 3 years in marriage. I gave birth to our first child in my parents' house. When I returned to my house for my child's christening, my husband was not there. I heard that he went to visit his mother. A few days later I heard that he's seriously sick. But I couldn't go to visit him because of the child. Then we departed forever. He passed away. I learned the cause of his death, too." Aster went, without hesitating, and got a blood test. Obviously, she was positive. She told this news to her stepfather. He condemned her and made her leave the house. "Where I rented a room, there was this young man with whom I got closer. He asked me to live with him even if he knew that I'm living with the virus. I told him to have a blood test first. He was HIV -negative, but still he insisted on being together. We couldn't agree because of this. I tried to advise him as best as I could, but he tried to use force to make me sleep with him. I took the matter to court and finally managed to depart from him." Aster is now living in marriage with a man who lives with the virus and who is a member of Dawn of Hope Association. Although now there is a good awareness regarding HIV/AIDS, she thinks there is no much behavioral change. "One day, when we were going to church in a group, the driver of our car asked me to have lunch with him. Accepting his invitation we went together to have lunch. He took me to a room suggesting it's better to rest and talk. He pretended as if he forgot something and went out telling me he'll be back in a minute. May be, he went out to buy a condom. He closed the door when he got back and sat beside me on the bed. Because I understood what he wanted, I told him about myself. He trembled with shock. I helped him to cool down. He thanked me and escorted me home. "We don't have to wait till another person tells us to protect ourselves. Once it has seen the existence of AIDS in us, the society should protect itself everywhere. There could be no better testimony than ours." Aster is happy that her four-year old daughter is free from the virus.

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