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says Amelework Demisse


Amelework Demisse

She was born in a family that lived on farming in Wolayita. Her brother brought her to Awassa. She took her elementary education in Hayik Dar Elementary and Junior High School.

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Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Regional States


Tilla Association of Women Living with HIV

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"It was in Assela that I was born. My mother brought me to A wassa when I was a child. Till I was 8 I lived with my mother. We lived on the little money she got working as a maid. Later, her employers told her that they don't want a maid who has a child. She gave me to an acquaintance. Living with my guardian, I started to attend my education in Tabor Elementary and Junior High School. One day, my guardian waited for me outside her house when I got back from school. She told me that I've to go back to my mother because there were many children in the house and the food expense is becoming unaffordable. "By that time, my mother quitted working as a maid. She had married a man, who lived in a house rented from the Kebele, locality. She had started selling alcohol." "A civil servant who used to frequent our house took me to Arba Minch when I was 14. We started living together there. When we had our first child, my husband was transferred to another place. He told me I couldn't go with him because the place was not good for our child's health. With that pretext he sent me back to my mother." "I started my old life again. When I know my husband was not coming back, I married another person. "My new husband disappeared when he started getting sick. My health started to fall down day after day. When I started losing weight, I became suspicious. I decided to get a blood test." She got the blood test when there was no adequate counseling service. It was then that she knew she has the virus. "I was so shocked at that time. I didn't have anything to live on. I was so poor to the extent of having no food to give to my children. By the help of the counseling service I got as a member of Tilla Association now I'm strong and have exposed myself to teach others." Amelework, who lives with her 3 sons in a rented room, thinks there's change in the society regarding stigma and discrimination. "But," she says, "there's still some problem.� "I was exposed to the virus due to lack of awareness and poverty. Currently, there's awareness about HIV/AIDS. Therefore, even if we've a temporary problem, we can overcome it through working. We don't have to risk our lives by exposing ourselves to the virus."


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