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says Tigist Belachew


Tigist Belachew

It has been long since she has exposed herself and started teaching. Her face is familiar on TV screen.

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Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Regional States


Tilla Association of Women Living with HIV

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"Nowadays, I think stigma and discrimination are minimizing. The awareness of the society is increasing because we are teaching by exposing ourselves. Especially the rural people accept what we teach quickly. In the towns, much should still be done to bring behavioral change." From her experiences she told us the following. "When I was going to Yirgalem to share my life experience, I was sitting beside .the driver. We were chatting and listening to music. He told me about himself jokingly. I told him about myself, too. When we reached Yirgachefe, he took my address and we departed. "While I was decorating a Christmas tree back at home I heard a knock at my door. When I opened .the door, it was the driver. I invited him to get in. Because I told him that I live with the virus, I invited him in with trust. However, he did not waste much time to tell me that he loved me and wanted to sleep with me. Thinking he forgot what I told him, I tried to remind him. But he didn't. He told me we could use a condom. We disputed for a longtime. When I understood that he was not going to leave me alone, I called my neighbors and they made him leave. "Though the society knows the ways in which HIV / AIDS is transmitted, it doesn't know the difference between people who are carriers and AIDS patients. Many people think that it's only the AIDS patients that can transmit the virus. This is a much distorted notion and contributes a great deal to the quick spread of the virus." Tigist has a message, especially to young women. "Young women, both in school and out of school, should not expose themselves to HIV / AIDS to get money and different jewelries. Premarital sex does not only expose to HIV/AIDS but also to an unwanted pregnancy. Unwanted pregnancy is the main cause for starting a street life by putting one into health, social and economical problems. While at school, they should befriend themselves only to their pens and exercise books. At this time, unnecessary relationship with the opposite sex results in problems. So, young women should protect themselves." Tigist wants to improve her life working as a hairdresser. In the future she yearns to be fully healed from the virus and live happily by getting married.


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