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says Tsehay Mebrate


Tsehay Mebrate

She was born and grew up in Debre Tabor.

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Amhara National Regional State


Tilla Association of Women Living with HIV

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"My mother divorced my father just after I was born. She was forced to married him without her interest. For this reason, I started living with my grandmother. I learned up to Grade 4 when I was with my grandmother. She then took me to my mother, who was living with another man in Addis Ababa. My mother had many children by then. I couldn't agree with her. I left her house when my grandmother returned to her home. I started to work as a maid." "My mother took me to her house from where I was working. We couldn't agree this time also. Then, I started working in a bar when I was 15." Tsehay didn't like life in the bar. She quitted this and went to Wolisso looking for a job. She became a waitress in one lounge. "As I was working there, I came to know one man. We became closer friends and then started living together. I became pregnant. When I told him this, he told me to abort it. I refused because I was not sure about my health. Our relationship became lose and finally he went to another town. I delivered my first child in the house of a woman who was from the same place I came from. She allowed me to leave my daughter with her. Finally I came to Awassa looking for a new job. "I've always wanted to have a good marriage. After working for some months in a hotel in Awassa, I married again. I became pregnant. But this time didn't want to have the baby. I illegally abort it." Because she was often sick, she had a blood test. "I never thought I had the virus because I had recovered from an illness before. But the result of the test was positive." She has something to tell us about attitudinal change. "There was this man with whom I attend a spiritual lesson. We became close friends. He asked me to show him my house. I prepared coffee and invited him to my house. But his desire was more than that. I told him that it's not safe to have sex with a person you don't know well. He didn't take it. He insisted. When I told him I'm living with the virus, he was utterly shocked. The shock didn't last that long. He tried to tell me we could use a condom. I made it clear to him that I don't want to do it. Then he went out. "I wish to see a cure found for HIV/AIDS and that no one will be infected. I also wish to see a free and peaceful generation. Till that time comes, those of us who knew we had the virus should help others patiently and wisely to protect themselves from HIV. Those of us who don't know or those of us who are free from the virus should avoid stigmatizing and discriminating those living with HIV. We all have to live in love."


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