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"AVOIDING SHOULDN'T BE US WHO EXPOSED OURSELVES! "

says Almaz Asele

ID20Almaz

Almaz Asele

She was born and grew up in Yirga Alem Town. She attended Mekane Yesus School and Yirga Alem Comprehensive High School

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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"When I was in Grade ten, the man who later became the father of my child took me as his wife through abduction. He used to live in a place out of Virga Alem. So, he took me there. Because I couldn't adapt to the rural life, I returned to Virga Alem. I was pregnant. I gave birth in my parents house. My husband (kept bothering me to return to him. I left the child with my parents and came to Awassa. "I legally married a man whom my relative introduced me. Even if we lived for 5 years together, we didn't have a child. My husband died in 2003 after being sick for a long time. Before he died, I asked him to have a blood test together. But he refused. After his death, I had the test at Mary Joy." "I was psychologically ready to accept the result. Therefore, I was not shocked when I was told that I'm living with the virus. When I saw people living with the virus teach, I understood that it's possible to live with the virus." Almaz, after knowing her result, she joined Tilla Association. Now she teaches the society. "When we teach in different places, the people accept what we teach. The problem is in rented rooms. My former landlords made me leave the house by insulting me. At that time, I felt a moral breakdown. Regarding stigma and discrimination, there is little change now. Even if there's stigma and discrimination, knowing myself helped me in many ways. "Regarding attitudinal change, there's still more to do. The society shouldn't stigmatize us who exposed ourselves and teach. We care about the society and ourselves. There could be people who live with the virus like us. They may not know they've the virus or even if they know, they may not take the necessary caution. So it's important to be careful. What's going on in obscure places during the night is critical it looks as if there's no AIDS at night." She enjoys listening to music, reading books and doing needlework. She says, "Protect yourself not to be like us.�

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