Living with HIV for 15 years!
Posted by African Press International on December 1, 2006
Laura Perez Ottonello, comes from ontevideo in Uruguay. She confirms to have lived with HIV for 15 years. She says, “when I found out I was HIV-positive it was a great shock. I got it through sexual contact with my husband, due to his infidelity. I had to learn to live with HIV, initially without treatment and in silence to avoid social discrimination, and most of all to protect my little daughter, who was in school at the time.”
Discrimination is the hardest thing one can deal with at the same time with the burden of the disease. Secrecy eats one from inside. Telling people, one ends up being pushed out of the community. That makes many aids and HIV patients to hide the truth, even from their own loved ones.
She says, “then the hard times came. I got married again to an HIV-positive man and I lived with him for seven years. Then he got a neurological disease, because of Aids. I looked after him until he died. I was with him when he took his last breath of life, holding his hand. I still carry him inside me and always will.”
For a sick person to loose a sick partned is a big blow. The two has given each other support needed because of the isolation that comes with the disease. She says, “I have been on antiretroviral treatment for six years. And I am still here. My daughter is now 22 and I have a three-year-old granddaughter. I now help others with HIV as the president of the Uruguay Network of People Living with HIV.”
By going public it helps if one gets people to understand and give you the support you need. She says, “we have lost many, but I fight every day against this disease along with other HIV-positive survivors.”
And in her guidance to others she has a message to all during this day we are marking aids day. “My message to everyone is to go ahead leading your life always, despite everything.”
Many in Norway with HIV/Aids are still keeping the infection secret fearing persecution, stigmatisation and the discrimination that follows. Others still infect others at will.
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By Korir, African Press in Norway, APN