Speak Up!

 

Nisha Adhikari

I was 17 when I got married. I had just completed my secondary level of education. We were a family of 7 including my mum, father and my 4 siblings. I was the eldest one among them all. The economic background of my family was not very sound enough to let me pursue further education. So the only option as seen by parents was -marriage.

Shankar, my husband was 5 years elder than me. Though the economic status of his family was better than mine, but not that well off. At the age of 19, with much difficulty during delivery, I gave birth to our twin daughters. Without any job it became difficult for us to maintain our livelihood including the education of our daughters. Every other member forced Shankar to go abroad in a working visa. He went to a gulf country in search of a job.

He returned to Nepal after 5 long years. Everything was going fine for 7-8 months but the economic crisis of the family forced him to go back again. For this, he was going through all the medical tests and something shocking was found in his reports that we had ever imagined. He was diagnosed HIV positive. I don’t know whether he was aware about this before but knowingly or unknowingly it also got transmitted to me. I would have somehow bear the fact of myself being HIV positive but what about the unborn baby in my belly.

The first thought that ran into my mind was to get abortion. But it was already 6 months due which I made it risky for me to do so.

In a society full of stigmatization, discrimination and male dominance, everyone started to put fault in me rather than my husband. It was getting difficult for me to seek help. Symptoms had already started showing up in my husband’s case but he was denying to seek medical care and open up. Though it was hard for me to bear this fact, it was still me who insisted to have medical checkup and get proper counselling for this. Now he is under the anti-retroviral therapy and I am taking the necessary medication to prevent the transmission to my baby.

Knowing that the HIV status is itself not enough, we should be able to open up and seek the possible treatment available.

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