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Developed Nations - fortunate

I am a 30 year old woman living in one of the poorest, least developed central African nations, who tested positive 12 years ago. For the first 8 years after testing positive I lived a relatively healthy life. I graduated from college and got married to a very abusive man and after 4 years I called it quits. 4 years ago I met a man, whose wife had died of Aids and whose then, 4 year old son was HIV positive. I hadnt had children because this would have meant a death sentence for me (as is common for most women who get pregnant and give birth in this state). Not wanting to take chances I have remained childless. I am now married to this man and live with him, his 12 year old daughter, his 8 yr old HIV positive son and a sweet 4 year old girl I adopted. I adopted this girl to fill the gap of my being childless as all my friends have children and I'm the only one who has to make belief. I ache so much as a result.

Last year my health suddenly started failing with frequent attacks of herpes and facial acne. I started taking an affordable ARV(US$45/month,made in India) this year in April, when my CDC4 count plummetted to 174. After 26 days on this ARV, I developed hepatitis, hospitalised and had to stop the medication. My doctor has now prescribed an ARV combination, that I can not afford (US$140/month), and there is absolutely nothing I can do about this, save for begging.

I want to all those people living with Aids in the developed nations to know how fortunate they are as drugs are affordable and accessible there. Out here, there is no hope. I just thank God for each new day, but with all sorts of opportunistic infections popping up every day, its difficult to keep on going positively. On many days, death is an option.

Sent via Email - August 29 2003, Central Africa.

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