Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Womens Life with HIV in another country.

Hi, my name is Ferni Yuniarti and I am a 33 year old HIV positive woman living in Indonesia. I have been previously married twice. During my first marriage, I gave birth to a son and then my husband passed away from medical complications. I then remarried and had two beautiful daughters. I eventually divorced my second husband because he was an unfit father and husband.
It all started for me at the age of 14, when I met a person who was addicted to drugs. We became friends and after a while I could not bear to see him all alone in his addiction, so I began to spend more and more time with him. One day I decided to try the drugs and they made me feel good. I then began injecting the drugs on a regular basis and it was only a matter of time before I became addicted.
My life began to get out of control because of my drug addiction, so I decided to get help. I checked into a drug rehab on March 22, 2003. While in the rehab, the doctors placed me on psychiatric medicine as part of the treatment for my addiction. Approximately two weeks into treatment, I had a blood test done. The results came back showing that I was HIV positive. My initial reaction was to laugh because I could not understand how I could have caught HIV. In all of my years of addiction, I thought I was safe from HIV because I did not share needles.
I spent day after day in the rehab center trying to figure out how I caught the virus, and then it came to me. One day my friend was so dope sick that I decided to share my drugs with him. I was able to find some new needles, but not syringes. I thought I would be safe as long as we did not share the same needle. As a result of sharing the same syringe, I became infected with HIV.
While in rehab, I became very ill from the HIV virus. My parents were contacted and informed of my condition. They were very upset with me to learn of all this news. It was recommended that I be removed from the center in order to receive treatment for my HIV. I left the rehab, but unfortunately the doctors were not able to do much for me at the time and I was returned to the center.
For the next eight months I remained in critical condition while being treated by the doctor at the rehab. He recommended that my parents begin praying for me to heal. During this time I was still struggling with my HIV status. I started thinking about my life and knew that I wanted to live in order to provide a future for my children. I knew that I needed to accept my disease in order to begin healing. As soon as I accepted my new reality, my medical condition started to improve. I was motivated to move forward in my life.
I completed treatment and moved back home with my family. Over the years my relationship with my family has become strained because they no longer support the spirit of my life. I learned to reach out to others in the HIV and recovery community for support.
Presently I am still clean and sober, continue working with doctors to improve my health and dealing with a new set of challenges. The stigma attached to HIV and drug addiction remains embedded in everyday life in my community. Recently a few friends and I decided to start a group to help HIV positive people with drug addiction. The group has been going really well. I am participating in this Project to show people it is possible to rise from adversity, encourage those struggling to keep fighting and let them know that they do not need to be ashamed to reveal who they really are. I also want to let those who have the same condition as me to know that they are not alone at war with this HIV virus.

A Day in the Life of My Body

I am an HIV positive single parent living in Indonesia with three children. Since I do not work, it is a constant struggle to meet the needs of my children. Fortunately, I have had the help of my sister and even the local community at times.
For the most part, my days used to be pretty much the same; spent most of the time at home taking care of my beautiful children. And like many parents, often paying little attention to my own needs. Day after day my situation seemed to be getting worse and one day I decided to reach out to other HIV positive individuals in my community for help.
I began meeting other HIV positive people who were dealing with some of the same issues as me. After spending time talking with them, it became more clear to me that I needed to do a better job at taking care of me. As a parent it is pretty common for us to want a better future for our children. The reality is that if we are not willing to take better care of ourselves, then how can we expect to afford them a better opportunity.
One of the people I met introduced me to a doctor. After speaking with the doctor he suggested that I join with others from my local community in a support group he was making. One by one, a few of us began to get new members for the group. Two weeks went by and the group never formalized, so the members decided to meet in person. As a result of that meeting, we decided to make a new group and call it Change Direction for Life (CD4LIFE). I used to volunteer for about two months in the past at a rehab center close to my house and I was helping HIV positive addicts with their recovery. Since then the rehab had closed down, so we decided to set up base camp for CD4LIFE at the rehab.
Slowly but surely the group has been growing. Each day we meet to check in, discuss our feelings, share stories, learn more about addiction and HIV disease, and plan our day. We are always looking for new members. If any other person wants to be clean from drugs we go to pick them up and bring them back to basecamp. If members are in the hospital, we go visit to offer support and encouragement. Being involved in this group, not only gives me a chance to help others, I am also learning news ways to take better care of myself.
I often feel that the Lord wanted me to fix my mistakes and has given me another chance at life to do good things. Despite all the struggles that I still encounter, I keep the faith and choose to express my gratitude by giving my hand to another in need. Today my life has a sense of added purpose. I hope that in the future I can become more high-minded and able to help eliminate stigma and discrimination against HIV positive addicts. I am sharing my story so that everyone can see that despite having HIV, I am just like everyone else; full of life, full of feelings and full of personal struggles.
I continue to fight, not only for the chance of providing a better future for myself and my children, but because I have been given another chance at becoming a better human being. I encourage everyone to do the same!
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