My name is Anita Ada. I was born positive. My dad died of HIV when I was three. I am 17 years old. I have never been on medication and I am healthy. I
have a problem with stigmatization and feeling stigmatized. People tell me that I can’t be an actress if I am positive or do things that I want to
do in an indirect way. But I know that they are certainly talking to me. It makes me feel worthless, depressed and I feel abandoned by friends, family
and my community. I have never met other people living with HIV. Sometimes I feel like killing myself. It affects me physiologically and emotionally
and it affects my studies at school because I am thinking about it always. I just say to myself that all I need to do is be happy but it has been so
hard since I have not found anything or anyone to make me happy. It makes me feel like I don’t deserve to do the things that others are doing.
This was until April 28th, 2015, when I attended a meeting with ICW. It made me learn many things. I was like – “WOW!!!! There are other people that are
living with this disease not only me. Especially other young women in Nigeria, and around the world!!!” I met others who could talk to me and council
me and told me that I can do the things that others have been saying that I cannot. They made me feel like I could be on the top of the world and be
the celebrity that I wish to be. I feel like I can do anything right now.
During the Young Women’s Forum, I learned about sexual and reproductive rights and am excited to be in an organization ASYWHAN and now an ICW member. I
am so happy, I am excited and I feel good. I wish that meetings like this could be everyday!
You might think that you have no right to a boyfriend or love, or to have sex because you are positive, but this is not true. I am so scared to have sex
because I don’t want to spread it. I want you to know that you can have sex with anyone and that you can right to love and marry who ever you want
to – positive or negative.
I also feel like I have people that can now support me in whatever I do. I feel alive.
For other people outside that may have been feeling like I felt, I think it is high time for you to stand up on your feet and tell yourself that you are
awesome! Tell yourself that no matter what people say to you, be strong. I want you to know that you are not alone. There are people who can support
you, only when you are ready to share your story like I did. Then you will be supported and happy.
Anita – Nigeria, ICW Member/Chapter for Young Women, Adolescents and Girls.
Established in 1992 by women living with HIV in response to the consistent silencing and marginalizing of the concerns of women living with HIV.
Today, over 20 years later, ICW continues to be the only network run by and for women living with HIV. We work in 120 countries, through 10 regional networks.
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