By JEFFREY ELAPA
A woman living with the AIDS virus has decided to break the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, and has gone public about her condition.
Claire Kewa is campaigning for unity in a family, and says husband and wives should be faithful to one another, and not engage in activities that would lead to broken marriage.
Ms Kewa is a victim of broken marriage.
She said she contracted the virus when she became desperate and got into a relationship just to put food on the table for her child.
She said after her husband deserted her and got married to another woman while working in Port Moresby, she came to Madang with her small daughter.
While in Madang, she found it difficult to look after herself and her daughter who is now six years old.
So she was forced into a relationship with a man from the Eastern Highlands because he had a job and money.
She said she did not know that he had the AIDS virus.
The man suddenly departed one day without her knowledge.
She said after some years, she felt sick and went to the hospital and was diagnosed with HIV in 2005.
She said she knew she was going to die and became worried about her daughter’s welfare.
Ms Kewa said that she learnt of a group called ‘Dana Aia Agena hospice’ meaning the house of man and woman in the Amele dialect of Madang province.
This group provides care, counselling and training to people living with AIDS.
The group took her in.
She said that the group treated her like a family.
They do marketing to raise funds to care for the patients without any formal employment or funds.
“I’m thankful the group has taken care of me and my child and I have recovered from my illness and doing well, unlike in the past.
“Now, I don’t feel afraid to come out in public because I feel there are a lot of broken marriages and I want to warn people to be faithful and remain true to their partners,” Ms Kewa said.
She said that a lot of people were afraid to come out.
But she said that people who had HIV should speak out and join such group.
The group’s coordinator, Willie Nolpo, said that his group had taken care and trainings of more than 20 people and they have left and are going out carrying out awareness to the wider community.
He said there were nine members who were volunteering to take care of people and their small children.