28 Feb 2014
Blog by Liya Perepada
She was looking down at the passing cars through the window of the ninth floor. Her long black hair made the phrase ‘almost like Rapunzel’ float in my mind. She made me turn around - I had not seen such a beautiful face before, with unusually delicate features. Such beauty always makes one squirm a bit. Regardless of what people say, appearance is always the first thing we appreciate about a person…
In a moment Malika starts telling me her story. Everything was as usual - a childhood in a Mahalla, going to school and university, her marriage and two children. Malika says her two sons give meaning to her life – they are her treasure and happiness. Seemingly nothing could disrupt the natural course of events, even a ‘small thing’ – as Malika calls it – the human immunodeficiency virus which has now been living in her blood for five years.
It was something that she had not expected. Unfortunately, five years ago her husband passed away suddenly and doctors asked her and the children to take a HIV test.
HIV was not found in children, but Malika’s results were positive.
‘I can’t see it, I can’t feel it, but they say it is in my blood’. Malika is glad to talk about her diagnosis, and would like to speak openly without fear for the future of her sons and their position in society. That is why she asked to replace her real name with this one. Malika is sure that her friends, relatives and other people will be frightened because they do not know what HIV is, and are not prepared to accept this status.
The AIDS Centres and self-help groups that are available have helped Malika to understand what HIV is, and how many people are living with it. What is more important is that she now understands that she can live a healthy, complete and happy life. ‘What I do is I take special therapy regularly, and care about my healthy diet.”
“As for the rest,’ she laughs, “my life is no different from the life of an ordinary Uzbek woman. What makes me different from others is something which is invisible to the eye, which is not yet curable, and has taught me to love and value life even more.”
Malika tries to celebrate every little moment and considers herself to be a very positive person. The latter is even more important to people who live with HIV. She is sure that “people should know that this is not scary, and that there are many of us.”
Malika is selling clothes and appreciates her work a lot. She likes to decide what will be sold in her store in the coming seasons. In the future she would like to design clothes herself. In order to accomplish this goal, she needs different resources and partners. Malika is certain that there will be a day when her aspirations will be achieved.
“I am almost happy,” Malika said. “For complete happiness, I’d have to release the fear that my relatives may become suspicious about my status because of the medications I always carry with me, and also I’d like to travel more with my kids’.
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