[This is an archived post and may not display correctly on our new website.]
My name is Ratna. I am 31 years old and originally from Makassar. I am HIV positive
I AM A MOTHER, A SCHOOLTEACHER, AND AN ACTIVIST. Initially my husband fell sick. He was later diagnosed with HIV and passed away. I contracted the HIV virus from him. As my health deteriorated I lost all hope to live because I thought for sure I was going to die.
But as a single parent, my daughter, Amel, needs me and she is the only source of my motivation to live. After learning about my status, I searched for medicine that I heard could evidently contain the HIV virus’ progress inside my body.
I started taking ARV (Antiretroviral medicine) in 2010. I take it once a day before going to sleep. ARV has greatly improved my health. I am able to go back to work and even do more activities than before.
I have been a schoolteacher for over five years. I teach over 120 students at a high school in the courses of religion and HIV. Although I am HIV positive my colleagues at school continue to give me support and they even ensured me that I would not be rejected due to my status.
I hope that we are more courageous to get tested for HIV because it’s much better to know our status to get immediate treatment and prevent passing the HIV virus to others.
I have opened up about my status publicly because I wanted to prove to everyone that although I am HIV positive I am not a person who is sick, weak and helpless, and wasted.
I Am Positif is an initiative to help end stigma and discrimination related to HIV/AIDS in Tanah Papua, Indonesia. Many improvements have been made in the region but the majority of the public in Tanah Papua still perceives HIV/AIDS to mean suffering, dishonour, and death. People often neglect taking preventive measures and many already diagnosed with HIV avoid seeking lifesaving treatments. Fear of abuse, persecution and ostracism from family members and the community have made secrecy and denial the primary concern over seeking care. I Am Positif utilises portraiture, in-depth interviews, and video to profile 7 incredible individuals who are living healthy and productively with HIV.