THREE young women living with HIV have closed their eyes to the possible views of the world about them and opened hearts so others can avoid it.
If they can help one person prevent the frightening diseases by identifying themselves and talking about it, they will be very happy.
Esther Joe (Gulf and Milne Bay), Maria Elvis (Simbu) and Cathy Thomas (Gulf and Enga) are all young women.
have to go for testing and get their status known and be on treatment and live a normal life, just like us.”
Two of the three in Port Moresby and the other in Goroka had been part of a recent research by the PNG Institute of Medical Research (PNGIMR) on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and adoThey have looked beyond shame, stigma and discrimination – key factors preventing many to come out and speak freely about their HIV status as well as seek medical treatment and care.
“I am not shy and scared of coming out because I want other young men and women to see and know that there is life after HIV,” Thomas said.
“Theylescent girls and young women living with HIV.
The research was conducted in 2015 in Port Moresby and Goroka in partnership with the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Kirby Institute (UNSW), Unicef, Burnett Institute and Centre for Social and Creative Media, Port Moresby General Hospital and the Health Department.
The three women’s stories have been also documented in three short films of women living with HIV, including their children.
The documentary is titled “Young and Positive”.
Jackie Kauli, one of the producers and directors of the film, said it showed how courageous and strong young women were to help advocate on HIV in PNG.
Kauli said the women were not reluctant to share their experience on how they contracted the virus and how they felt when the news was broken to them.
“These are truly powerful women who had come out to tell others to come out too,” she said.
Joe said she had gradually become strong and had overcome all the burden of hiding away and be bothered about other people’s perceptions of her.
“They believe in tender love and care for their uncles, aunties and grandparents as beyond their expressions, unlike what they could have received from their biological parents and siblings.” The National