Betti, age 51 / Abidjan, Ivory Coast


I discovered my status after I gave birth, in 1997. I was sick and I went to see a doctor at the hospital. I asked for a checkup and they told me that I had HIV. The child was breastfed, and I didn’t know, so she got contaminated. It was already difficult for me to accept my serology, so I didn’t accept to test the child until she died.

When she died, I was advised to go see an NGO, thanks to which I learned how to enjoy life again. What helped me feel good in my head is not only my family, my parents who really accepted me. Because at the time when I learned my status, ARV cost 321,000 a month, but I had my brother who helped me buy that. I had the attention of my family who didn’t want me to… let myself go away. After that I also ran into someone who loved me – my current husband. And what really made me love life again is the fact that I had another child, who is negative. Really, the presence of my child made me love life again.

I take the bright side of life. I consider that aging is not an issue for me. The proof is that I am not old. I am still young. I don’t bother with concerns that can sadden me. You know, when you have many worries in your head, you age fast, so I emptied everything from my head. My only worry is my child. My daughter, she is 13 years old. The vision of my child, the life of my child, this is my only worry. I always ask God to allow me to see my child working, the children of my child, so that if I go tomorrow, I can go to the grave with a smile on my lips. Otherwise, I don’t have any other problem. That’s it.

In biological terms, there is the menopause. You feel hot flashes, hot flashes. But, and then, you don’t have… you know, people say that you don’t have the same desire to make love. You feel, tssss, something that decreases within yourself. Me, when I go to bed now, when I am in the bed and my husband wants to touch me, I think, “No, really, I don’t want that anymore, I am tired, you can go look for girls outside.” (laughs) That’s it. I am currently going through the pre-menopause. That comes and goes, comes and goes, but I tell my husband how tired I am. I don’t even want to have a child anymore. One child, here, that’s enough. He can go somewhere else. So that’s it. Really, that’s it.

Translated from the original French