“My name is miram msemwa I was born in 1982 at muheza district Tanga. I started my primary education on 1989 at Muheza District. On 1995 I completed my primary education with a fair pass mark. My parents couldn’t afford to pay school fees at private secondary school due to their level of finance because they were depending on small cultivation. On 1997 my family was received dowry from a 35 years’ guy for the purpose of my marriage, two weeks after I contact my aunt who is living in Dar es salaam and I told her all about what my parents planned to me, She was confused with my parents' decision, so we developed the escaping plan and three days later I left Muheza to my aunt in Dar es salaam. It was my first time to travel long distance it takes the whole day for my travel from Muheza to Dar es salaam where I met my aunt at Kisutu bus terminal. Life in Dar es salaam was very different from where I came from people are too busy and streets was full of beautiful building. After one week of my arrival my aunt told me that it will be difficult to stay in Dar es salaam without working so she told me that she got a good job for me, I was shocked because I have never worked before, I couldn’t have a choice though my concern was cotinue studying, so immediately I started working as a house keeper in Kinondoni 20 km from where my aunt is located. My boss was a good person he was very humble and care taker that on 1997 he change my role as a house keeper to seller of his spare parts shop at city center. I have loved this job and from this job I started to contact my parents in Muheza and at least I was capable to help them in some of expenses. During working at the shop there a guy who was so humble who was my loyal customer he always came to my shop for purchasing spare part for his vehicle, on 1998 the guy start to approach me, and 1999 I lost my virginity to him as my first man in my life, I dated this truck driver for 2 years though our relation was with challenges because I was too jealous to him and I was think the guy was womanizer. On 2002 we broke up with my partner and during that time I was ready independent that, I rent a room at Ilala. On 2004 I recognized that I have picked up a stubborn cholera that has kicked me off work for 2-3 weeks, followed by severe headache and loss of weight, I was shocked of what I experience in my body, when the situation got serious I decided to go for medical checkup at Amana hospital. I passed through many diagnosis and always the result was that same that nothing is wrong with my health except normal disease. The interesting and shocking thing is that after having medication I just got relief and after a short while I started suffering as usually. Three month after suffering a lot my boss gives me a leave because I was on off and he declare he is business man, I was no other option than accepting to leave my entire job though I was aware that my boss was shy to told me that I was fired, he pays me well. One day one of my closer friend told to try to check if I’m HIV positive, for the first time this was the time I started think and worry about my life and my future it was not easy for him to convince me to undertake HIV test, but due to the situation I have that time I decided to go for HIV screening at VCT which is located 50 km from where I’m living because I didn’t want anyone to know my issue.
I was accompanied with my fellow friend who advise me to undergo HIV test. At the hospital I didn’t know where to start but my fellow friend help me to recognize the VCT, it was a very good place and cool and everybody around was cool no one is talking to anybody, I took my sit after completing my registration then it was my turn next to the doctor desk. the doctor asked if I think I had ever been exposed to HIV? No. I'm in my first and last sexual relationship, we were using protection and when we decided to stop, I was STI free and he assured me he was too. The first test is "indeterminate" and we decide to re-run the test. A week later I ring the doctor and she tells me I should come in right away.
The doctor looks at my eye confidently I didn’t expect bad result my mind told me that you are not sick as usually reference from previous diagnosis, I was cool when the doctor talking to me she told me about how to receive my result whether positive or negative, she also told me about living positive if I will be positive she ended up by told me One life-changing sentence: "I don't know how to tell you this, but the test has come back positive." I go into shock. I can't think of any of this I just think of dying only. I said “I am going to die!”. The doctor told me that I will be ok from that I wasn’t understanding anything I just asked myself “How could this have happened? I just grab the phone, call and tell my ex-partner what has happened. He is floored and doesn't know what to say and hang up the phone forever. The doctor cools me down and asked if there anyone I think I can share my status with I choose to share with my fellow friend who ascot me because it seems that at least he care about me and he also have some knowledge about HIV/AIDS.
Two years later, and my life and attitude is very different. Yes, I had some bad times, struggling to get my head around HIV status I grieved for my old life and self. I felt guilt, anger, and that I had been cheated with my ex-partner. What did the future hold for me? Who would want me now that I was HIV-positive?” those are some questions grieve around my head without any specific answers
While I am not yet on treatment due to my level of my DNA counts I has a very good communication with the VCT doctor, one day she connects me with one guy who is community health advocacy that will help me on understanding a good way of living positive, drug adherence, how to connect with my fellow PLHIV support groups for personal assistance and day to day follow up to make sure that I understand the situation I’m passing through because I was thought that one day my immune system might become too weak to fight the virus, sometimes I feels like a weight hanging over me. But I've found strength and, using the support offered by the CHA and I started to regained my self-confidence and self-worth that tend to have a self-stigma
As the work of my doctor and my CHA, I now know I am not going to die or sick I was referred for ART services at my near hospital, I now adhere ART services I’m pretty good health. I am stronger, more confident and have a new zest for life. I have changed a lot my attitude toward positive living is changing each and every day, now I started working as peer volunteer in Tanzania Network of Women Living with HIV/AIDS; This has helped me deal with being HIV-positive, and given me a way to give something back and to help others who are passing through my experience”.