Abeba’s partner left her when she told him she was pregnant with their second child. Soon after, she went to a nearby health center and discovered that she was HIV positive and so was her daughter.

Without a source of income or her partner’s support, she could not afford to feed herself and her young daughter. Abeba, overcome with despair, tried to end her life more than once. When her friends learned of her suicide attempts, they were concerned for her safety and recommended that she visit the community of HIV + women in Fatsie Health Center, Tigray, for health services and psychological support. When Abeba reached Fatsie, she was too sick to walk.

As she stumbled through the rain, some women noticed her and took her to the Health Center. The women helped her get counseling and health care. They continued to check on Abeba to ensure that she would not attempt suicide again. Abeba was able to deliver an HIV negative son.

Though my intentions was to document Abeba’s story, when I went back to visit Abeba again after a year, the life of her HIV+ daughter remained engraved in my heart. Only 5 years old, HIV positive, Abeba’s daughter tirelessly takes care of her little brother who is a year old. She warms his milk, feeds him, carries him around on her back, she puts him to sleep; while somebody else needs to do all these for this little girl. Abeba and her daughter represent many women and girls in Ethiopia.

Picture taken on assignment for Management Science for Health

Find more on Abeba’s story here.

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