I am Ratna, originally from Makassar. I am 31 years old. I am HIV positive.

 
 

 

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.

 

 
 
 Ibu Ratna’s reflection on her mirror as she puts on makeup before going to school for work.

 Ibu Ratna’s reflection on her mirror as she puts on makeup before going to school for work.

 
 

 

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.

 

 

"my daughter needs me, she is the biggest source of my motivation to live"

 
A portrait of Ibu Ratna and Amel at a water park.  They love to swim and play on the waterslide.  

A portrait of Ibu Ratna and Amel at a water park.  They love to swim and play on the waterslide.  

 

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.

 

 
Ibu Ratna leads the flag ceremony at her school.

Ibu Ratna leads the flag ceremony at her school.

Standing on a platform, Ibu Ratna leads the flag ceremony at her school.

Standing on a platform, Ibu Ratna leads the flag ceremony at her school.

Ibu Ratna salutes during the flag ceremony at her school.

Ibu Ratna salutes during the flag ceremony at her school.

Ibu Ratna supervises her students during class.  She has been a teacher for five years and currently teaches more than 120 students.

Ibu Ratna supervises her students during class.  She has been a teacher for five years and currently teaches more than 120 students.

 
 

“I am not a person who is sick, weak and helpless, and wasted."


 
 

 

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.