Improving Your Sexual Health 191
Every woman should protect herself from AIDS
The following story could happen in any community.
Fátima’s story: Every woman should protect herself
Fátima lives in a rural town in Brazil—and she is dying of AIDS. When she
was 17, she married a man named Wilson. He was killed a few years later in an
accident at the cooperative where he worked. Fátima had to leave her baby with
Wilson’s parents and go to the city to find work. When she had extra money, she
sent it back home. The work was hard, and she was very lonely.
When she learned that the government was building a highway near Belem,
Fátima got a job cooking for the road construction workers so that she could stay
at home. It was there that she met Emanuel. He was handsome, had cash in his
pockets, and charmed her little girl when he came around after work. When the
work crew had to move on, he promised to return.
Emanuel did come back, but he never stayed long. He got a new job driving
trucks that kept him on the road most of the time. Fátima thought he probably
had other women, but he always told her she was his only one. They had
a baby boy, but he was small and sickly and died after a year.
Soon Fátima began to feel sick, too. The nurse at the health post
gave her different medicines, but nothing helped. Finally she
went to the hospital in the city. They did some tests, and told
her she had AIDS. When she asked how she could have AIDS,
the doctor replied, “You shouldn’t have slept with so many men.”
Fátima did not think she was at risk for HIV—she had only had
sex with 2 men in her life! She thought that only prostitutes and
homosexuals in the cities got HIV or AIDS.
Why did Fátima think she was not at risk for AIDS?
could get HIV
that as long
as SHE was
would not be
said he was
Fátima was at risk for getting AIDS, not because of her own
sexual behavior, but because of her partner’s.
➤ We share the risks
our partners take—
both the risks they take
now and any risks they
have taken in the past.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012