Article:ETHIOPIA: I knew the risk I was taking, but my family had to eat
By day, Aster Beyene [not her real name], 21, is a saleslady at a boutique in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa; by night she attends computer school. After losing her mother and older brother to AIDS-related illnesses, Beyene has been left with the responsibility of feeding and clothing her remaining siblings. "Even though I am the last born, I have experienced the struggle for survival first hand, and I vowed to rescue my family from the pit of poverty that seemed to get worse as the days went by. A middle-aged guy who lived next door had always had his eye on me, but I never considered going out with him before the problems at home.
I pushed all the frightening thoughts aside and opted to have a relationship with him; in return, he offered to give me money, including my tuition for night school. Despite repeated warnings from people in my community that he was infected with the HIV, I continued having sexual relations with him without protection. I was aware of what was at stake, but my family relied on me to provide for them and I felt I had no other option.