Growing up, my aunt used to emphasise that marriage for a woman was the ultimate goal and a symbol of dignity. Now after being thrown out of my matrimonial home by my first husband, infected with AIDS and left with two children in my second marriage, I realize that a professional career is a better option in life than marriage.
The day I went for my HIV test still remain etched in my mind. Prior to the decision to go for a test, my husband had been admitted at his work place hospital. He was a mine worker and when news reached me that he was in hospital, I thought it had to do with an accident in the mines. We had not seen each other for close to three months because I was staying at our rural home while he was working at Shurugwi Mine, 200 kilometres away.
He was not a pretty sight when I visited him in the ward. I had never imagined that a person would change from robust and vigorous to a hopeless and miserable, all within three months. There was no one from his family to support him. The doctors advised that we both undergo the HIV test. I could not refuse. My husband’s disposition had shocked me. I underwent a brief counseling session. It was around 1500 hours when I was called for the results. They were positive. I blacked out despite the counseling. I could not face my children, my family, my community and the church. How would I break the news?
Ten years on, I have come to grips with my situation. My husband died eight months after we had taken the test. I now live in a different city with my daughter who is now married. I am a small scale business woman. At the age of 45, I realize that I should have taken better decisions in life. Marriage is good only when you are on equal terms with the husband. All the problems I faced came about because the men had financial control over me and could make individual decisions on family issues. They also decide when to use contraceptives and condoms, exposing women to all the dangers related to sex. I advise girls to concentrate on building something of their own before they get into marriage.