Through Positive Eyes

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My name is Esther, I live in the Artibonite, St Marc, and I have been living with HIV/AIDS for 20 years. Poverty is the number one reason why we can’t control the HIV virus in this country. I realized that a lot of other people do not have the support my family gave me. That is why I created the Foundation Ester Bousicault Stanislas (FEBS), in order to provide support to as many HIV/AIDS individuals as possible.

My daughters are always present in my mind, they are the youth, and I recognize the power of engaging the next generation. That is why in this project (Through Positive Eyes) I am the actress and my daughter is the photographer. When I was pregnant with Stephanie, she was born positive but then sero-converted and became HIV-negative. I suffered so much, I told myself it was not possible to suffer this much and not be able to say out loud that I have HIV. First, I decided to go on the radio. It was World AIDS Day and a lot of young people were present. They threw things at me, they cursed at me. That hurt me a lot. But after that I decided to go on TV. I made a documentary on my life called Esther, a positive account of my story, and how I live my life. I removed the veil. I told myself it was unbelievable that no one before me had done that. If someone had, maybe I would not be sick today. I wanted to give a face to AIDS, because it was not right to suffer so much alone.

I love photography, it reminds me of all the good in my life. This is what gives me strength and the reason why today, after 20 years, I am still alive. I adore my two daughters and the support and love that they give me sustains me. In our country the pumpkin symbolizes friendship. This pumpkin represents for me my pregnancies, the support my children give me, and the positive relationship we share.

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