Julius has been living with AIDS for eight years. His struggle was private but now it is public knowledge. He lives in Arusha, Tanzania.
First came years of inner battle with the disease. Then he lost his wife to AIDS in 1996. Then he saw his carpentry business falter and fail as customers found out that he had HIV. But the temptation to hide the facts was great. Most of the time, he looked healthy enough.
Today Julius is part of a church support group. When a counselor from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania helped him come to terms with his condition, Julius asked for training in how to speak publicly about the disease. He wanted to share his story and educate others about HIV and AIDS. So Julius and four others church members went public.
The church has helped Julius and is helping many others to reduce the stigma of AIDS. They also show people that the disease is not transmitted through a persons workplace. Now Julius not only feels accepted, but his carpentry business has picked up again, too. Customers have realized they will not get AIDS from the furniture he builds.
As another local craftsman who is also living with AIDS puts it: What I build has as much beauty as it ever did, but now it includes dignity.
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