Betengna is AIDS Resource Centerâ€™s radio diaries program that airs diaries of people living with HIV and AIDS. The diaries aim to address the social and health issues people with HIV and AIDS face in their day-to-day lives and increase the public awareness and use of voluntary counseling and testing services, prevention of mother-to-child transmission services and antiretroviral treatments, among others.
Sirak was one diarist who told his story on Betengna five years ago. When Sirak first heard his own voice on Betengna, it was very frightening for him. He was uncomfortable when he thought of his relatives and neighbors possibly coming across his episodes and listening to them. Although at first Sirak was in this nerve-racking state, he was also relieved to be disclosing his feelings and secrets to the public weekly.
After a few weeks of telling his story, Sirakâ€™s self-confidence started to build. Then, he started to invite people he knew to listen to his story on the radio. He also began to disclose his HIV status more openly. Being a diarist at Betengna had given him the confidence to disclose his status to people and take control of his life.
After some time, Sirak started courting a lady who also was HIV-positive and got married shortly afterwards. He is now very pleased with and thankful for Betengna, which he believes was the means by which he discovered his inner strength.
This was not all. Not only did Sirak find his inner strength, he also felt that he needed to get his story out to as many people as possible. Fortunately, Sirak came across the author, Eyasu Gebremeskel, who listened to some of Sirakâ€™s stories on the radio and came to believe that if he wrote Sirakâ€™s story, many readers could learn some important lessons.
After Eyasu met the diarist, he listened to all of the episodes on Betengna and wrote Sirakâ€™s 113-page biography, which he had published. The book entitled â€śBAYNEGASâ€ť, which literally translated means - If it never Dawns, has sold 2000 copies of its 1st edition so far. Sirak believes that this book will teach many about the effects of peer pressure, addictions, how to protect oneself from HIV, the struggles for better life and having a positive living.
*To find the book please visit AIDS Resource Centerâ€™s Library at Dembel City Center, 9th floor.