Nearly 75% of the 39,000 people living with HIV in Nepal are not receiving the treatment they need. AIDSLink Nepal, working in the capital (Kathmandu), and surrounding villages helps people living with HIV regain hope and dignity in a holistic manner by: improving access to medical treatment including antiretroviral therapy (ART), counselling individuals and families, and empowering them through increased knowledge and understanding.
Access to HIV testing and ART continues to be a challenge for those who live outside Kathmandu. Once tested positive, a person needs to travel to the city hospital to begin treatment for a supervised two week period. Those who manage to find the time and travel the distance often do not have sufficient finances for accommodation, and therefore end up sleeping in slum-like conditions, further compromising their already fragile health.
AIDSLink Nepal: *Runs Asha Deep (Hope & Light) Crisis Care Centre; HIV patients from outside Kathmandu can stay there whilst outpatients at the hospital. *Has two staff members in rural areas to support those who can't get to Kathmandu. *Conducts home and hospital visits to offer personal care and support. *Sponsors children of HIV affected families to ensure they stay in school. *Conducts awareness and prevention workshops and meetings. *Distributes Nepali educational material.
The majority of AIDSLink Nepal's staff are from the local community and living with HIV. Their personal stories help restore client's hope, assuring them that HIV is not a death sentence and breaking a sense of isolation. People living with HIV and their families are encouraged to attend a monthly support group where teaching, encouragement and counselling are available. This is especially valuable for those who are experiencing stigma and rejection and are in need of practical encouragement.