STOP PRESS – Bonus day on donations is coming up, we will be in touch!
Aishwarya is 17. She tested positive for HIV in 2012. She lost her mother to HIV when she was eight and her father shortly afterwards. She lives with her maternal aunt and was doing well at school and taking her tablets properly, then all this changed. It wasn’t that Aishwarya didn’t know all the facts because she has often attended our meetings – the trouble was that she is in love with an HIV negative boy. The boy knew her status and promised to marry her when she is 18 – whether she takes tablets or not. Aishwarya was worried that the news would leak out if she collected and took tablets and his parents would put a stop to the whole affair. Fortunately our volunteers and staff are trained to manage these difficult situations, but it took a few visits. Aishwarya is back on treatment and if the couple are determined to marry, the boy and his family will need counselling as well.
Thanks for the tremendous support from individual and corporate donors, and GlobalGiving itself. Now that the Indian Covid 19 situation is, for the moment at least, relatively under control we have re-structured our work with kids and young adults with HIV.
The positive women’s networks in two of the six Districts where we work have raised their own funds and have the capacity and motivation to monitor and support children and adolescents with HIV on their own – we will stay in touch and continue to learn from them. We are now taking up three new Districts after consultation with the local government authorities, HIV networks and others. Staff have been appointed and baseline data is being collected.
In the past three months 640 positive children were followed up in the four Districts, seven of these are newly identified.
Again there were strict Covid-related travel restrictions for one and a half months so the Networks contacted children, their guardians and other adults (including 49 widows) by phone or home visit to check their tablet availability and health status. The data was cross checked with government treatment centre records and Networks ensured that 610 out of 630 children received their drugs on time, using volunteers to deliver them when required. As usual a small number of children could not be traced. Six children were newly started on treatment, four out of the 17 children ‘lost to follow-up’ were restarted and two out of three children who point blank refused treatment were re-started. 28 children who were not regularly collecting tablets have been made regular. 42 care takers (28 men and 14 women) were counselled in detail for various reasons, 11 for the first time. 14 young women (including Aishwarya) and 16 young men, all with HIV, were given marriage guidance counselling. Eight marriages are known to have taken place: all married HIV Positive spouses.
In just three months the Networks arranged for 232 children to get government financial support and 313 received nutritional support from the government. Arogya Agam also provided food items during the lock down to 160 orphaned or single parent positive children using funds from India’s biggest philanthropist – Azim Premji Foundation.
Thanks for your past and future support – please stay safe, this Pandemic is not over and certainly not for kids with HIV in India.
With best wishes,
John Dalton, Founder
[Note: Names changed and photos are representative]