Vinita is 16 years old coming from a remote village in Namakkal district. It was one such day, on Saturday the 15th of September she had come with her mother for her routine health check –up and blood test. Till that day, she was not informed about why she was going through these tests and her parents had not told anything about HIV. Her parents are already on treatment, but when she enquired about it, they used to say to her reasons, other than HIV.
Only on that day, when she was tested, the counselor at the hospital had told her parents that her immunity was very low and so she has to take medicines against HIV and for this her status has to be disclosed to her. On knowing the status, her immediate response was “why me of all the people. It is a shame to live with the virus, I want to die.”
Beside the center, Shalini our peer leader and Karthik were conducting a support group session with other children living with HIV at the hospital premises. On hearing this, Geetha our staff and Shalini went ahead to enquire Vinita and a touch by Shalini helped Vinita to calm herself.
Slowly, after allowing her to share her emotions, Shalini shared her own life of living with HIV, coping with the infection and how she can be of support to other children living with HIV in the district. This helped Vinita to come out of the immediate stress of knowing her status and even realize that there is life beyond HIV infection. Shalini is following her up through phone calls and encouraging her on a constant basis.
Buds of Christ develops peer leaders like Shalini to be a support and positive influencer for children and young people living with HIV