This month the peer leaders of the support group came together to discuss on the need for disclosure among the peers, especially in encouraging new members to the support group to live life positively.
The need emerged when one adolescent 17 year old is the only one infected in the family who was infected in her small age through blood transfusion and her parents had disclosed her status recently.
She was informed about her status, as her CD4 level was very low and was advised to start ARV treatment. As she has very limited information she was not able to accept her status.
So the support group of adolescents decided the need to openly share their status in helping new members of the group to help them accept the status.
Vanitha expressed that she was prepared to be open about her status, as she realized the importance and that Malini’s disclosure has helped her to start her treatment and manage the side effects of ARV.
“If Malini had not openly shared about her living with HIV and the ARV treatment, I would have stopped my medications as soon as I started, as the side effects affected me so much. But because Malini already expressed how she had problems of side effects and how she had managed it, it helped me so much to cope with infection”.
For Karthik, he expressed disclosure by a peer was very essential as he shared that when he was told about his HIV status he could not accept it, as he again was the only one living with HIV in the family. He expressed that it took him nearly three years to accept and become responsible over his health, until her made another peer member through the support group.