Kids with HIV demand their space

Kids with HIV demand their space

The state-level public hearing, conducted by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and coordinated by Action Aid, will be held at Christ College in Bangalore on Thursday, with case studies from majority of districts being discussed and documented. A similar hearing was already held at Hyderabad few weeks ago, which forced NCPCR to take a closer look at the situation in other states too. Maharashtra is the next stop by, for this hearing process.

With India waking up to the first case of AIDS in 1986, there is at least one generation that has known HIV/AIDS as part of the life. They are denied admission to schools, caretakers shun them, hostels don’t admit them and most importantly, when they lose their parents, they lose their relatives too. This generation, majority of them being teenagers with tendencies just as their counterparts, are trying to understand their physical and mental changes, are trying to discover their sexuality too. All this as they manage the ‘HIV positive’ status, and coping with the bereavement of their family members.

According to World Health Organisation, there are about 1.2 million children living with HIV/AIDS in India alone. Collating data pertaining to the children who died of complications arising from HIV/AIDS started as late as 2007.

Recently, Mysore hosted South East Asia’s first Paediatric AIDS Conference at Infosys Campus. “With chances of to-be mother passing on the infection to the child having come down with modern drugs, it is essential to change the terminology from OVC to ‘children with hope and courage’,” says Dr S N Mothi, renowned Paediatrician who has organised the seminar and brought together experts from different parts of the world. Dr Mothi runs Asha Kiran, the only NGO in the state which provides free consultation, in patient facility and medicines along with counselling to people living with HIV/AIDS, with special focus on children.

“It is not the question of mere medicines. What we have on hand is a young boy or girl, who could be a teenager too, who needs special attention and counselling to manage his/her situation,” he said. The NGOs are hoping the new law ensuring social and economical security to children with HIV is framed soon enough to save the generation.