Mascot of anti-AIDS campaign Bency loses battle against death

End of a fight

Mascot of anti-AIDS campaign Bency loses battle against death


The case of Benson and Bency was one of the earliest publicly reported instances of HIV positive children in the country at a time when an AIDS patient moved around with a lot of stigma. It was in 2002 that the siblings who hailed from Kaithakuzhy in Kollam district were diagnosed with the deadly infection, months after their mother succumbed to AIDS. She had contracted the disease from her husband Chacko who was employed in Mumbai and died of the disease later on.

The discrimination shown towards the siblings drew national attention when they were thrown out of private and government-run schools following protests from parents of other children. Deccan Herald had reported how the children of almost the entire Government Lower Primary School at Kaithakuzhy stayed away in protest against their presence. Following this, separate classes were arranged for the children at home. In 2003, the duo along with their grandfather Geevarghese had staged a dharna in front of the Government Secretariat here demanding justice from social ostracism.

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