'Women with HIV still treated as outcasts'

Nearly 72% of women living with HIV/AIDS revealed that they were being treated as outcasts by the society, according to a study. (PTI Photo)

Nearly 72% of women living with HIV/AIDS revealed that they were being treated as outcasts by the society, according to a study.

“Some among the 200 women I had interviewed were also thrown out of their houses,’’ said Laveena D’Mello quoting from the findings of her thesis, "A sociological study of HIV positive women in Dakshina Kannada district.’

Laveena was awarded doctoral degree by Mangalore University recently.

She said 90.5% of the women, infected with HIV, had revealed that their presence makes many people uncomfortable.

“A son is even hesitant to hand over the money to his mother and throws them on the table," recollected Laveena, presently working as Assistant Professor in Social Work department at Srinivas Institute of Management Studies.

The thesis, completed under the guidance of Govindarju B M, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Mangalore University shockingly revealed that 50.5% of hospital staff were violating the rights of people living with HIV.

Elaborating, she said 13% of her respondents, during the interview, had admitted to being kept in isolation by hospital staff.

“Seven per cent among the respondents, hailing from rural areas like Kinnigoli, were refused medical treatment in the nearest hospital and were forced to travel long distances in order to avail treatment in Wenlock hospital,’’ Laveena told DH.

Thus, it did not come as a surprise to the researcher when 85.5% of the respondents revealed that they had not shared their HIV status with their parents or children.

“The society has to treat HIV like any other disease. More people should be made aware of social inclusion of HIV positive people, particularly women, and help in reducing the stigma and discrimination in society,” Laveena said.

Thus, 67% of respondents had expressed the need for financial, psycho-social and medical support from the government not to live long but lead a happy life. 


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