An orphanage in Gandhidham in Kutch district of Gujarat asked two minor boys to leave after they tested positive for HIV. The brothers, aged six and nine, were brought to the Jeevan Prabhat orphanage, run by the local Arya Samaj, about three months ago by their maternal uncle.
Since the boys were constantly falling ill, doctors recommended that they be tested for the HIV virus. Alarmed with the positive results, the Arya Samaj authorities contacted their uncle who refused to take any responsibility.
The boys were finally handed over to a local NGO, the Kutch Network of Positive People (KNPP), and are now living with a volunteer.
Justifying the orphanage’s action, Vachonidhi Arya of the Gandhidham Arya Samaj, said: “Children aged from 4 to 16 years live here. The others might get infected by the two boys. We just didn’t want to take a risk.”
The orphanage houses 162 children orphaned by the 2001 Gujarat quake. “Our orphanage is not a project for the care of HIV positive people,” added Arya.
KNPP president Uma Shanker Pandey said the boys’ mother had died few a years ago and their father was mentally unstable. The NGO is trying to get bigger agencies to arrange for their medical and daily care, Pandey told HT.