Tests on two sisters who were shunned by their family and village on suspicion of being HIV-positive have confirmed they are infected with the virus. They are also suffering from tuberculosis.
The girls, aged 11 and 13, have been sent back to their village Anthwalgaon in Tehri district, a week after the administration brought them to Chamba. “Tests have confirmed both are HIV-positive. We are now waiting for the results of the CD-4 tests, which will give us an idea of their condition,” said Dr Rajesh Kumar of the Garhwal Community Development and Welfare Society, the Chamba-based NGO where the girls were brought.
“Both sisters are suffering from TB. We have started treatment and will assess their condition after two weeks,” said Dr K.S. Negi, in-charge of the AIDS unit at Doon Hospital, where the tests were conducted.
The siblings have been sent back on the assurance of their grandparents, Kumar said. A social worker has been posted there to ensure the children are not ill-treated. “Our aim is to ensure the girls stay with their community. But if we feel the villagers are hostile, we’ll try and rehabilitate them elsewhere,” he said.
The girls were brought to Anthwalgaon from Mumbai by their grandmother after their parents died of AIDS. But they were made to live in an abandoned house by themselves when doctors at a local hospital told the grandmother they were HIV-positive. HT wrote about them on November 6, and the same day, the Tehri district administration handed them over to the NGO.