Nearly 17% of HIV-affected children in the state are orphans and are disowned by relatives, according to a survey conducted by a consortium of eight non-government organisations (NGOs) in the state.
The three-year survey, Chaha, was conducted among 21,000 HIV-affected children from ten cities and districts, including Mumbai and Pune. The findings were released on Tuesday.
In all these cases, it was found that the children acquired the disease from their parents.
“There is hardly any facility by the government, where children can receive counselling for the depression they undergo after losing their parents and being disowned by relatives,” said Shobha Puri (name changed), a member of Network of Maharashtra People Living with HIV (NMP+), one of the NGOs which contributed to the project.
The survey was conducted in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Manipur and was funded by Global Funds, an international financing institution. In Maharashtra, 38.4% of the children received counselling, as a part of the project, over the past six months. The survey also found that that 49% of the children have single parents, of which 38% are women.
“According to the survey, around 40% of the HIV-positive children have fallen ill in three months,” said Sonal Mehta, director of policy and programme development for India HIV-AIDS Alliance.