Social stigma makes life hell for HIV-infected orphan girl

  • Usmeet Kaur, None, Amritsar
  • Updated: Aug 05, 2015 11:09 IST

Life is miserable for 18-year-old HIV positive girl from Kapurthala after her parents died of AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) a few years back leaving her at the mercy of her uncle who “sold” her to a stranger.

After her parents died — her father died almost 10 years ago, while her mother breathed her last three years’ back — and her uncle playing treacherous role, the girl had nowhere to go.

More than the deadly disease, it was the social stigma involved with it that made her suffer a lot — alone.

Narrating her story to Hindustan Times, she said: “I lived with my parents at Kapurthala, but my life changed completely when my mother expired. I had no one to look up to. A social worker, who was close to my parents, took me to Amritsar and got me examined. I was found positive for HIV infection. However, after recommending me a centre for medication, he left me as he was hesitant to live with me with this disease.”

Life was hard to her when her uncle took her to Ludhiana and tried to convince her that she wasn’t HIV positive. “I was mistreated by my uncle and his family. They stopped my medication too. They kept on telling me that I had no disease as they had some other plan for me — I was sold to a driver from Barnala. At Barnala, I tried to convince the driver’s neighbours that I was an AIDS patient and needed regular check-up. The driver’s neighbours then started pressurising him to let me go, and thus, I left Barnala for Amritsar,” she recounted.

The teenage girl went to the centre, where she was being treated earlier, where doctors took her to a local NGO, and the NGO took her to Amritsar deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat. Since then, the administration has been taking care of her treatment and stay.

“Despite the government running awareness campaigns regarding AIDS, the teenager was subjected to discrimination by her relatives, which is unfortunate and disheartening. As she has been brought to us, it becomes our moral duty to take care of her and provide her best medical facilities and a comfortable stay,” said the DC.

At present, the girl is with the Red Cross, and does not want to return to her family.

“On August 16, I will turn 18 and thus I chose not to go back to my relatives.

In this regard, I had meetings with members of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), who after considering my wellbeing would announce their decision that would ultimately become my destiny.

For now, I am living happily under the administration’s supervision and I am sure whatever decision the committee takes that will be for my betterment. I will be a part of the decision making,” she added.

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