“HIV does not make people dangerous to know, so you can shake their hands and give them a hug: Heaven knows they need it.” – Princess Diana

1st December is the World AIDS Day and the theme for 2016  is “Access Equity Rights Now” -an attempt to reach the people with HIV who lack awareness, proper healthcare and support services. As per the statistics, globally 36.7 million people are living with HIV Aids, 1.8 million being children. Out of all the people in the world who are HIV Positive, only 60% know their status while the remaining 40% haven’t gotten themselves tested. This World Aids Day, let’s pledge to spread awareness about HIV and “de-stigmatize” the term, to treat HIV patients with respect and make efforts to provide them proper health care. Here are 6 inspirational stories of HIV-AIDS survivors that will leave you teary-eyed

  1. Straight. Indian. HIV Positive

 I often get asked what its like to be living as a heterosexual male with HIV. And of course there are the inevitable questions. Have you been with a man? Was the woman from Africa? Have you injected drugs? In short no, no, and no. I had sex without a condom, got unlucky, and caught HIV.

 

 

When Tom Hayes was tested HIV positive, he was overpowered by fear of rejection and death. He feared that his family would disown him. He felt shameful of his diagnosis and went through a long period of 12 months without taking proper meds. Being a straight guy, he was a minority in his support group. Even after he got acceptance from his family, he felt the need to protect his family members from the community who would judge them for accepting him.

 

Full Story: http://www.beyondpositive.org/2014/08/26/straight-indian-hiv-positive-story/

 

2. At the hospital, they refused to let me wait in the women’s queue and the men objected when I stood in theirs.

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Noori Mohammed from Chennai, a transgender was diagnosed with HIV in 1983, four years after HIV virus was discovered. She details the horrific experience as she wasn’t allowed to seek proper medical treatment – women didn’t allow her to stand in their line and men objected when she stood in theirs. Noori had been a commercial sex worker when she got infected with HIV. In her own words, she was looked at with “disgust” and “hatred”.

 

Full Story: http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/life-style/the-life-positive-2903904/

 

3. Even before the confirmatory HIV test report was given to me, I was told to quit. It was a terrible time

 

Pandian, a 24-year old man contacted HIV-Aids through a blood transfusion. ’90s was a hard time to be affected by AIDS due to lack of healthcare services and support groups. He stayed positive and survived and broke all stereotypes and stigmas by marrying an HIV positive woman in 1999. They had a girl who does not have HIV.

 

Full Story: http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/life-style/the-life-positive-2903904/

 

4. I hope that my daughter never encounters discrimination and that she does not live with the apprehension of being outed as the daughter of a positive person.

North East India has registered the largest number of cases of HIV-AIDS and children of an HIV-Positive person are often treated badly, whether affected or not. L. Deepak Singh who is a social worker writes:

“I am 48 and have lived with the virus for most of my life. My wife and daughter are not infected and I make that extra effort to ensure their safety. I hope that my daughter never encounters discrimination and that she does not live with the apprehension of being outed as the daughter of a positive person.”

Full Story: http://www.thebetterindia.com/39386/hiv-aids-northeast-india/

5. While we fight the battle of our life, people do not want us near them.

Imphal based Ibemcha Devi and her 5-year old child Thoi Thoibi , both of them being HIV Positive are caught in a legal family battle where the other party wants them to die so that they can take over their fathers’ property. “All they want is for us to die”. Ibemcha, a single mother of a 5 year old HIV Positive girl sells soap and detergent to make ends meet.

Full Story: http://www.thebetterindia.com/39386/hiv-aids-northeast-india/

6. I’m 19, HIV Positive and Refuse to conceal my name

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Akshara S Kumar from Kerela in a bold move, refused to conceal her identity and admitted that she was HIV Positive. She studied Psychology in WIRAS College and the day it became a known fact that Akshara had HIV, two sets of parents removed their daughters from her hostel, her teachers called her “socially challenged”and asked her to leave the hostel. College authorities asked her to shift to a charitable trust, but Akshara asked her principle to shift her to a decent hostel or give her a transfer certificate so she could attend some other college.

 

Why should I hide anything about myself? I haven’t done anything wrong”.

Full Story: http://everylifecounts.ndtv.com/19-hiv-positive-refuse-conceal-name-1497