Enabling HIV+ families to live healthy

Outreach workers create awareness on living a healthy life among HIV infected family.

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Pavni and Naresh Singh’s house is filled with the sound of welding machines. They are a prosperous family of four that includes their 4-year old daughter and 18-month old son. Pavni is 28 years old and she and her husband came to know they were HIV+ve when she was pregnant with her son. Presently, she, her husband and their daughter are HIV positive; however, only her husband is on ART. She and her daughter have registered in the pre-ART, but they enjoy healthy CD4 count so they haven’t started the medication yet. Naresh is a civil contractor in Mumbai and operates a welding workshop at their house. On asking Naresh on how he got HIV, he reveals, “I was once given blood after I lost one toe in an accident. I must have got it then. I have never had multiple partners or indulged in risky behavior.”

Naresh reminisces about his life since he found out about his HIV status, “It has been two years since I got to know I am HIV+ve but I am not tense about it. I stay fit and motivate other HIV patients to live life normally and take medicines. I am right now helping my nephew and his family who are living with HIV. I started my medicine the moment I came to know about my HIV at the Bali hospital during my wife’s pregnancy two years back. I protested at first when the doctor asked me to take a test but later I acceded. Since then, I have taken my medicines regularly. My family members and the neighborhood aren’t aware of our condition. I didn’t even tell my wife at first. It took her time to understand. My son is taking regular cotrimoxazole doses and other medications on time and I am planning to get his test done once the test kits are available.”

Sartaj the outreach worker from IHAT has been in touch with the family ever since he was diagnosed HIV+ve.  Naresh says, “She has helped us understand HIV and motivated us to lead a normal and panic-free life. Sartaj has regularly visited and reminded me to take my medication and about our hospital visits. She has helped to clear the myths related to HIV. We lead a confident life thanks to her efforts. Sartaj has been helping other people I know who are HIV+ve. I refer any case I come across to her.”

Naresh is very positive about his future. “We have sufficient land here. My parents, both aging now, live nearby. I am planning to shut my Mumbai business and continue with this welding shop here and start a tiles shop at Phalna. I am not worried about our HIV. I take my life as normal. I like fresh farm produce and milk products and provide a good diet to my family. My immediate concern is to get my son checked for HIV as soon as the test kits arrive.”