Being HIV positive

Hello!!!

I am Rex, I am HIV positive. I contacted HIV through my mother. She was not aware of her HIV status, no precautions while delivery and while breast feeding were taken, and unfortunately I got HIV.

My mother fell ill, 2 months after I was born, my father took her to hospital, where after some tests, and the doctor concluded that she was HIV positive.

She died after 6 months, not because of HIV or AIDS but because of lack of awareness, support and social stigma.

My father and mother kept silence about her being HIV and took no measures what so ever. Who was going to answer all the questions family, friends and society would ask? My father also died within a year, he was scared to take the test, it was he who gave HIV to my mother.

I am 16 years old now, living a normal life, thanks to the Mr. and Mrs. Mehta who adopted me in spite of me being HIV positive.

Recently I went to a HIV boot camp session organized by Wake Up Pune a coalition of NGOs and representatives from civil society working to spread awareness about HIV and AIDS in the city of Pune, India.

I met a lot of HIV positive people there, yes a lot of HIV positive people.

Contrary to what may come in your mind, they were not infected with HIV but they were HIV positive, confused huh?

They were positive…

  • positive about educating themselves and others about HIV and AIDS 
  • positive about raising awareness in our wider community
  • positive about reaching out to people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.

The boot camp was attended by young citizens from variety of backgrounds, some working in IT sector, some studying in college, some doing research, some social workers and some enthusiasts.

Everyone had fun while educating themselves about HIV. I would have love to put up all the things we did in boot camp, but then I feel, attending one is more interesting than reading. I am simply going to put some facts and activities.

To introduce ourselves to each other and to break the ice we played a game. Everyone was given a chit with some text written on it. Two zones were formed “Men are from the Mars” and “Women from Venus”. No we were not discriminating people based on gender. The chit given to each individual contained a text like “I had an orgasm.” the individual had to decide where the text belonged, at mars or Venus.

Once people found the zone they belonged to they had to justify why they thought it belonged to mars or Venus. If they could not they had to switch the places. Finally after discussing each individual’s chit, those who thought they could belong to either Mars or Venus (I had orgasm, I am a builder, I am a receptionist, I masturbate etc) were asked to come down to earth.

Secondly we had an interactive information session about HIV and AIDS. Esther the organizer/anchor conducting the boot camp asked what does HIV stands for, and to my dismay we got abbreviations like

Highly Infected Virus, Human..Hmmm Virus, Human Immune Virus etc.

I was really really surprised that people with access to so much information were not aware even about the full form of HIV.

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
It attacks you immune system, it causes AIDS, but being infected does not mean one is suffering from AIDS or is ill. It is a chronic condition, just like diabetes.

We discuss what all body fluids can transmit HIV

There are only four bodily fluids that can transmit HIV:
• Blood
• Semen
• Vaginal fluid
• Breast milk (only in the context of breastfeeding from mother to child)

HIV can be transmitted through four ways

  1. Unprotected sex with infected person.
  2. Through exposure to infected blood transfusion.
  3. From infected mother to Child.
  4. Sharing infected needles.

                      

We went on discussing each point in details and the percentage/chances of infecting HIV through each way.

We then had a session on Sex and Sexuality and disruptive theatre. We had a lot of fun that day.

Esther did a wonderful job.

I really felt good, meeting so many HIV positive people. We also got a great T-shirt which had HIV positive printed on it, for free. I am going to wear it on every possible occasion. Here are few pictures of the boot camp.

Here are some facts about HIV.

Official figures report that 1.8% of the population has already contracted HIV (NACO 2002), double the national average and almost twice the WHO epidemic mark of 1%.

HIV transmission modes in India (NACO)

Transmission Category

Percentage

Sexual

85%

Mother-to-child

4%

Blood & blood products

2%

Injecting drug use

2%

Others (not specified)

6%

In the city of Pune, NACO (2002) reports that 1.8% of the population has already contracted the virus, almost twice the WHO epidemic mark of 1%!

I would like to thank Wake Up Pune for enlightening me.

I hope that you too will become HIV positive and not regret it. 

Useful Links

World AIDS Campaignwww.worldaidscampaign.info

AVERTwww.avert.org

Changing Concepts in HIV (CCHIV)www.cchiv.com

Wake Up Pune – www.wakeuppune.org

 

22 thoughts on “Being HIV positive

  1. Thank you for this post. HIV has such a stigma…I apprectiate your efforts to help others understand what it is like for you and others with HIV. You should write more on the subject…

    Sharad: I will.. I will.. thanks for stopping by and reading.Keep visiting. 🙂

  2. Indeed a very nice story…Awareness, education,understanding…i guess people tend to ignore.

    Sharad: Yes they do… Silence.ignorance..fear,,stigma discrimination…the cycle continues…

  3. Great post..very informative..I didn’t knew breast milk transmits the virus..It is very sad when passive people get infected for no reason of theirs..I recently read a report where almost all infected indian women were faithful in their marriage..So,who is the culprit-the ‘husband’..I really don’t know how to react in these situations..Forget asking them to be faithful,atleast why don’t they use protection while having sex outside marriage..These guys should be stamped with non removable green tatoo on their forehead that “I am a cheater and hence a HIV patient” and they should die of shame each moment they breathe.. what wrong did the wife and the baby do…Nobody is going to admit that they are infected,so they wanna spread the virus to as many people as possible before they die..

    More depressing is those people’s conditions who get infected through blood transfusion and all..Don’t you think you and me too are vulnerable to this? Those authorities who are careless in checking blood before receiving from an infected person should be injected HIV Virus so that they will now what it means to be careful and what does life mean to somebody else..

    I have no sympathy for people who get infected through sharing needles during drug usage..Sorry,i am stone hearted..

    But i am bothered about tthe other side of this needle issue,both you can me can get infected this way..Don’t be deluded to think that you are safe bcoz you use disposible syringe..Read reports on people collecting used needles from back doors of hospitals and repacking them and producing for sale..

    In short,I don’t think that i will never get affected simply bcoz i am faithful in marriage and bcoz i dn’t use drugs..
    Sorry if i sounded rude or arrogant..Im just feeling bad about all what is happening around..

    Sharad: See even if we think we are aware what HIV is.. there is something we might not know.. half knowledge is a dangerous thing.Completely agree… you and me are equally vulnerable to it..but I don’t agree of injecting virus to anyone, they will spread it to more people….and no the reapacked needle cannot cause HIV as the virus cant survive for long when exposed to air.And don’t get offended but even if you are faithful in marriage and you don’t use drug, you can get infected with HIV. Better be safe than Sorry!!!

  4. @ Sharad : I know of this guy who used to work in a handicraft center and was thrown out when it came out that he had HIV. The guy now works with a social worker in a hospital here. Discrimination against people who have various diseases in India is not only limited to HIV, it also extends to people who have contracted TB who might suffer from Epilepsy or seizure disorders and those who might have some physical limitations.

    Sharad: Yeah it is not just limited to HIV, but with HIV people look at you as if you have commited some grave sin. It is sad…that is why education is required.

  5. A very good article…

    Guess we Indians still are way behind in expressing our opinions and thots on the topics of ‘Sex’.. its still looked upon as a taboo topic even tho its the most natural thing…

    The initiative taken up to spread awareness on AIDS is highly appreciated and Kudos to you for having taken time to attend the worshop and share it with us…

    keep up the good work…

    Sharad: Thanks Karuna… yes we are way behind 🙂

  6. This is a very informative post on HIV and the knowledge you gained and shared is invaluable.

    On a lighter note, I bet you are going to get a lot of search engine hits over “I had orgasm”!!! 🙂

    Sharad: 🙂 yes..the information is valuable…and sharing it was important too..abt the traffice..hope so…. 🙂

  7. Very nice post 🙂
    Sharing a nice thought. There are lot of NGOs coming up and instill the confidence into the HIV infected people. Glad to see these things happening around us.
    But As Nimmy said everybody is vulnerable to it.

    Sharad: Thanks!! yes everybody is vulnerable, and that is why information about HIV is so important 🙂

  8. Good to hear it. The only problem of HIV and AIDS is people don’t want to talk about it, don’t you think so? (I am talking about common people)

    Sharad: Yes, people are ignorant and still they do not talk about it. HIV is looked so in close with SEX, and you know how taboo talking about sex is considered in India

  9. There are so many situations all over around us, that we are not every time aware of. You brought into attention a real problem, HIV and AIDS, the story of a HIV person, his feelings, his desires, his need to understand and to be accepted. Ignorance is what makes people judge and not understand. And this happens all over the world. Thanks for posting this, it reminded me how important is to be informed about everything.

  10. O yesss, thanks this is EXACTLY what I was referring to as one of the fallouts of prejudice and one eyed practises of targetting an industry or staling over amneding IPC377 making it dificult for Outreach interventions where it is most tridently required and NOW!
    Theres Birbhum in WB, migrating labourers, and then I read abt and thru friends wrkng in the filed came to know abt whole villages in the south having HIV infected population of women and children, they say every child born there is positive as the mother passes it on, and then you have thse generations of children growing up alone, neglected spawning another generation maladjusted probably emotionally crippled people.

    It isnt just abt AIDS or Dying or being HIV positive. The social repurcussion is so huge and scary and when women who are going to raise and release another life into the workforce isnt conscious of realities – its even more frightening.

    The money tht comes in from NACO to states dont even get fully utilized, out of twenty million tht had come in 2005-06, WBSACS cd only use a few lakhs in Awareness Campaigns and the targetted intervention was negligible accrding to leading NGOs working for this.

    Am so excited to have found you! Thanks for leading me here, saves me research for Harshad, I had promised him figs, now wd simply direct him here (lazy monkey -easy going Sagittarian?! yeah 😉 Idont worry abt him he is only twenty somethng kid, who is misguided but wth brains, one just needs to work on him, u shd read what he wrote abt why we dont love anymore, made me want to cry, he is nice really, doesnt know enuf thts all)

    cant thank u enuf for this well thought out, brilliantly presented post, and well timed – high time we all got seriously involved.

  11. It is now a battle or it should be, if ur figs n wht the papers r (TOI) saying, is rght. I had read the report where UN had said we are sitting on a time bomb.

    It is no longer simply abt a disease or sexual practices that we ‘think’ of as ‘not normal’ or amending or not amending a Law anymore is my point.

    It is the question about the capacity of a society to come to terms with human realities and differences of basic, organic sorts. In what direction are we civilizing exactly if we havent learned to accept and cope?

  12. @ Trisha

    Welcome to the blog 🙂 No post is long..in fact I love long comments 🙂 I am not sure, but I too think that the money is not utilized by the states, and my figs( 😆 ) and toi is absolutely right, we are sutting on a time bomb,and we do not know the time it is set to explode 😦

    I am so glad that you liked this post. Keep visting.

  13. yes.wd. 🙂 u do post a lot of em smileys…the link is thre in one of his cmmnts at my site
    do-not-know-whn is y th gvt shd gear up too beta,unless u want to explode n then implode n then get back wth wht is left at the job lol

  14. After reading all of ur opinions, i reach a conclusion that u r the real heros. I want to be a servant of people who r suffering from such kind of Diseases.

    Appreciate your feelings, but we are no heros, we are just doing our bit.

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