Every year, on 1st December, we celebrate World Aids Day. Celebration of most people (not infected with HIV) would be limited to wearing a red ribbon or posting about it on Social Media. This year I got a chance to do something different. As a part of CSR, we visited Desire Society, an NGO, which takes care of HIV infected kids.
Until the visit, I had never thought about the plight of these kids. Aids for me was a serious disease, transmitted sexually or via needles and to child via mother. I knew that people infected with HIV suffered from low immunity, social stigma and early death. There has been no cure found to cure AIDS.
Desire Society was found in Hyderabad 12 years ago. They have 5 centres in India, Hyderabad, Vishakapatnam, Delhi & 2 in Mumbai (Goregaon & Vashi) The Vashi centres is for boys and Goregaon centre is for girls. They did have couple of boys with them as they did not want to separate them from their sisters. The centre is mainly to take care of the HIV infected kids, however, negative kids are also taken care of in case their siblings are positive and they do not want to separate them. I was happy to know at least the kids have some family around. The kids in this centre were as young as 5 year old. They are being told about their disease so that they co-operate while taking medicines. They are counselled by the hospitals as well as the NGO Volunteers.
The kids are mostly orphans, their parents have passed away due to HIV and they are abandoned by their relatives. The hospitals co-ordinate with the NGOs so that they can take the kids to the orphanages. The HIV infected kids have to undergo tests every month. They have to take medication twice a day, without fail, else the virus would multiply and deteriorate their health. With such heavy dosage they need proper nutrition. The caretakers feed them soaked almonds, Pediasure with milk twice a day and home cooked food. The kids require intense care as they get infected with cold, cough and fever easily. After taking so much care, they can live up to 35 years of age.
The kids look like normal kids. They have desires and aspirations like normal kids. Someone wants to be a nurse, someone a scientist and someone else, a hairstylist. They would also have a desire to get married and have a family of their own. My heart goes out to these kids.
On this World Aids day, I vow to help these kids in whatever way I can. Join me in this pledge. Together we can make life of these kids a bit easier / better.