Telemedicine Initiative: to improve lives of people living w/ HIV
An estimated 250,000 people are infected with HIV, including 5,000 children in northern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Over 17,000 deaths due to HIV has been reported in Tamil Nadu. Sunitha (name withheld) and her mother are among them. This is their story of resilience and courage in the face of all odds.
Sunitha (name withheld), lost her father when she was six years old. Her father was diagnosed with HIV in 2002, a year after she was born. Her mother, Kalaiselvi and elder brother, Subbu were also found to be positive
After the community came to know about the HIV status of Sunitha and her mother, they faced exclusion.After the death of her husband, Kalaiselvi works as a daily labourer, earning less than $ 2 a day.
Travelling to the ART centre in Krishnagiri, located 50 km from her house in Opparapattii, is a monthly ordeal for Sunitha and her mother.It takes over two hours to reach the ART Centre. From their village they trudge 4 km to reach the bus stop.
Sunitha, now 12 years, supports her mother with household chores. She fetches water from the community water supply point located 800 metres from her thatched house.
Sunitha, after coming back from school, grinds rice to prepare their staple food Idli (steam rice pancake).
For Sunitha, her only friends are the chickens. She spends her free time playing with them and waits for her mother’s return from work.
Sunitha, after completing her household chores, goes to school everyday. Excepting the day she visits the health centre, she is always present in the school. Though she has a long path to trudge but she feels her indomitable will to be a teacher will be realized one day.
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