Stigma. It’s a frightful word. It’s a fearsome reality.
It exists in society, like a sore wound that refuses to heal. It festers and spreads, bringing down the superstitious and the educated alike. It echoes of a fear, that has existed since time immemorial.
HIV prevalence in India is reported at 0.3%. Doesn’t sound like much? Well, if you consider the large population, this percentage is equivalent to 2.1 million people.
Stigmatization of HIV refers to negative attitudes toward HIV positive people, and the injustices meted out to them as a result of it. It is a wide term that includes under its purview the mental, physical and emotional abuse HIV patients suffer in their day-to-day life.
What are the reasons for stigmatization of HIV?
Most often, a lack of awareness is the main cause. Many associate HIV with fear. A fear that remains deeply-rooted across generations. Society lacks an understanding of basic facts, such as how HIV is actually transmitted. People also have certain false notions in their minds about the disease.
This results in consequences such as social alienation of HIV positive people, loss of livelihood as well as their personal reputation. Further, research suggests social stigmas are directly linked to spread of HIV among the population. Due to the fear associated with it, HIV patients themselves fall prey to the false notions and beliefs. They become reticent and are unwilling to seek treatment or be tested.
Marginalization of individuals with HIV is of widespread concern. Even children are not spared the effects of this societal evil. Discrimination abounds, and as a result children’s development suffers.
Where does Faith come in?
Faith is a registered non-profit organisation in Jaipur, Rajasthan (India). It provides institutional care to children living with HIV/AIDS. Faith strongly believes that all children have a right to protection and care, support and a secure future.
Through this blog, we at Faith Sansthan aim to sensitize the world to the issue of HIV. This blog shall serve as a platform for the children. Their work, dreams and aspirations will be recounted. We will also cover the various activities and events that take place regularly at Faith Sansthan and the experiences of volunteers who devote their time to engaging the children and teaching them fundamental lessons of life.
The stories of the children will serve to inspire individuals around the world to help catalyze change in society today. Stick around for the journey and meet the super-talented children at Faith!