HIV infected woman struggles to make two ends meet

Panjim : She met him when he first time came over to her place with her brother as a guest, and she eventually developed a soft corner for this unknown man …this was love! After a couple of meetings, both decided to tie the knot. The girl’s family too approved the relationship.

Beena (name changed to protect identity), resident of Pernem north Goa fell in love with a migrant ‘cook’ working at a hotel in Goa and had married him six years ago and were even blessed with a son, a year after their marriage.

Beena’s joy was short lived. A few years later, the couple tested HIV+. Beena recalled how her husband’s health started deteriorating and after several tests for various ailments, he tested positive for HIV. Her world of dreams came crashing down when she too tested positive. A silver lining in the dark cloud however was their son tested HIV negative.

From Gomantak Times, Goa.

“I have handled the situation bravely but still kept our families in the dark about our status,” said a strong willed Beena to GT.

Beena added that after some time her husband lost his will power to work and he was getting feeble day- by – day and it affected his attendance at work. “I try to console him, but the fear of death haunted him,” revealed Beena.

Today her husband is no more. He later passed away of tuberculosis. It was reported that around 15% HIV/AIDS patients develop tuberculosis and hence die due to this.

“My family later came to know that my husband died of AIDS and although I stay with them, I, m most unwanted and have no place to go,” sighs Beena. My family however are not aware about my status till date, she says, but disclosed that her sister-in-low always ill-treats and abuses her.

“My family is forcing me to go in for a HIV test but only my youngest sister knows about my status and has promised to keep it a top secret,” Beena said. Today she is struggling to make a living to feed herself and her son and earns her livelihood as a social worker to provide peer counseling to the other PLHAs at the Positive Lives Foundation (PLF-GOA) and enjoy my work very much helping other like me who are in same situation.

I do my field work at the ART centre Goa Medical College (GMC) and Hospital, Bambolim as well various service provider to make a follow up on those who are on ARV and further referral; I am closely associated as a board member with Positive Lives Foundation (PLF-GOA) that works for positive people in Goa. “I feel so sacred to work for the people infected with HIV/AIDS,” She said.

Jaffer Inamdar, Founder of the association Positive Lives Foundation (PLF-GOA) said that there were several instances of a Goan girls marrying outsiders without knowing their background.

“This is the third case that I am dealing with and appeal to people not to get married to anyone before going in for a HIV test,” he advised. Dr. Savio Rodrigues, HoD of Department of Microbiology, GMC in his talk at the recently concluded two days workshop on HIV/AIDS had divulged that around 30 percent women in Goa were tested positive for HIV/AIDS.

The society retains its stigma over HIV/AIDS and there are numerous cases where in person is discarded not only from the society but also their own homes for being infected with HIV/AIDS.

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