Stigmatized, three HIV+ sisters commit suicide

BHAVNAGAR (Gujarat): Three young HIV positive sisters from the coastal village of Khadsaliya, about 25km from Bhavnagar, ended their lives by drinking pesticide on Friday night.  

Preliminary investigation suggests that the family members felt stigmatized due to their disease. The police said that the mother and brother of the deceased had died of AIDS four years ago. And sources said that whenever the sisters ventured out occasionally, they were treated as untouchables.  

“We will investigate whether the stigma forced them to take this extreme step,” investigating officer J R Zala of Vartej police station said.


Krushnaben (16), Rekhaba (12) and Dakshaba (10) were daughters of a marginal farmer Vinubha Gohil, who is also HIV positive.  

The family lived in an isolated house in a small orchard on the outskirts of the village, where they had two bighas (12 acres) of land. The sisters consumed pesticide around 11pm on Friday when they were alone at home. By the time their father arrived the situation had become critical. He informed other family members and an ambulance was called though Rekhaba and Dakshaba had died. Krushnaben died at a hospital in Bhavnagar.  

A senior officer at the Gujarat State AIDS Control Society, Gandhinagar, said that the youngest of the three sisters, Dakshaba, was HIV negative. “It is a tragic incident as we had the family registered but the father had developed a false perception that the medicines were harmful as his wife had died during treatment. Her infection was detected at the last stage,” said the official.  

“Vinubha Gohil even threatened to attack our workers who went to persuade him to take treatment. He is one of the 59,000 HIV postive patients registered with us,” he said.

Official sources said that there are 1,200 HIV positive patients registered in Bhavnagar district. “We are investigating the matter as the patients were registered with us,” Dr B N Vyas, district programme officer of an HIV/Aids government initiative said.

Times of India, June 5.

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