Unlike many others Sadhana has an alter-ego, just like her changed name “Sadhana”. At the age of eighteen, when traces of maturity knocks softly, Sadhana has already a full of it with day long responsibilities of her HIV positive mother ant two younger twin siblings. In the absence of her father, who has abandoned his family accusing his wife to be inflicted with some dreaded disease and also who escapes the test from the fear of being inflicted with the same, it is daily an uphill task for Sadhana to get a square meal for her family. The fear and stress of board exams have been replaced by fear of losing her mother and stressful hardships which she has to bear everyday. For the past one year her life has been topsy-turvy since her mother has been reported HIV positive.
With no friends at school to talk, to share her tiffin, no friends at neighbourhood ready to play with her siblings, she faces this everyday animosity just because she has an HIV positive mother. Nobody even knows, including her father, what exactly her mother is suffering from. But being HIV positive, which everyone in her neighbour considers “something dreaded untouchable”, has made her mother a pariah.
The poor knowledge and curtailed information about this disease in our society has not only worsened the conditions of such patients but also of everyone related to them. The social boycott affiliated with this is a coup de grace for the right to life. The constant suffering degrades one’s own desire to live and retards the hope of slightest recovery. The irony of this intimidating disease is that at every social strata its facets are completely misunderstood and the gravity and understanding regarding it are replaced by various misconceptions and conservative approach, which ultimately leads to a road of sufferings for all those affected.
Supporting the treatment for six months of some lung disease at Rani Laxmibai Hospital, her mother’s master for whom she was a maid-servant, immediately fired her when it came to his notice that she was HIV positive. Even the doctor where she went for the treatment shamelessly knocked her out from his clinic as soon as he read her report. It made her to further hide her illness from the doctors where she had undergone the treatment. But constant deterioration in her mother’s health due to persistent fever and body cramps which had worsened her life determined Sadhana to decide for her proper treatment, for which she ultimately headed to the Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University (CSMMU). With daily up and down from her home to school to hospital and then again back to her home, her life has become a vicious circle since. Hardships of life have geared her mental level to a much more matured state where she aims to secure a job in order to provide better treatment for the mother and to feed her family.
But Sadhana is only one case, there are many who surrender before the life. Thus, without social aid and changed outlook these people who could otherwise prove productive for the world are now living a secluded life of anonymity. AIDS and HIV affected people are the victims of polarisation with society at the farther pole. The need is to bring these poles together not just for the betterment of these people, neither just for the sake of responsibility but for the true sake of humanity. In this context Media Nest, a forum for journalists, is supporting education of 60 HIV affected children with 200 registrations already done for the next year and is generating hope for Sadhana-like children to at least dream for their goals to be achieved. More and more NGOs, people’s initiatives and a grand hand of help from the government are urgently needed for providing a life to the HIV affected people. It is always to be borne in mind that India has a major portion of HIV positives in the world and they can not be ignored or neglected.