In Their Words - HIV/Aids Survivors



Harsh, Age 10, son of Mr. and Mrs. Balvinder (Both of them succumbed to HIV) was first tested positive for HIV at the Delhi Cantonment Hospital, (Maitri’s ICTC Centre) New Delhi on the 4th of September 2014. On the same day, he was taken to Aids Health Care Foundation where a confirmation test was done. The test confirmed that he was HIV positive after which the child’s CD4 count was taken (777). Soon after he was given his first Anti Retroviral Treatment redness and rashes were seen on the boy’s body, and were assumed to be a normal reaction to the medicine given. How ever, within the next few days, the patient had adverse effects including emaciation and flared ulcers both internally and externally.

On 17th of September 2014, the treatment still did not show any positive effect and the child’s health deteriorated with pus filled ulcers. The child was then taken back to the Aids Health Care Foundation on the 18th of September 2014 when they changed the medication given to the boy. On the 19th of September no change in symptoms was seen and the child remained in a critical condition. On the19th of September 2014, upon request of the boy’s aunt, Maitri intervened and admitted the child in Lott Carry Care Home in Tilak Nagar. The child was admitted there on the 19th of September 2014 and was treated for a period of three weeks during which Maitri provided financial aid for the child’s treatment and maintained a daily follow up on his progress. On 22nd September 2014 the child started showing minor improvement as his eyes partially opened and gradually showed increased progress in his overall health condition. Harsh was was discharged from Lott Carry Care Home on the 3rd October 2014 and will be receiving necessary continued treated along with a monthly ration allowance by the Lott Carry Care Home, indefinitely.

Ram Kumar

Devastating Diagnosis

“Ram Kumar (name changed) is a frail 30 year old salesman who came to live in Delhi about twenty years ago. After a prolonged bout of swine flu, he experienced problems with fluid in his lungs. Some of his symptoms were alarming, and concerned medical professionals as well as his family. He was referred to Maitri’s ICTC for HIV testing by his doctor. Here, Kumar was administered a free HIV test, and some information on HIV, AIDS, and other sexually transmitted infections. His test results came back definitive and he was found to be HIV positive. Medical staff immediately suggested his family be tested, and Kumar’s wife was also found to be HIV positive. This discovery was devastating for the already impoverished couple, who are responsible for the care of their son and Kumar’s younger siblings. They do not have access to many resources and were unaware of the prevalence of HIV as well as preventative measures against it. After receiving further confirmation of Kumar’s HIV test, he began receiving Anti-Retroviral Treatment for his condition. Maitri conducts regular follow ups and is happy to report that Kumar’s condition has improved.” – The ICTC Team

Unfortunately Ram’s situation is not completely uncommon. With a lack of information dissemination and resources in poorer regions, HIV/AIDS and other STIs continue to be a problem among impoverished persons who cannot afford treatment. Regular testing and health checks are needed so that people are aware of the dangers and risks of HIV/AIDS before it is too late.


Difficult Decisions

Rajesh (name has been changed) is 25 years old and works in the Indian Army. He got married two years ago to Hema (name has been changed). Due to an unfavorable health condition that his wife had they both underwent an HIV test. The test results showed that Hema was HIV positive. Mr. Rajesh’ status was found to be negative. During counseling sessions, she revealed that she was raped by her uncle before she got married and was sure that she must have been infected with the HIV virus through her uncle. Mr. Rajesh does not want to leave her or get divorced; however, due to family pressure he prepared himself for a second marriage in order to have a child. This however was not possible because as per the Indian Army guidelines, he cannot be allowed a second marriage unless he divorces his first wife. Mr Rajesh was now looking for psycho-social support and counseling to help fix the situation. Maitri understood his challenge and provided him the support and counseling he desired. Ultimately, Maitri was able to facilitate their access to an expert team of doctors with whom they would receive proper guidance, treatment, and observation while Rajesh and Hema attempted to have children. This way the risk of transferring HIV to the baby during delivery would be minimized.

Becoming HIV positive is not only a life-changing event, but can severely limit one’s activities and choices. Without the proper resources and access, choices become even more limited. Mr. and Mrs. Rajesh were able to receive the proper information and counseling to help them make some very difficult decisions, rather than having to make an uninformed and possibly dangerous decision.