HIV+ women face uphill battle in Nepal
Padanraj Joshi – Himalayan – Thursday, 05 July 2012 (originally published 01 Jul)
It was not the fault of Sarmila BK that she became infected with HIV, but because of her HIV positive status she had to leave her home. An inhabitant of Godawari, Kailali, Sarmila was ousted from her home when her husband died of AIDS after four years of marriage. She was infected with HIV by her husband. Once her husband’s family discovered that she was living with HIV, they accused her of committing a number of offences and made her leave the family home. Since then, Sarmila has been living in Dhangadi.
District, came to Kathmandu after she was forced to leave her home. Devaki and her young child were obliged to seek help from different organisations in Kathmandu after the death of her HIV infected husband. Devaki has stomach problems but she can’t afford treatment. Describing her experience of being displaced, she said, “If my health was sound, I could work as a labourer for a living… but how can I work to sustain myself in such an unhealthy situation? How can I educate my child?” Devaki also revealed that her family had accused her of killing her husband and then forced her to leave her home.
The situation of Dhana Nepali from Doti is similar to Devaki and Sarmila . Dhana and her husband have lost a son and a daughter to AIDS. When they reflect on how their community treated them, they say that they felt like dying. As a displaced person, Dhana said she could not get even afford a spade to dig a grave to bury her son in the bank of the Mohanaa River. Her son died in Seti Zonal Hospital while he was undergoing treatment. “What can be more miserable than this?” she exclaimed . . .
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