Kids face the brunt of society’s perception towards HIV/AIDS

Kathmandu, July 8

Our society has taken a stride forward in terms of education, technological advancement and modernisation, but people’s perception towards HIV remains unchanged.

HIV positive children have become the victims of such mentality in our society. The situation is such that HIV positive students are deprived of the opportunity to learn along with the normal children. In many cases, it is found that schools refuse to admit such children.

Shyam (name changed), a 15-year-old living with HIV from Salyan, has been studying in Grade IX at Baby Life Home, a school as well as an organisation which looks after HIV positive children. He has never seen teaching-learning process in a real school.

“I want to see as well as study in a real school where children from different places gather but I never got the opportunity,” he lamented. He remembers not being allowed to play and study with normal children.

“My relatives too hated and discriminated against me and my sister, who is also HIV positive. They even didn’t give food to eat when we reached home late night. If our relatives don’t care for us, who else will ?” he questioned. His parents had died of AIDS.

Pramila (name changed), a 14-year-old girl from Dang now studying in Grade VI, shares a similar plight. She said she used to take medicine for HIV in school but she had to lie to her teachers and friends for fear of being outcast.

“Had I shared my real problem, they would not have allowed me to study in the school. Even my friends would distance from me,” she added.

Discrimination against HIV patients is not only prevalent in rural areas, but also in cities. Dhattu Ram Rai, a teacher, said such children were even not given admission in public as well as private schools and were looked down upon by society.