India has seen very high incidence of HIV in the recent years. If we look at data available on the UNAIDS website, in 2017 (yes, that’s the last year data was recorded) India had 21,00,000 people were living with HIV. That’s three lakh more than the population of Goa! Yes that’s the magnitude of the situation.
In Goa itself we have over XXXXX cases of the virus and among those are children and adolescents. In course of our work, conducted as an organization, we have discovered several layers to this virus infection, especially in the case of the latter group. Until recently, children born with the virus didn’t have a great survival rate, but medical advances have enabled these children to grow into adults, the oldest we have encountered is now in early thirties.
Though the long life expectancy is a positive it does come with a set of challenges – medical, social, cultural – practically all levels. Human Touch has been relentlessly trying to address these issues over the past years of its existence. Conducting camps, monthly support group meetings, paying family visits, aiding adolescents with their medical, physical and psychological health, the NGO tries to fill the gaps left by the virus. With over 200 families registered with us and about 300 children are currently receiving treatment at GMC, we as an organization are making every effort to reach out to these growing adults. Be it in developing their social skills, medical help, career advice or just plain lending our ears.
We make every attempt to mitigate the discrepancies in the life of those living with the virus. But as much as we would like to say we understand the situation, we are still learning, as newer challenges come and we try to overcome them one step at a time.