This entry has been reposted, by permission, from Jessica Christian’s blog “Masala Chat”. Click here to see the original entry.
Approximately 70,000 children are affected by HIV in India. The numbers for adults are even higher. As a leading nation in HIV transmission, India is at odds with its urge to grow and yet its extremely sick people. Sexual relations and sexually transmitted diseases/infections are incredibly taboo to speak about in society. HIV/AIDS is among those topics not openly spoken about, allowing the disease, stigmatization, and discrimination to pillage on.
MILANA- an HIV/AIDS NGO that I am working at this summer, is a place full of warmth the minute you walk climb up the narrow stairs.
The walls, painted peach are chipping, covered with posters about the mission of MILANA, the transmission of HIV, safe sex practices, and photos from all the events the organization has put on in the community. Standing strong now for almost a decade, the NGO is always looking to increase their effect on the Bangalorean community.
Everyday 10-15 HIV+ women walk through the door and make substantial contributions to their communities. Meena, a mother of four, married twice, has lived with HIV for 17 years now after contracting the infection from her husband. Her words are quick, crass, mirthful, and to the point. She reminds me of a rebellious school girl with a smart mouth. Even more interesting than her quick words is that she has lived with the infection- a healthy, productive life without any medication. She is a brazen example of how people living with the infection have not only the right but the ability, the God-freakin given ability to live, thrive, and be happy.
For more photos from Jessica’s work in India, please view her “Big Picture” post.