of People Living with HIV/AIDS : FREEDOM/SNEHASAMILINA
is witnessed that the number of People living with HIV/AIDS is
increasing in coastal part of Karnataka particularly in Udupi
and Mangalore districts. The factors attributing towards such
a high incidences of HIV is poverty, ignorance, lack of
education that led to migration to metros like Mumbai,
Bangalore and Pune. It is evident that nearly 50% of the cases
registered so far are the people who were working in
Hotel/bars/ladies bars in Mumbai and Pune. The hotel workers
are involved in High-risk sexual behavior.
heinous facts about the HIV/AIDS the virus is slowly spreading
in rural areas. Many innocent women and children are getting
infected with this dreaded virus. It is evident that number of
Women and children living with HIV/AIDS are increasing. The
Freedom Foundation has been trying to address and support the
issues confronted by people living with HIV/AIDS in the region
in many ways. One major initiative is to help people affected
by HIV/AIDS set up self help groups in a meaningful and
constructive way by facilitating and creating a platform to
identify and address the various challenges faced by
communities that have been marginalised by the HIV/AIDS
epidemic under the dynamic vision and leadership of the
Freedom Foundation-India’s Executive Trustee & CEO Mr.
problems associated with People Living with HIV/AIDS are many.
They are as follows:
It is evident that even today
People Living with HIV/AIDS are deprived of medical care in
Government Hospitals and Private hospitals.
The stigma and Social
discrimination associated with this appalling disease makes
them to expel from the work place.
It hampers the Productivity of
the Individual’s, which ultimately affects his whole family.
The Intermittent Morbid
condition and recurring medical care, which person cannot
The social discrimination not
only affects the person but also leaves a very bad impact on
whole family. To address these issues associated with PLWHAs,
it is imperative to build a network among PLWHAs.
objectives of these Freedom PLWHA networking groups are:
bring together PLWHA together under one platform
build networks among individuals living with HIV/AIDS
provide a forum for an open discussion of intimate problems,
which are otherwise never shared
forum also addresses the recent issues on HIV/AIDS treatment
like ART and various attempts made by NGO with government to
make available ART in affordable rate.
develop leadership and decision making qualities among PLWHAs
provide both physical and financial support to all infected
individuals and affected households incapable of taking care
meeting was held in 30th April 2003: 30 PLWHAs
were present in this meeting. This meeting was held in
collaboration with Katpady Jaycees. We had Invited District
Tuberculosis Office Dr. Ramachandra Bairy was invited as a
Chief guest. He addressed to all the patients and shared the
efforts being made by
the government to provide treatment for the HIV/AIDS patients.
meeting was held on 1st June 2003. 20 PLWHAs
were present in the meeting. Dr. Krupa (Medical Officer
Freedom Foundation-Udupi) shared the medical problems faced by
the patients. Cousellors also addressed the patients, PLWHA
group members and conducted some recreational activities for
third get together was held on 1st July 2003:
20 PLWHAs were present in this meeting. We invited Father
Henry from Uchila. The main objective to incorporate spiritual
leaders to address the patients who will impart soothing
effects to patients. Father Henry spoken to all the PLWHA
groups and explained how to cope up with the infections and
Fourth meeting was held on 1st Aug 2003:.
Dr. Ravindra and Christopher Skill (General Manager
Operations – Freedom Foundation –India, Bangalore) chaired
the function. 30 PLWHAs were present in the meeting. Initially
Dr. Ravindra addressed the patients and explained them how to
lead a life with HIV. He also they can also play an important
role in the prevention of HIV incidences in the community by
educating the people.
Christopher Skill also spoke to all group members and
explained to them efforts are on by Freedom Foundation with
governments to provide ART in subsidized rate.
all four get-together there were recreational activities like
Quiz, Games, Speech etc.
Skill expressed Dr. Ashok Rau’s inability to be present at
the meeting A
message from Mr. Ashok Rau was read out.
Skill presented small amounts of 1000 Rupees each on behalf of
Mr. Ashok Rau and the Freedom Foundation to 50 deserving
individuals and families from the PLWHA groups.
The Outcome of this meeting is enormous and appreciating. They
are as follows:
More and More PLWHAs are
making there presence in the meeting
The forum also became a good
platform to discuss the issues related to HIV/AIDS front.
The recreational activities
help the group to become more cohesive and close, started
sharing their experiences.
The members also came out with various suggestions and
The members also showing keen interest in making minutes of
the meeting and coming forward to address the issues in the
To make sure every member of
the PLWHA groups is able to access and afford quality health
care including ART as and when necessary.
at current trends seen in PLWHAs get-together we are planning
to make this network to grow in numbers and make it more
meaningful. Following are the objectives for the next four
To grow the existing group in
To strengthen the existing
networks by providing leadership and decision making
To make the group aware about
recent happenings in HIV/AIDS front.
To Build the Network of PLWHAs
with CBOs and NGOs to address their issues.
To introduce the concept of
self-help group among the new groups and its members.
To continue to provide
institutional support (Freedom Foundation) until the time all
the groups are truly self sustaining.
To facilitate support in the
form of physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and financial
support to individuals and households that are affected by the
To ensure accessibility and
affordability of quality healthcare including ART for every
To develop a concrete plan to
address issues of stigma and discrimination of people living