“I was sick of living… I even tried committing suicide by drinking phenyl. I didn’t want my children to be institutionalized after my husband and I were no more, so I tried to take their lives as well.”
When Shabina Khan found out she had HIV in 2008, she considered it a life sentence. Her husband, who was also HIV positive, was deteriorating quickly. Doctors told her his death was imminent. So, the Bandra (E) resident spent the next five months nursing her bedridden husband, worrying about the HIV status of their three daughters and dipping into the family’s meager financial reserves to fund their treatment. That’s when a fellow HIV patient, who saw her crying, directed her to CCDT’s Home-Based program and support group for people living with HIV/AIDS. Khan was initially hesitant to approach the organization because she feared her privacy would be breached. But it turned out to be the best decision she’d ever made.
“People from my community wouldn’t help me because of the stigma surrounding my illness, but CCDT took me in as one of their own. They helped with my children’s fees and hospital visits.”
Pivotal to this journey from despair to hope—and onwards to self-reliance—is the sustained support of others who have also made the journey. CCDT facilitates this through the formation of family support groups that meet every month to discuss common issues, share similar concerns and draw strength from each other’s struggles and coping strategies. Seasoned members of these support groups mentor families that have recently discovered their sero-positive status and are struggling with issues of acceptance, discrimination or stigma.
4,493 Families registered this year
10,018 Children served this year
Shabina’s story has come a full circle and she now serves as a community volunteer to strengthen community support systems for infected persons. Not only do these volunteers address issues of stigma and discrimination within the community but they also provide necessary support and guidance to infected persons to avail of health services and other entitlements. They raise awareness within the community and encourage community members to come together and support each other.
CCDT’s HBC program thus enables HIV/AIDS infected/affected families along with children to become self-reliant through a continuum of support services such as psycho-social (counseling), health (medical & nutrition), education, legal aid, access to social protection schemes and livelihood support, so that children are not abandoned, institutionalized, or end up living off the street. HBC address issues of inequitable access to basic services and entitlements through a multi-sectoral approach.