Lighting up a life: A story of hope and resilience

Having lost her parents to HIV at the age of two, fourteen year old Deepa was herself noticed by the staff at a Primary Health Centre (PHC) due to her continuously deteriorating health. Suspecting serious health issues, the nurse shared her concerns with Asha, an outreach worker (ORW) with India HIV/AIDS Alliance in Kasaragod district of Kerala.

Soon Deepa – who has been living with her maternal uncle – had partial paralysis and her vision was affected. She dropped out of school and totally was bed-ridden. She weighed only 28 kilograms at that time.

Asha took her to the ICTC (Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre) and, as expected, the test result was positive. She was immediately linked to the Antiretroviral Therapy Centre (ART) at the District Hospital, and as Deepa had tested positive for tuberculosis, she was also put on Anti-Tuberculosis Treatment (ATT).

After successfully completing her TB treatment, she joined her school again early this year and will complete her 10th standard by March 2016. Today, Deepa is an active member of the children’s support group in the CSC. Asha has linked her to monthly nutritional support provided by the District Panchayat, monthly financial support of 1000 rupees provided by the state government and also made available a one-time financial support through the Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Funds (CMDRF).

Every day, through the HIV response adopted by our partner organizations, thousands of outreach workers like Asha are reaching out to those PLHIV in need like Deepa and bringing them back to a life of courage, vitality and hope.

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