Dare to Reach Out Your Hand Into The Darkness, To Pull Another Hand Into The Light

Name: Chaitanya
Age: 5 years
Status: Positive

Chaitanya is an infected child during birth. He is an orphan child. His father worked in a hotel as a master cook at Tirumala Hills. He was falling sick very often,Medicines did not help him recover from his illness. It was then, he was advised by the doctors to take a blood test for HIV, and he tested positive. He was shocked to know the test results and he was unable to mend his ways of life. Very soon he passed away, as he received no support from any quarter. Meanwhile, his wife also fell ill. After his death, she and her children were forced by her in-laws to go for HIV blood tests. Luckily the elder child did not test positive while the second child(Lavanya) and the mother turned out to be positive.

The mother had to earn her bread and took up to farm labour work for the first time in her life. The elders in the family say, she died simply due to exhaustion as there was no nutrition in her food or medicine to nourish her. She died miserably. During home visits, WINS team knew this through the grand grandmother, and she narrated that her great grandson died due to HIV and that her son is taking care of her great grandchildren. Now The grand parents have to take up employment during their retirement as they have been compelled to tend the kids. There is no way that they can support without labouring out in the field.

The grandparents (carers) were attending the meetings as WINS staff insisted that they can get to learn more information and share their feelings with others. Home visits of staff helped them talk about their grief. Lavanya was an adamant girl and the grandparents felt that she inherited her bad traits from her father/. They would beat up the child thinking that they can discipline the child by doing so. Slowly when they heard in a PLHA forum meeting about the Life skills training that WINS is implementing they realized that there were other ways to bring around the children.This made the Old man(grandfather) realize that he can be kinder and still be stern in whatever he does to the child. He is glad that he has WINS team who help him reduce his stress by being with him and advising him when he needs support.

Grandmother was always expecting that the child will die any time. This is because she has seen her son and daughter in law soon after the diagnosis. First information about HIV and managing the opportunistic infections was spoken at length only by the WINS team. To remove this unfounded fear the Positive network leaders and positive speakers had shared their lives and experiences of testing positive and they were able to rest their fears.

Chaitanya used to have skin rashes, cough and found it difficult to walk. Nutrition powder is being well liked by the child. He is able to drink and build his capacity. This supplement helps the child in gaining strength and walks confidently. All the family members have seen him playing heartily; This has given them hope. The Child counselors from WINS are trying to motivate the child to be in school. There is indeed light at the end of the tunnel!