The article is a plea on behalf of the HIV positive people of Mizo society to treat them as normal people during their lifetime and after death. Malsawmdawnga who is the president of Mizoram People Living With AIDS// Society (MPLAS) gave a press talk stating that even as the world is changing for the better and awareness about AIDS is at the peak the Mizo people has a closed mind set up.
He condemned the practice of sealing the dead bodies of AIDS patients in polytene bags before burial as it shows their ignorance of the disease. He said that when compared to Hepatitis, HIV is much more difficult to be contracted. People are in the superstious belief that the virus comes in search of the new host ones its previous host dies.
According to the spokes person of the organization Positive Network of Mizoram (PNM) that knowledge about the disease is very low that even hospital staff shuns the AIDS patients. One such instance is that of a woman whose was helped by a Charity organization to set up a grocery shop, but once her husband died of AIDS her monetary benefits were withdrawn by the organization and she was outlasted by the society.
It’s during such crisis that the support of the family is required the most, but the family members fail to acknowledge. In one such instance a woman was detected with AIDS and her family members asked the hospital authorities to shift the lady after treatment to an old age home. On hearing this she turn down food and other medicines that paved way to her early death.
In many cases HIV patients were expelled from their homes and in others relatives don’t accept the bodies from the hospitals after they die. The key factor that prevents the Mizo society to accept AIDS patients, as any other patient because they are rooted to the idea that the disease is a reprimand for sex workers and drugs users.
The results of blood samples that were given voluntarily by 22,426 people to check whether t
hey are HIV positive revealed shocking results that 1253 were positive for HIV but the doctors fear that the number could be more.
Dr Jeremy Vanchhawng working at the Bethesda Hospital reported that many blood samples were tested HIV positive but the rules and regulations of the hospital prevents from informing the patients if they were not enrolled themselves voluntarily.
Apart from the ignorance the HIV patients face a lot of problems in the treatment facilities offered to them. A test to detect CD4 in the blood of the patients is still not within their reach. Anti-retroviral treatment (ART) will cost around 1600/month and has to be continued throughout his lifetime, which is not affordable by many patients. The second problem being the side-effects affecting the liver and steroid relating problems where the patient has to switch over to the alternate treatment which will cost around 8000/month.
Inspite of all the turmoil faced by the AIDS patients there is a streak of hope with respect to treatment. These non-profitable organizations have planed to establish a CD4 counting device and Anti-retroviral treatment (ART) as early as the end of next year. But all this will be complete only if the society accepts that it is not completely their fault.
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