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Driven to Suicide by Stigma of HIV

15-year-old Indian boy, Santosh Baniya whose parents were diagnosed with HIV was driven to suicide because of the stigma associated with the disease//.

Santosh Baniya succumbed to his burn injuries after he set himself on fire in Ahmedabad last week.

The boy’s parents, both vegetable sellers, had been diagnosed with HIV two years ago. Investigations have suggested that Santosh Baniya feared surviving his parents as well as being ostracised once the knowledge of his parents condition became public knowledge.

A police spokesman said, "He was mentally tormented as he could not face the humiliation owing to both his parents being HIV-positive."

Reports of the boy skipping school after his parents were diagnosed with HIV came to light during investigations.

In May a United Nations report in May had estimated tha India had overtaken South Africa as the country with most people with HIV, although this has been disputed by Indian authorities who state that the number infected was only 5.2 million as against the the UN figure of 5.7 million sufferers.

In India people with HIV and Aids often face discrimination, including being ostracised and denied access to schools and hospitals.


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