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HIV Positive Family Ostracized In Orissa

The people belonging to a village in Orissa ostracized a HIV positive woman and her two children, by confining the children to a corner of the classroom in their school//.

Sanjukta, 34, lost her husband to AIDS two months ago. While she and her elder daughter have been infected, the younger daughter is healthy, said Dr P. Pradhan of the Kendrapada district hospital.

Soon after her husband Pradeep Nayak's death in January, residents of Patarpur met to decide to isolate the family.

"The villagers did not even allow me to draw water from the village tubewell. Even the local government hospital denied treatment saying that they don't have the required facilities to treat HIV infected patients," Sanjukta told IANS.

Last month, she left the village to live with her father in Kasanaghanta village, 20 km from the district headquarter of Kendrapada.

Here, too, the family has been shunned by the other villagers with teachers and students at the local primary school refraining from even touching her daughters. "The sisters are made to sit in a corner of the class," said Sanjukta.

At least 31 people in Kendrapada have been infected with AIDS in the last two years.

According to UNAIDS, at least 285 people have died of AIDS in Orissa between 2000-2005.

--Edited IANS

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