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Sunday, March 26 2023
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AIDS: Infected unawares by her husband she chose to serve her kind as ‘Hongirana’

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Opening our eyes to see this beautiful world is the thought that has been prevalent in this society but then, we need to open our minds too to have a broader view-a broader view towards people, towards sickness and towards AIDS.

Seema, a HIV positive from 19 years and the founder of “Hongirana”, speaks out loud today about her struggle for a better world, a broader thought.

Can you share with us about your life? what are the struggles that you faced with AIDS?
Life has its curves and battling through it was a path that I was pushed to. After my marriage I felt that life would be beautiful to live as I was going to be a mother. Thunder struck when I went for a checkup as a pregnant lady and was told that there is a need to do a HIV test. After the test, my friend was told that I have some problem in my blood and operation could not be done.
Later my father came to know that I had AIDS, he was depressed. Still standing by my side, he gave me a ray of hope to move ahead in life. I got a clear view about the syndrome when I approached the doctor for the second time. They said that I would live for a maximum of four years. The impact of this disease on the moral strength of a person can be a tragic one. I felt as if there was no acceptance for this disease in the society and I felt that suicide was the only option.

What made you bring about a drastic change in your life and live for a cause?
The only hope that I had was that of my child. I had to live for my child and bring her up. Though most of the eyes that looked at me were ironic, my father supported me during this time. Though my husband did not accept that he had AIDS before marriage, on his death bed he confessed about it. But, it was too late.
I could not save my husband but I took care of him till death. I forgave him. Now I had my life to live and the life of my child. My father took care of me; he loved me so much that I could be strong enough and face life. I felt that there are several people who are having the same problem and they need the same love and care. If this love and care is given to them they will be able to face life as I do.

What is Hongirana? What are its main goals and functions?
I approached an agency in Bengaluru where I found that there are many who are affected by this and they gave a ray of hope to build my life. They offered me a job and it was the first time that I earned from my own efforts in CARDS institute. I felt that these people need love and care and this was the primary motivation to start Hongirana.

Hongirana mainly focuses on the need of women to increase their status. Yesterday, we opened a tailoring unit in collaboration with Hindustan Lever. We also do advocacy, awareness programmes and avail social schemes to help people who are infected and many more. There are nearly 3900 people under Hongirana who receive benefits like medicines, free blood checkup and free treatment. Various hospitals in Mangalore and other places also support this cause.

Do you promote Volunteerism?
Yes we do. All can join hands with us to create awareness in the society about HIV. We can do street plays, create a broader view that those infected with HIV too are humans and that they need to be treated like one. There are many people who come ahead to donate food grains and provide voluntary help to our organisation. You too and the whole society can join hands with Hongirana to make this world a better place.

What is the message that you want to give to our readers?
We have been speaking about the wellbeing of the HIV infected people but the idea is just limited to words. We have to broaden our views. There is a stigma that is attached when we speak about HIV and it has to be removed. Having HIV does not only mean that one has got it through a stray sexual relationship. There are other causes too and we need to open our minds to understand these. People of all ages-from children to elderly can get infected with HIV. There is also a HIV Bill which is passed to protect the HIV infected people from atrocities.

A role model to the society, Seema is leading the path for a better society. On the occasion of world AIDS Day, the least we can do is to make this world a better place by broadening our view, accepting the people with AIDS and helping them to live as we do.

AIDS: Infected unawares by her husband she chose to serve her kind as 'Hongirana'
AIDS: Infected unawares by her husband she chose to serve her kind as 'Hongirana'
AIDS: Infected unawares by her husband she chose to serve her kind as 'Hongirana'
AIDS: Infected unawares by her husband she chose to serve her kind as 'Hongirana'

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