NAMAKKAL: Even after death there seems to be no relief for HIV patients from discrimination and stigmatisation. Two recent incidents in Namakkal district is a testimony to this fact. In fact, the incidents shatter tall claims that significant strides have been made in bringing attitudinal change among people towards the HIV positives. Both the incidents were heart-rending and are glaring examples of the stigma prevalent in society.
In one of the incidents, when a 28-year-old woman died at the Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) Centre of the GH here earlier this month, even her close relatives were reluctant to touch her body.
More distressing was that her father and her father-in-law were not ready to take the body to their respective houses for performing last rites, sources said.
Further, the owner of the victim’s house, where she stayed with her husband and child, had warned the family not to bring her body into the house.
She was buried at the municipal burial ground.
In the second case a man, who was admitted to the ART Centre in the GH here, was rejected by his brother, who refused to take home the patient.
It is said that after giving treatment for a few days to the man, doctors at the GH informed his brother, who was looking after him ever since he was deserted by his wife, to take him back home as the course was over for the time being.
But the man’s brother was reluctant and pleaded with the doctors to keep him at the hospital for a few more days.
When the doctors insisted, he took the help of an influential politician and forced them to retain him at the hospital.
Sources said that the wife of the brother objected to him being brought home.
“Hundreds of people who are victims of the disease face such humiliation, discrimination and stigmatisation,” lamented Palaniappan, who heads an organization, HIV Ullor Nala Sangam (HUNS), to help the affected. “Most of the people do not have concern for the affected persons,” he added.