“Both my son and daughter-in-law died young because of HIV, leaving behind their two daughters who are positive as well. I have to be on a constant vigil about their CD4 count so that they do not have to depend on ART”, says Suhasini Sule (name changed). “Thankfully, Sulochana Thapar Foundation supports me with regular CD4 tests and supportive medicines for ailments.”
People infected and affected by HIV/AIDS not only bear a heavy financial burden, but also face stigma and sometimes social isolation. Very often, they have to cope with poverty, discrimination, loss of employment, neglect and abandonment making them one of the most vulnerable sections of the society. Sulochana Thapar Foundation supports two antiretroviral therapy centres that reach out to more than 3,200 people living with HIV in remote areas. They offer state-of-the-art diagnostics, antiretroviral drugs and continuum of care services to patients.
“Since 2005 I have been fending for them and I am able to pull it off because of the staff at the centre who support me through thick and thin. I go to them whenever I feel low and miserable. Every time they boost the spirits of an old woman who has lost everything including her husband”, adds Suhasini.
Continuum of care promotes and sustains a holistic approach to care and support for people living with HIV and their families. The patient is at the centre of a wide range of actors who are dynamically linked. Entry point to the continuum is integrated counseling and testing for HIV. Home based care is a key element of this broad based care provision, particularly relevant in the resource-limited Indian context.
“I cook at the Thapar School for a living and save regularly for my granddaughters every month through a Self Help Groupfacilitated by the centre. The elder one is pursuing Higher Secondary Board this year while the younger one will appear for Matriculation. Their well-being is the only objective of my life”, concludes Suhasini.