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Plight of India's HIV orphans

Saturday, December 01, 2012 - 02:12

Dec 01 - Children orphaned by HIV in India suffer the social stigma of the virus. Paul Chapman reports.

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These children at an orphanage in New Delhi are infected with HIV. Here at least they're free of the social stigma attached to the virus. Children living with HIV in India are often rejected by orphanages. Those who have family members with HIV are often segregated at school or simply expelled. Some doctors refuse to treat or even touch children with HIV. For the children at this orphanage life is at least a little easier. SOUNDBITE: UNIDENTIFIED CHILD LIVING WITH HIV SAYING (Hindi): "I have very good relations with everyone over here and I help with the medicines. I talk to Madhu and I also help to welcome the people who come here at reception." Rights activist Angali Gopalan who runs the orphanage says prejudices can affect the youngsters deeply. SOUNDBITE: ANGALI GOPALAN, HIV/AIDS ACTIVIST, SAYING (English): "You have to ensure that you work at two levels: one is with the school itself and the other is with the kids themselves because, you know, self-hatred and not feeling good about yourself is so linked to being living with HIV." India's battle against HIV over the past decade is bringing results. UNAIDS statistics show the rate of new infections fell by more than half between 2001 and 2009. But UNAIDS country coordinator, Professor Charles Gilks, says the nation shouldn't be too quick to pat itself on the back. SOUNDBITE: PROFESSOR CHARLES GILKS, UNAIDS COUNTRY COORDINATOR, SAYING (English): "The worry is that a country like India will prematurely declare victory and think that it can start to reduce the money it's investing in HIV prevention and treatment and declare a premature victory. If that will happen the virus will rebound." Despite India's success in fighting new HIV infections it has 2.5 million people living with the virus. Yet the government spends only about one percent of its GDP on healthcare facilities, far less than some African nations.

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Plight of India's HIV orphans

Saturday, December 01, 2012 - 02:12

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